Google Chrome OS for Netbooks: 15 Essential Features

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Google Chrome OS for Netbooks: 15 Essential Features

by Clint Boulton

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Chrome OS Setup

Setting up a Chrome OS netbook is as easy as logging into a Web application from your desktop or smartphone. Start with network and language choice, as users typically do for a PC setup. Users will accept terms and conditions, and then sign in with a Google account. Google is testing this on a CR-48 Chrome OS netbook.

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Picture Time

Users will take a picture of themselves. Camera-shy users can skip this step.

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Hello World

And you're in! Setting up and activating a Chrome OS netbook took less than 60 seconds. Here is the Chrome OS application "Wall" of a Googler, displaying Web app icons that adorn the home screen.

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Standby Mode

Users can put their Chrome OS machine in standby mode, closing the lid, and reopening it. Internet connectivity is restored within seconds instead of the minute or longer it takes for a PC to resume state.

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Sharing a Computer

Users can have multiple sign-ins for Chrome OS machines, which is particularly useful for home Web surfing machines for families. A user can log in to one machine and get all of their data from the cloud. Also available: a friends-let-friends-log-in feature that will delete guest user data when they finish a session.

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Work and Play Offline

Thanks to offline capabilities in HTML5, Chrome OS machines will let users access Google Docs and Web apps such as games while offline. Docs and Games will be cached locally on the machine. This is great for being productive or having fun while on a plane without WiFi.

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Print Your Work

Google Cloud Print, now in beta, will let users print Google Docs and other content via a netbook connected to a 3G network. This will work from a taxi cab, sans drivers on the machine.

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3G Connectivity

Chrome OS netbooks will connect via Verizon's 3G network. No contract is required. Start with a $9.99 day pass for unlimited data if you like. Check out the other data details.

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Citrix on Chrome

Gordon Payne, senior vice president of Citrix Systems, took the stage to show how Citrix Receiver connects with Chrome OS. Payne ran Microsoft Office Excel on Chrome OS, though the document was running in the company's private cloud, or data center.

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Cr-48 Chrome OS Netbooks

The Cr-48 is rolling out this month to thousands of users to test as part of a pilot program to give Google feedback.

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Chrome OS Pilot Program

Here are the specs of the CR-48 reference netbook. There is no Caps Lock key, function keys or hard drive, and the product has jail-breaking built in.

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Chrome OS Businesses

Several businesses and organizations are embracing the pilot program. Consumers may apply to get Cr-48 here.

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Schmidt on Chrome OS

Google CEO Eric Schmidt joined the stage to talk about how he envisioned the "network computer" model at Sun Microsystems back in 1997.See his 10-minute chat here.

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Chrome Web Store

Chrome OS works fine, but it's a dead platform without apps to run on it. Chrome Web Store is geared to help consumers find, access and buy Web apps from one destination. The Amazon WindowShop shopping app and Kindle for the Web are two apps users can get from the Web store today.

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Chrome Web Store isn't all shopping apps and games for fun. Key productivity apps are also part of the mix, some of which are also found in the Google Apps Marketplace.

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