What is Google Chrome OS?

by ron on November 19, 2009

Here’s a good intro video explaining the concept behind the new Google Chrome operating system, which was released today.

A more technical summary of what it is:

  • a Chrome browser running on an optimized Linux kernel
  • the built-in operating system is automatically kept up to date and/or repaired from the cloud (can even be entirely re-imaged from the cloud)
  • initial bootup takes mere seconds
  • supports only solid-state storage
  • will read data from USB storage devices (memory sticks, cameras, etc)
  • all user data will be stored in the cloud
  • will cache user data locally and encrypt it
  • built to be fast, simple, and secure
  • it will only run web applications
  • the root partition of the device’s drive is read-only, preventing any application from changing the core code

Although you’ll hear people saying things such as “this is going to kill Microsoft”, I don’t feel this is going to happen any time soon.

Google Chrome OS will be a great to have on your netbook, and that’s exactly what Google will be focusing on at this point in time. Google are not looking to replace your home/business desktop computer operating system….at least not yet.

The web browser application experience is getting more and more interactive and powerful. The advent of HTML5 is only going to speed things up even more. We already have powerful applications we can run in the browser, which historically required a full blown computer, such as Google Docs or Zoho. Even Microsoft themselves will be releasing a web based version of Office 2010.

It won’t be long before we can do almost anything using cloud-based applications.

More resource intensive applications, such as high-end gaming, CAD, and video editing will likely take a few years before we see viable cloud-based options start to appear.

So the Google Chrome operating systems isn’t going to become the new default operating system which will rule the world, but it just might become the operating system to rule all netbooks in a very short amount of time.

Update: here are some step-by-step instructions on how to install Chrome OS into a virtual machine.

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