Google® gave us an update to what they’ve been up to regarding Chrome OS (announced in July of last year) and they seem to be ready to get serious about the potential of their new operating system. Until now, most updates concerning Chrome OS were highly technical and lacked any details describing what Chrome OS is actually going to be once it’s ready to be used by the public. As part of the announcement, Google launched a website dedicated to Chrome OS that includes videos detailing the primary features and a way to sign up for a chance to test the first set of Chrome-powered notebooks.
Operating System… like Windows & Mac?
Yes and no. It’s an operating system that’s based on the open-source Linux OS, but it’s very different from Windows, Mac and the other variations of Linux. The goal is to make the best operating system that’s built entirely around using the Web, because most people find themselves owning a computer yet only use it for accessing the Internet. Chrome OS’s inherent simplicity lends itself to strive to be as fast, mobile and secure as possible rather than trying to add and support new features that some people might end up using. They’ve been focusing on getting the core of the OS right first, and this leaves Google in a situation where they can now claim that their notebooks start up in just 10 seconds (even though the notebook itself is lower power for the sake of a better battery life).
I want to access my favorite websites & discover those I might like with ease
Enter Chrome Web Store. Google launched their Chrome-centric store as part of the announcement. Chrome Web Store has a decent selection of web apps for its launch and users of the Chrome Web browser will notice that this also offers extensions and themes.
iTunes® users will instantly be familiar with how the store is structured. The “apps” that are available to be installed from the store aren’t much more than bookmarks (considering they’re still sites you access with a Web browser), but they do have some enhanced functionality and added benefits.
- Installed web apps are able to be “pinned” so they take up less space in the tab bar and are easier to access (great for music).
- They can also be opened full screen by default (great for limiting distractions and for rich media sites).
- They also offer a different way to manage your saved websites (allowing bookmarks to be a set of links that you simply want to revisit sometime later whereas installed Web apps are sites that you commonly use or rely on).
- Web designers are free to make their websites act more like applications without having it seem out of place (sites can offer an app that looks and acts in a much different way than their website even though it’s accessing the same content).
Do I need to buy a Chrome OS device to use it?
What a marvelous thing that open-source software is. Chrome OS is free to be installed on any device it can run on and it costs nothing to upgrade to the latest version (which isn’t too exciting considering upgrades to Web browsers, which is almost all of what ChromeOS is, have always been free). There might be particular hiccups that one could come across when using Chrome OS on a device not intended to run it, though. For example, Google will be bundling cellular data connectivity along with WiFi in every device in an effort to make it so that they always have an Internet connection. Check out Engadget’s in-depth preview of the Google Chrome notebook if you’re still skeptical that Google will actually be releasing this.