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Google Chrome is built on three principles: speed, simplicity, and security.  (Source: Gizmodo)

The entire OS is built around Google's Chrome browser, with file browsing done by a browser dialog and the device solely relying on web applications such as Microsoft's online version of Office.  (Source: Gizmodo)

Describes Google, "Turns out, Microsoft Office launched a killer app for Chrome OS." (A demo of the OS running the Excel web app is shown here.)  (Source: Gizmodo)

Plugged in media will launch browser dialogs. Files, such as pictures or music files can be opened in new tabs. A Google Android phone is shown connected here.  (Source: Gizmodo)

Google says the OS will offer unprecedented security as it only allows trusted signed apps, such as approved Android apps or web applications. Every app runs in a sandbox and Google backs up and stores all your data in its cloud.  (Source: Gizmodo)
New OS is specifically geared towards the netbook market

A radical new day has dawned for the operating system.

Today Google finally aired its long awaited Chrome Operating System.  The operating system was detailed at a press conference starting at 1 p.m. EST, and the open source code was posted online just before the start of the presentation.  The new operating system brings a dramatically different look and perspective to the market and just may give Microsoft and OS X some tough competition by reinventing a tired old wheel -- the operating system -- offering the first laptop/desktop OS built around the browser and web applications.

A Google engineer set the mood for the presentation announcing in the introduction, "Chrome is the foundation of everything we’re doing here."

According to Google, its Chrome browser has garnered 40 million users who use it as their primary browser.  Google is already beating Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 browser by 30 percent in Javascript speed tests, according to the company (we confirm this claim in our browser benchmark series, parts 1, 2, 3, and 4).  That success, in part, inspired Google to make the jump to the OS market.  With the Chrome browser coming to Linux and OS X platforms, Google thought -- why not make a full Linux distribution built around the Chrome browser and web applications?

Google's Chrome OS is indeed built entirely around the company's browser.  For that reason, it naturally uses HTML 5 to provide it with rich graphical content and other advanced programming content.  HTML 5 is used for graphics, video/audio playback, threading, threads, notifications, real-time communication, and storage -- all critical factors to enabling games and productivity application. 

The company is very enthused about both the netbook and tablet movements, as they have spawned cheap, full-featured internet devices, perfect for Google's web-app based model.  Google says its OS is built for netbooks and tablets and is based on three principles -- "speed", "simplicity", and "security". 

Where many Linux distributions use some form of multiple desktops, Google's OS instead uses multiple Windows -- each a Chrome browser, essentially.  Each browser can have multiple web applications open simultaneously as tabs -- similar to PC-side applications in a standard operating system model.  Ironically, the company's competitors, in this respect, may fuel the upcoming OS's success by their decision to release web apps -- one example of this is Microsoft, which recently released a web application version of Office.  Describes Google,  "Turns out, Microsoft Office launched a killer app for Chrome OS."

The browser window allows you to find files stored locally on your machine just like Windows Explorer or other file dialog windows.  When you click to open them, though, rather than loading a stored application, it launches a web one.  Media from attached devices such as Droid phones, pops up in a new tab and is displayed/played.

Another intriguing decision by Google is to only offer solid state drive netbooks in its upcoming Chrome OS models, soon to be released by its partners.  Google says its goal is to make the computer feel like a TV -- with an "instant-on" aesthetic. 

As far as security, woes of OS X and Windows will not be problems on Google OS, according to the company.  It says that under its web application model no app is trusted, so the potential for system compromise is dramatically reduced.  It should be interesting to see if that holds true in practice.  While that seems unlikely, even if Google can simply reduce the rate of attacks/vulnerabilities, it may be on to something, though.  The Chrome browser's track record thus far has been sterling, so its hard not to buy into Google's rhetoric for the time being.

Under the new OS, data is stored as read-only and is only able to be accessed by a small list of trusted apps which are signed and verified.  Each app is run in its own sandbox.  And user data is synced and backed up on Google's cloud (which may be an unsettling thought to some).  Despite the privacy concerns, this means if you lose your netbook, you won't lose your data -- which is certainly a welcome development for anyone who has ever lost a laptop.

Google will launch Chrome OS netbooks in the holiday season 2010; tablets and laptops running Chrome OS will launch at a later date.  Chrome's demo at the presentation was running on an Eee PC, so that seems one likely target.  As mentioned, the upcoming hardware will feature SSDs and it will use 802.11n wireless cards, for now.  For now developers can download test builds and work with them.  Android apps should run on the OS, to the delight of the mobile OS's burgeoning developer community.  The OS lacks a Silverlight plugin option currently.  It can be run in virtual machines.

Overall, if there's one thing made clear by the launch to developers and Google's presentation, it's that Google is looking to drastically rethink the consumer operating system.  Google drives this point home, stating, "We are trying to offer a choice for users. The model of computing we’re trying to advance is fundamentally different."

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RE: Dumb
By JasonMick on 11/19/2009 6:07:12 PM , Rating: 5
Um, no. Linux is not Unix; it is Unix-like.

First off I meant those comparisons in a facetious sense. Perhaps sarcasm tags were in order.

Secondly, I meant "is just" not in the sense that it copied code, but rather in the sense that it was derived from its principles. The MINIX kernel, which would become the Linux kernel is obviously not built on top of Unix -- I never said that. But it is built in the spirit of providing a free Unix-like interface and copies CONCEPTS and design liberally from Unix.

So I could safely say :

Oh <sarcasm> And Linux is just Unix! </sarcasm>

Also, Linux as the kernel has no graphical interface; you are probably thinking the X-server combined with the different desktop environments, which are available for Unix and other Unix-like distributions

Again this should be obvious to anyone familiar with Linux. All I said was that Linux (as a bundled "operating system") has a "refined graphics interface" which most Linux builds do have, via the X Windows System Desktop Environments like GNOME or KDE. I was NOT discussing the kernel nor was I discussing GUI's. Rather I was carrying out a sarcastic dialogue on the similarities of the bundled OS (including the kernel, GUI, if there is one, etc.) to Unix. And it WAS similar.

No. Wait, what? FreeBSD/NetBSD are Unix-like, so saying that something is their Unix implementation doesn't really make sense. Also BSD != FreeBDS/NetBSD. OS X was built on NextStep which was built on BSD, but that does not mean that OS X/Darwin is built on FreeBSD/NetBSD.

But OS X does still have FreeBSD components, ASFAIK, via inherited code from NextStep. And FreeBSD is built to mimic the Berkeley Software Distribution. This is evidenced by the fact that FreeBSD has UNIX-compliant internals and APIs.

Windows was not initially considered to be an operating system, but an operating environment. There is a difference, and I'd expect a tech reporter to know that.

By the modern definition an operating system is an interface between hardware and the user, typically with tools like GUIs, CLIs, or APIs to provide this interface in a friendly manner. By this definition Windows 1 and MS-DOS TOGETHER form an operating system (Windows 1.0 was an OS-component in a sense).

Again, don't put words on my keyboard -- I never wrote that Windows 1.0 was an operating system. I wrote clearly that Windows 1.0 was a "windows manager" -- so it was clear that I meant it to be an operating environment and only the bundled package (with DOS) as an OS. You chose to misinterpret my comments to try to feel superior.

Wait, are you serious? You call yourself a tech reporter and yet you can't get certain basic facts right.

Obviously you can't get the facts right. You don't seem to understand that OS X has FreeBSD components and contributes to the FreeBSD project, you don't seem to understand that Linux liberally borrowed from the design of Unix. Additionally you've misinterpreted nearly every remark I made, adding talk of kernels and GUIs, when I didn't even touch on that depth.

It seems like you are just trying to trumpet your superiority by grossly misinterpreting my comments and spilling out what knowledge you have.

Back to the topic at hand, to the end user it's the entire package, including the GUI and APIs that are important. In this respect, my original point, sarcasm aside, is that Chrome OS will be a significant evolution over the standard Linux distribution in that it will have new APIs, a very different user interface, and likely a tweaked kernel.

It will also be a dramatic departure from the look of the average Linux (Red Hat, Ubuntu, etc.), OS X, or Windows based PC, all of which rely on a desktop-like environment with local applications.

RE: Dumb
By xmichaelx on 11/19/2009 6:54:11 PM , Rating: 4
Not your biggest fan, Jason, but I thought your original post was perfectly clear -- no explanation (or sarcasm tags) needed.

RE: Dumb
By wetwareinterface on 11/20/2009 10:52:08 AM , Rating: 5
the problem jason with your counter to his argument is that you were wrong and he was right. the chrome os is literally linux with a browser interface slapped on it. it isn't built on or based on linux it literally is linux. it's simply linux running a special version of the chrome browser. nothing more nothing less.

there is nothing in chrome os that you cannot do yourself with firefox or chrome on linux by customizing your own install to the point of stripping it down to nothing but an x server and x window system with all the minimum dependencies needed to support a web browser and web connection and removing user space storage priveledges. the only tricks i saw in the presentation were the ability to automount storage cards and recognize them and use them while still having no ability to save to the hard drive. but that isn't that complex of a trick just treat the local hard drive with system only priveledges and have the system pass down user rights as to what's usable through a kernal module instead of the file system.

and this os is gonna be a fail. it's 100% cloud and no one wants to put all their data in the cloud. some data yes can be very convenient to have in the cloud but not every bit of data you have. not to mention the hardware will be completely worthless if you do not have an internet connection available.

it makes me wonder if larry ellison is now at google part time. he tried this as did several other hardware vendors and they all failed in the marketplace. no one wanted a dumb terminal, no one will want a dumb terminal internet style.

RE: Dumb
By SorinNita on 11/20/2009 7:54:07 AM , Rating: 3
The MINIX kernel, which would become the Linux kernel

What ??? What do you mean when you say that?

The Linux Kernel is not the one used in MINIX... MINIX influenced Linus's kernel design decisions but it's not the same.

Here is a link for you. Please read that two paragraphs carefully:

RE: Dumb
By JasonMick on 11/20/2009 8:43:42 AM , Rating: 2
Correct, meant to say:

The Minix kernel, which would become the basis of the Linux Kernel... Torvalds' U of Helsinki project was to develop a non-commercial version drop in replacement to the Minix kernel. Many of the early applications developed by Torvalds were developed on MINIX as well and brought to Linux, so the two are tied together very intimately.

RE: Dumb
By SorinNita on 11/20/2009 8:51:30 AM , Rating: 2
The Minix kernel, which would become the basis of the Linux Kernel...

OK. I agree with you :)

Sorry if i sounded a bit harsh, but that statement sounded a bit out of place considering the Linus Tanenbaum debates.

RE: Dumb
By omnicronx on 11/21/2009 1:56:47 PM , Rating: 2
Mick what you don't seem to understand is that any way you put it, UNIX, LINUX, BSD are not the same OS. Its irrelevant whether or not they were based off one another the fact remains they are fundamentally different.

Where as anyone with a technical background can tell Google OS is just piggybacking on an existing OS using a browser as a shell. Heck they are not even doing that, its still just x-windows.

Otherwise for all intents and purposes I could take Windows strip it down, make my owner browser to act as the shell and suddenly I've made my own groundbreaking OS?
OS will be a significant evolution over the standard Linux distribution in that it will have new APIs, a very different user interface, and likely a tweaked kernel.
That's nothing more than a personal prediction. Now I kind of like the idea that the OS will essentially be transparent to the user. All they see is a browser, which could easily make for a better user experience. That being said, Google has already stated that Chrome OS is not meant to replace your primary PC, its suppose to be a 'complementary system'. The idea is not to be able to run resources intensive apps, the point is to have the internet cloud at your fingertips for easy access for your daily activities.

The reason I really don't agree with you is that systems like these already exist, many motherboards already come with functionality that is very similar, yet because Google does it, its suddenly groundbreaking? Sure it will be a far more functional OS, but the point will be the same, access to your favorite daily internet apps quickly.

RE: Dumb
By omnicronx on 11/21/2009 3:04:59 PM , Rating: 2
Linux distribution in that it will have new APIs
I think we will have to see for this one, I really doubt they would add OS level apis when everything is done in the browser.

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