Next step in the Chrome OS journey

Last year we announced
a new kind of computer
This is the next step

All of you haiku fans (like many of us on the Chrome team) can stop here; the rest can read on for more details.

A year ago we introduced a new model of computing with the launch of Chromebooks. We’ve heard from many of you who’ve enjoyed the speed, simplicity and security of your Chromebooks at home, at school or at work. (Thanks for all the wonderful feedback and stories!) Today, we wanted to share some developments with you—new hardware, a major software update and many more robust apps—as we continue on our journey to make computers much better.

Next-generation devices
Our partner Samsung has just announced a new Chromebook and the industry’s first Chromebox. Like its predecessor, the newest Chromebook is a fast and portable laptop for everyday users. The Chromebox is a compact, powerful and versatile desktop perfect for the home or office.

Speed is integral to the Chrome experience. The new Chromebook and Chromebox, based on Intel Core processors, are nearly three times as fast as the first-generation Chromebooks. And support for hardware-accelerated graphics, a built-from-scratch multi-touch trackpad and an open-source firmware stack provide a much faster and more responsive computing experience. The new Chromebook boots in less than seven seconds and resumes instantly. With the Chromebox, you can be on a video conference while continuing to play your favorite role-playing game on the side.

An app-centric user interface
With the new user interface you can easily find and launch apps, and use them alongside your browser or other apps. You can pin commonly-used apps for quick access, display multiple windows side-by-side or experience your favorite apps in full-screen mode without any distractions.

Be much more productive…or not

  • Get more stuff done, online or offline: With the built-in ability to view Microsoft Office files and dozens of the most common file formats, you can access all your content without the hassle of installing additional software. Google Drive makes it easy to create, store and share with just one click. Drive will be seamlessly integrated with the File Manager and support offline access with the next release of Chrome OS in six weeks. With Google Docs offline support (rolling out over the next few weeks), you can keep working on your documents even when offline and seamlessly sync back up when you re-connect. In addition, there are hundreds of offline-capable web apps in the Chrome Web Store.
  • Have more fun: The revamped media player and a built-in photo editor and uploader enable you to easily play and manage your personal media collections. Through the Chrome Web Store, you can access entertainment apps such as Google Play, Netflix, Kindle Cloud Reader and Pandora, and thousands of games including popular games like Angry Birds and console titles such as Bastion.
  • Carry your other computers…inside your Chromebook: With Chrome Remote Desktop Beta, you can now securely connect to your PC or Mac from your Chromebook or Chromebox. With the underlying VP8 technology, it’s almost like you’re in front of your other computers in real time.

The (always) new computer
We’ve released eight stable updates over the past year, adding a number of major features and hundreds of improvements to all Chromebooks through our seamless auto-update mechanism. There’s a lot more on the way, so all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the benefits of the (always) new computer.

For those who want to try the Chromebook and Chromebox first-hand, we’re expanding the Chrome Zone experience centers. In the U.S., Chromebooks will be available to try out in select Best Buy stores in the coming weeks. In the U.K., they’re now available in a growing list of PC World and Currys stores.

Starting today, you can get the new Chromebook and Chromebox from our online retail partners in the U.S. and U.K., and in other select countries over the coming weeks.

Posted by Linus Upson, Vice President, Engineering and Caesar Sengupta, Director of Product Management

(Cross-posted from the Chrome Blog)

Chrome OS Is All About the Missing Features

Here’s an interesting quote from Ted Power, a former designer for Google’s mobile web apps:

“Chrome OS could potentially mark a profound leap forward. For the first time, all the layers between the network and the computer have been removed. The device itself is of little consequence; you can ‘feel right at home’ from any networked device. Chrome OS isn’t so much about what has been added, but what has been stripped out; no more complicated file systems, software updates, etc.”

Paul Buchheit, the ex-Googler who created Gmail, thinks that the ideal design of a computer that acts like a local node of a global super-computer matches the design target of Chrome OS. “It should be relatively cheap and reliable, secure (no viruses or anything), zero-administration (I don’t want to be a sys-admin), easy to use, and fast.” Paul says that Chrome OS is unnecessary because iOS and Android devices meet the same ideal and there are already millions of devices that run these operating systems.

There are already millions of people who use Chrome and some of them would like to buy a computer that’s as fast as their browser. Mobile phones are not yet powerful enough to handle complex web apps, but that will change and, at some point, web apps will be indistinguishable from native apps. You’ll be able to use your favorite web apps from almost any device, but why not use a device that removes everything that’s unnecessary and slows you down?

An update on Chrome, the Web Store and Chrome OS

On the Chrome team, we’re constantly amazed by the speed of innovation on the web. We designed Chrome to make the web shine, and we hope our upcoming efforts will help support this vibrant ecosystem even more. By making the web faster, helping people discover great apps, and making computers more fun to use, the next year of computing should be even more exciting than the last one.


This year, the number of people using Chrome has tripled from 40 to 120 million. Speed is what people love most about Chrome, and we’re always working to make the browser even faster. Therefore we’re bringing Google Instant to the Omnibox, showing search results and loading web pages as you type. We’ve also overhauled V8, Chrome’s JavaScript engine. It now runs complex JavaScript programs up to twice as fast as before. These two features are available in our early access channels and will be rolling out to everyone soon.

Chrome Web Store

Today the Chrome Web Store is open for business. Developers have already started uploading apps, and we expect the number to grow over time. Right now the store is only available in the U.S., but will expand to many countries and currencies early next year. The store will be featured prominently in Chrome, helping people discover great apps and developers reach millions of users around the world.

Chrome OS

Last year, we announced our effort to design an operating system that is built and optimized for the web. Many people already spend all their time in a web browser, and by building an operating system that is essentially a browser, we can make computers faster, much simpler and fundamentally more secure.

We’re not done yet, but Chrome OS is at the stage where we need feedback from real users. Some of the features of Chrome OS require new hardware, but we didn’t want to sell pre-beta computers. Instead we’re launching a pilot program where we will give test notebooks to qualified users, developers, schools and businesses. We’re starting with the U.S. and will expand to other countries once we get the necessary certifications. To participate in the pilot program, visit the Chrome notebook website.

The test notebooks exist only to test the software—they are black, have no branding, no logos, no stickers, nothing. They do have 12.1 inch screens, full-sized keyboards and touch pads, integrated 3G from Verizon, eight hours of battery life and eight days of standby time. Chrome notebooks are designed to reach the web instantly, are easy to share among friends and family, and simply by logging in, all of your apps, bookmarks and other browser settings are there. Setting up a new machine takes less than a minute. And even at this early stage, we feel there is no consumer or business operating system that is more secure.

In the first half of next year Chrome notebooks will be available for sale from Acer and Samsung. More manufacturers will follow. Also, Chrome OS is designed to work across a wide range of screen sizes and form factors, enabling our partners to deliver computing devices beyond notebooks.

We’re excited to get Chrome notebooks into the hands of users. The data from our test pilots is key to building something wonderful. We look forward to working together to make computers better.

Update 12/8: You can now watch the full video of yesterday’s Chrome event on YouTube:

Posted by Linus Upson

Chrome OS, Google’s True Operating System

After today’s Chrome event, it became clear that Chrome OS is Google’s true operating system and Android is just a placeholder. Google says that web apps are the native apps in Chrome OS and there are a lot of cool applications in the Chrome Web Store, which is now available.

Chrome OS is still an early project and it’s not yet ready for primetime, so the first Chrome OS notebooks will be available in mid 2011. For now, Google focuses on notebooks, but that will change in the future.

Google realized that cloud computing wasn’t successful 15 years ago because there weren’t great Web applications. Now there are a lot of great apps and Chrome Web Store is the place where you can find some of them. We’ll see a lot of iPhone and Android developers creating web apps that work in Google Chrome, but also work in other browsers.

Check the New York Times web app, which has a beautiful interface, it’s customizable and also works offline.

Chrome now has 120 million active users, up from 40 million users one year ago. This number will grow next year, when people will buy Chrome OS devices. Google hopes that Chrome OS will become one of the top 3 operating systems in terms of usage, but it won’t be easy to achieve this. For some people, a Chrome OS notebook will be the main computer, for others it will be a secondary device. What’s important is that users will have a great platform for running web apps, a computer that doesn’t require maintenance, it’s really secure and easy to use.

Chrome OS is “nothing but the web”. It may seem limited, but it’s actually open ended. It’s a platform that lets you access the web instantly, that’s always connected and always in sync, it’s built for sharing with other people, it’s up-to-date and it’s constantly improving.

Chrome OS is the obvious extension to Chrome. Why use a bulky operating system that requires maintenance, it’s slow and insecure when you can switch to a lightweight operating system that’s fast, free and refreshing? If Chrome can open in 3 seconds, why can’t the operating system load so fast? Chrome OS is an operating system that doesn’t need drivers to print, doesn’t need an antivirus to be secure and doesn’t need to store or process your data. Chrome OS could make computers exciting once again and the best part is that you won’t have to use it to benefit from its influence.

Further reading and exploring:
* Google’s blog post about the Web Store and Chrome OS
* Chrome Web Store
* Chrome OS website
* Chrome OS pilot program for US early adopters: get a free Cr-48 Chrome notebook.

Google to Launch Chrome Web Store and Chrome OS

Google will launch Chrome Web Store, a marketplace for web apps, and Chrome OS, the first browser-centric operating system. Google has uploaded two introductory videos to the YouTube channel, but they’re not yet publicly available. Here are some snapshots from the videos:

Chrome OS Tour

Chrome Web Store: Museum of Thieves (Flash game)

Chrome Web Store: Sports Illustrated

Google has already announced the launch event a few days ago: “On December 7, we will host an event in San Francisco where we plan to share some exciting news about Chrome. The event will be webcast live on YouTube at: Mark your calendars for 10:30 a.m. PST and tune in.”

{ Thanks, Emanuele. }

Chrome OS Tablets, Only for Early Adopters?

Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, made an interesting comment about Chrome OS and the potential users of a Chrome OS tablet:

Chrome OS, Schmidt said is focused on selling Netbook-class computers to early believers in cloud-based storage. The first devices, which he reiterated will come this year, will use either Intel or ARM chips, have a keyboard and won’t have local storage beyond that needed to cache data.

“People who believe in cloud computing, believe in the benefits of Web computing and who are Chrome users will be the target market,” he said. “It’s probably a large market.”

Google Chrome has more than 70 million users, but not all of them switched to Chrome because it’s a good platform for Web apps. Few Chrome users will decide that Google Chrome is the only important application they use and migrate to a Chrome OS tablet. Google should promote the tablet as a complementary device for browsing the Web and running Web apps, a device that boots quickly, updates automatically, doesn’t require maintenance or security software.

It’s interesting to read Andy Rubin’s blog post that explains why Google decided to close the Nexus One online store:

“While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not. It’s remained a niche channel for early adopters.”

Now Eric Schmidt on Chrome OS

At Google Atmosphere, a CIO event about cloud computing held in London, Eric Schmidt explained why Chrome OS is meaningful:

“The promise of Chrome and Chrome OS is that the devices that you give to your employees will have a 2-second boot time, will be completely disposable and the price will be incredibly low.”

Chrome OS computers will no longer be personal because it doesn’t matter which computer you use. After logging to your Google account, Chrome OS will retrieve your bookmarks, themes, settings, web history from Google’s servers. Your data is stored in a central location and you can access it from all your devices.

Computers will boot almost instantly, so you no longer have to wait. They’ll be cheap, easy to replace and to maintain.

You can already use Chrome on your computer, but a Chrome OS computer is optimized for running a browser, doesn’t have extraneous software and it’s inherently more secure.

Chrome OS First Look! Or Fake Look?

Screenshots and a beta download of Google’s much anticipated Chrome OS appeared on the web today. I’ve been waiting anxiously to see what Google had in store as the rumored Windows 7 killer, so I jumped at the opportunity. But after clicking around a bit, something didn’t feel right. Following my hunch, I did a little clicking, searching, and reading, and here is what I found.

The download site is hosted at – a free Google product, but not an official Google page. This doesn’t seem like the way Google would handle things, especially when they haven’t seemed to update anything about Chrome OS on their regular sites for months. And then I found the evidence I was looking for, at the bottom of the download page in fine print.

Chrome OS is not related to Google. Service provided by SUSE Studio. See the license.

So apparently, some enterprising individual decided to use OpenSUSE’s cool SUSE Studio to create their own custom distribution, dubbed it Chrome OS, and posted up some quick links. Ingenious for sure. But I don’t envy them the nasty notes sure to follow from Google’s lawyers. And since the site is hosted free on Google sites anyway, I’m sure it won’t be there for long.

If you’re hankering to get some hack’s opinion of what Chrome OS might be, head there quickly! But don’t get your hopes too high. Or low. Google is still keeping its Chrome OS cards hidden up their sleeve.