What We Need To Know About Chrome OS

A few industry journalists seemed confused about Google Chrome the browser and Google Chrome OS the operating system in today’s webcast of Google Chrome OS Open Source Project Announcement. Make no mistake, Chrome OS boots your machine – in 7 seconds!

Chrome OS is a Linux-based operating system optimized for- and devoted to- the Web.

In the webcast, Google revealed several details of their Chrome OS product vision. Sundar Pichai, VP of product management said:

We want Google Chrome OS to be blazingly fast…
to boot up like a TV

Chrome OS

  • Targets users who spend most of their time on the web. Um… like everybody.
  • Is a fundamentally different model of computing — relying on cloud computing (e.g., your computer does not manage data).
  • Runs web apps residing on remote servers, rather than on hardware devices.
  • Users won’t install applications since the OS runs web apps.
  • Users won’t install anti-virus protection since the OS monitors malicious activity via internal systems like verified boot and malware protection.
  • Runs javascript super fast
  • Supports the W3C notification API for real time notifications.
  • Is an open source project released to the public on November 19, 2009. The project is known as Chromium OS (Chromium OS is what Google calls developer builds of Chrome OS).

Every capability you want today, in the future it will be written as a web application
~ Sundar Pichai


  • Chrome OS targets netbook computers. It is tuned to run on hardware with x86 or ARM processors under the hood.
  • Hewlett-Packard and Acer are working with Google to create devices running Chrome OS (cf. HP, Acer Developing Google Chrome OS Netbooks).
  • Chrome OS supports keyboard, mice, standard storage devices (e.g., non-volatile flash memory), and droid phones.
  • Chrome OS will have printer support that will be announced in the future.


The wired.com post Five Things Google’s Chrome OS Will Do for Your Netbook distills the attraction of Chrome OS to

  1. Cost;
  2. Speed;
  3. Compatibility;
  4. Portablity; and
  5. New Applications.

Business Strategy

Chrome OS is a bold move by Google in the competition between Google and Microsoft for the badge of digital dominance. I am a Microsoft whore, but I am betting on Google. Here’s why…

Dude #1 fires up Windows 7 on notebook.
Dude #2 boots Chrome OS on a Netbook in 7 seconds
Dude #2 has GMail read before Dude #1 sees login prompt.

Asked about Google’s strategic position with Chrome OS, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said

We really focus on user needs rather than think about strategy relative to other companies…a web platform on stateless machines that are performant.

Watch a 3:30 minute video excerpt of the Q&A from today’s webcast from TechCrunch. Or, view the entire announcement video, including a live demo (~80 minutes).

Like a Hobo on a Ham Sandwich

What to get on Chrome OS running on a virtual machine using Sun’s free software VirtualBox (for PCs, Macs, and Linux)? TechCrunch gives a step-by-step walk-through in the post Want To Try Out Google Chrome OS For Yourself?.