Google Chrome OS FAQ
Article by George Norman
On 10 Jul 2009
This week Google announced that after playing around with Chrome for a bout 9 months it plans to take the web browser to the next level by turning it into a full-fledged operating system. The announcement of Chrome OS is available here, but you need not read that article unless you really want to. Why not? Because in this FAQ we will tell you pretty much all there is to know about Google Chrome Operating System.

What is Google Chrome OS?
Google Chrome, as the name so adequately points out is an operating system. The operating system is the interface between the hardware and the user and is responsible for managing and coordinating the activities and the resources of the computer.


On what is Google Chrome OS based?
Basically it is the Google Chrome software architecture running on top of a Linux kernel.

Will it be free then?
Yes, Chrome OS is free. Google plans to open-source the code sometime this year.

What will Chrome Os power?
According to Google, the operating system can be used to power any configuration, but initially it will power small notebook PCs (netbooks).

When can I get a Chrome OS-powered netbook?
In the second half of 2010. Google is already talking to OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) about this project.

Any specific names?
Google is talking with Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Toshiba and others.

Can I get involved?
If you are a developer then Google welcomes your desire to work with it. Google informed that it is anxious to start working with the open-source community once the Chrome OS code goes open source.

You could also apply for a software engineer position with Google (details and available positions here)

What will Chrome OS focus on?
The operating system will focus on speed, simplicity and security. The operating system will be fast and lightweight and will cater to the needs of the user that spends most of his time online. All web applications will work in Chrome OS automatically.

Wait, doesn’t Google already have an operating system?
Yes, Google does have the Android which is currently being used to power smartphones.

So what’s the difference between Android and Chrome OS?
Android has been designed from the get-go to work on various platforms – phones, set-top boxes and even netbooks. Chrome OS will be designed to power computers, ranging from netbooks to big, powerful desktop systems. In some areas, the two operating systems will overlap, it is true.

Will Chrome OS run on my system?
Chrome Os will run on x86 (that’s 32-bit) processors and ARM chips.

Will it be safe?
Since Chrome OS is web-centric, and since the web is full of dangers, you are right to ask this question. Google representatives said that the operating system will have security at its core, that the OS will have a brand new security architecture that will ensure you stay safe online. It will probably not be 100% safe, because as security experts reminded us these past days, no operating systems is completely safe. But you can rest assured that security will be at the top of Google’s priority list.

Does Microsoft have something similar to Chrome OS in the works?
Yes, Microsoft has “Gazelle” an alternative to Internet explorer that acts like a self-contained OS. Rumor on the web has it that Microsoft will make an announcement related to Chrome OS and Gazelle this Monday.

Tags: Google, Chrome, Google Chrome Operating System, OS
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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