Google Os

Chrome OS
Welcome to the Chrome channel.
DeveloperGoogle
Written inC, C++, assembly, JavaScript, HTML5, Python, Rust
OS familyLinux (Unix-like)[1]
Working statePreinstalled on Chromebooks, Chromeboxes, Chromebits, Chromebases
Source modelClosed-source with open-source components
Initial releaseJune 15, 2011; 10 years ago
Latest release100.0.4896.64 (April 1, 2022; 5 days ago[2]) [±]
Latest preview
Beta

Google's operating system started off in December 2010 as being little more than all Chrome, all the time.

Dev
101.0.4951.13 (March 29, 2022; 8 days ago[4]) [±]
Update methodRolling release
Package managerPortage[a]
PlatformsARM32, ARM64, x86, x86-64
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux kernel)[6]
UserlandAura Shell (Ash), Ozone (display manager); X11 apps can be enabled in recent Chrome OS
Default
user interface
Google Chrome
LicenseProprietary[7]
Official websitewww.google.com/chromebook/chrome-os/

Updates made since then have given Chrome OS users better file format support, faster navigation, revised menus, dramatically improved offline abilities, and a traditional-looking desktop. But if you loathe the Chrome browser, it's still highly unlikely that you'll enjoy this operating system.

On the other hand, if you love Chrome, then Chrome OS is a big heaping helping of Chrome with some extra Chrome on the side and more Chrome for dessert. Like Chrome the browser, Chrome-the-OS has a freely available open-source sibling, called Chromium OS. If you like coding and developing, this is likely going to be your best bet for exploring what makes Chrome OS tick.

Please note that because of the similarities between the Chrome-the-browser and the Chrome OS, parts of the Chrome review have been reproduced here where applicable. Installation Installation is not an issue for the Chrome OS since it comes preinstalled. There is a simple setup procedure, however.

When you start up your system, it's recommended that you sign in using a Google account. You're not required to, and if you'd prefer, you can opt for the Guest mode. Guest mode in Chrome OS cleverly uses the Chrome browser's trackless browsing mode, called Incognito. Incognito prevents guest users from leaving any traces of their session, as well as keeping them from making any changes to your apps and other settings.

History[edit]

After choosing your log-in method, you're asked to read through and accept the EULA. This will only appear for the initial log-in; it won't show up for subsequent uses and users. Next, you can take a photo of yourself with the Webcam, use a provided icon, or use your current Google account avatar. Gone from previous versions is the mandated Webcam photo. It took our avatar about 30 seconds to synchronize our existing account avatar from the cloud. Chrome then takes anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds to synchronize your Google settings, if any, and then the computer is ready to be used.

There's no doubt that the EULA is annoying, but we've never seen another new, unused operating system start so quickly. InterfaceGoogle has clearly spent some serious time developing the new interface. It looks and feels like a personal computer, finally, where before it was little more than a full-screen browser.

There's an actual desktop that looks a bit cribbed from Windows 7, with Chrome-the-browser pinned to the far left of the Launcher, and other apps pinned right next to it. The desktop itself shows only your background by default, but a Tic-Tac-Toe-style icon on the Launcher reveals all your installed apps over the desktop background. When you install an app, it'll appear here. The lower-right corner shows the time, Internet connection status, battery status, and shows your Google account avatar to indicate who's logged in. Click the avatar to show shutdown options and reveal more information and settings.

You can customize the background with one of several dozen options, or upload your own image. However, it must be either locally stored or in your Google Drive -- it won't pull in an image from a service like Facebook. All the Settings have been moved to open in their own tabs, but you probably knew this from using Chrome-the-browser. Changes made in the browser tend to be reflected in Chrome OS about a month or so later. The look of Chrome has changed remarkably little since its surprise debut in September 2008. Tabs are on top, the location bar -- which Google likes to call the Omnibar -- dominates the minimalist design, and the browser has few visible control buttons besides Back, Forward, and a combined Stop/Reload button. On Chrome OS, the upper-right corner of the browser hosts a square icon and an X.

Early Chromebooks[edit]

The X is to close the browser window. Drag the box down to minimize the browser, drag it to the edges to "snap" it to the side and make it half the width of your screen, or click it to switch from windowed mode to full-screen mode. The window snap is another cue taken from Windows 7, but it's a clever and intuitive one, and works well in Chrome. The interface's strongest point is also its weakness. What works well in the browser works well here, but the faults of one are reflected in the other, too. Some controls, such as page zoom, are readily available from the "wrench" options menu. Others, such as the extension manager, are hidden away under a Tools submenu. Hiding essentials like that remains an odd design choice to make. As is true about every aspect of this operating system, updates are much more likely to tweak the layout and design of the interface. Chrome's extensions are fairly limited in how they can alter the browser's interface.

Expansion[edit]

Unlike Firefox, which gives add-on makers a lot of leeway to change the browser's look, Chrome mandates that extensions appear only as icons to the right of the location bar.

The benefit maintains a uniform look in the browser, but it definitely restricts how much the browser can be customized. Even with its limitations, the browser interface design has remained a contemporary exemplar of how to minimize the browser's screen footprint while remaining easy to use and versatile. The new desktop, on the other hand, finally brings to Chrome OS a sense of familiarity that is essential for any new PC experience. FeaturesChrome OS isn't quite as reliant on the Internet as it was before, but it's still reasonably crippled without it. This is a vehicle, first and foremost, for leading a Web-based existence. As such, what Chrome OS does is create a space where Web-based applications can function and thrive. The operating system itself doesn't do much -- it's a browser. However, it's a heavily modded browser, and it achieves its main goal of getting you on the Web as fast as possible. This comes from both the solid-state drive (SSD) on your Chromebook or Chromebox, and the various optimizations that Google has been building into Chrome.

This is where the second bit of genius in the Chrome OS comes in: because everything is Web-based, you can log in to any installation of the operating system and instantly have all of your apps, settings, and other personalizations at your fingertips. That's still an incredible feat. It's an important one, too, as Chrome OS improves with each regular iteration of the operating system. In Chrome OS's first year, it updated eight times. Things that were buggy originally, such as touch pad support on the demo hardware Cr-48, started to work properly. Many Chrome-safe extensions that wouldn't install on the Chrome OS beta, but would on the browser, now work in Chrome OS. It's currently on a six-week update cycle. Google has also leveraged its successes in other departments to benefit the Chrome OS. Google+ Hangouts, for example, come as a preinstalled app so you have video conferencing as an option right off the bat.

Google's notorious for not always having good integration between its services, so this -- and solid Google Play integration for Books, Movies, and Music -- are welcome improvements. Also welcome is Google's decision to expand everybody's Google Drive to 100GB when it detects a Chromebook associated with your account. The $250 price for the latest Samsung Chromebooks is nearly worth it for that upgrade alone.

Chromebook Pixel[edit]

The Chrome OS has a usable file-browsing system, accessible via Control-M or under the Tools submenu of the Options wrench.

When you take a screenshot using the Ctrl-Next Window button, for example, you'll find it saved locally via the File Browser. It now supports a wide range of popular file formats, including PDF, PPT, DOC, ZIP, XLS and RAR, and the newer Microsoft proprietary versions of those formats like PPTX. Famously, Google has killed the Caps Lock key and replaced it with a dedicated Search key. Tap it and a new tab will open, with the cursor ready in the location bar. What's less well-known is that you can remap the Search key to Caps Lock, and that Google makes it easy to do through the Settings menu under System, then Modifier keys.

Controversial popularity[edit]

Here you can modify the bindings of the Control and Alt keys as well. But also missing is a dedicated Delete key to remove characters to the right of the cursor. The default settings for the hot keys are among the best things about the Chrome OS. Hold down Ctrl and Alt with the question mark key to bring up a color-coded map of combinations that you can use. The map and colors change depending on which key -- Shift, Control, or Alt -- you're pressing. Google is to be commended for building an operating system that goes from sleep to fully functional in what feels like a second. There's simply no lag time, and the updates have fixed previous lagginess in logging in and out. Your Chromebook or Chromebox may just be the fastest PC you've used when it comes to booting, shutting down, and logging in and out.

Two other low-profile but well-executed features in Chrome are autoupdating and translation. Chrome automatically updates when a new version comes out. This makes it harder to revert back to an older version, but it's highly unlikely that you'll want to downgrade this build of Chrome since this is the stable build and not the beta or developer's version.

You can toggle the build among the three under About Chrome. The second feature, automatic translation of Web pages, is available to other browsers as a Google add-on, but because it comes from Google, it's baked directly into Chrome.

Pwnium competition[edit]

Already mentioned a little bit, the biggest OS hang-up in the operating system is offline support despite the improvements. Chrome OS will support the core Google apps of Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs offline, but for most of your other apps, you'll be left in the dark. That might not be an issue on the Chromebox, Google's answer to the Mac Mini, but for the portable Chromebooks, prepare for a severely hamstrung experience.

Material Design and app runtime for Chrome[edit]

Anyone outside of the cloud crowd likely won't be comfortable with it. You can print with Google Cloud Print, accessible via the common printing hot-key combo of Control-P. Google has anticipated the problems that still plague cloud printing, and so it offers instructions on how to do it. Still, most people will probably find the process way too fiddly because what's simple to print off a basic Windows 7 Netbook will take effort to set up properly from a Chromebook.

Cloud Print does now come with access to FedEx stores in the United States, which is a nice improvement for remote printing. Google says that security will not be a big concern in Chrome OS and that it's the most secure operating system ever shipped. There are some toggles via about:flags and the Settings menu that will allow you to restrict content that requires plug-ins. Cookies, image management, JavaScript, plug-ins, pop-ups, location information, and notifications can be adjusted from the Content Settings button.

Functionality for small and medium businesses and Enterprise[edit]

Chrome Enterprise[edit]

This includes toggling specific plug-ins, such as the built-in Adobe Flash plug-in and the Chrome PDF reader. Google is basing most of its claim of a secure operating system on a new feature in Chrome OS called "verified boot." Chrome OS will check its own integrity when booting, and if it detects any changes, it will allow you to restore a last-known good configuration. PerformanceThe following benchmarks are of the original version of the Chrome OS that shipped on the Cr-48. There have been significant improvements since then, and CNET will update the results below as soon as possible. Benchmarking the first beta of the Chrome OS proved to be a bit tricky. It's hard to measure the impact of various essential programs, such as a productivity suite or media player, on the operating system because they exist largely in the cloud.

However, because the operating system is also the browser, we were able to run browser benchmark tests against it and compare them against the same version of Google Chrome, but running on a Windows 7 laptop. These tests are admittedly not a direct apples-with-apples comparison. Google has not yet released the specifications of the Cr-48, saying only that it's running an Intel Atom processor. The Windows 7 x86 laptop we used is a high-powered Lenovo T400 laptop, running on an Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 at 2.53GHz, with 3GB of RAM. However, they do provide a snapshot of what the Cr-48 with Chrome OS is capable of at this time, and we can expect these numbers to improve as Google continues to upgrade both the Chrome OS and Chrome browser. The two laptops were running nearly identical versions of the Chrome browser.

Tested in December 2010, the Cr-48 was running Chrome v8.0.552.341, whereas the Lenovo was running Chrome v8.0.552.215. (By comparison, the version of Chrome OS available in early June 2012 is 12.0.742.77.). What we can see from these tests is that the hardware will have a massive impact on the performance of both the browser and the operating system.

From Chromebooks to Chromebox and Chromebase[edit]

This isn't news, but the fact that the Cr-48's version of the Chrome browser was so dramatically affected in all three tests tells us that what hardware future computer makers choose to support Chrome OS on will almost definitely change how well the public receives it. We were also a bit surprised that the full cold-boot and log-on procedure, not counting the time it took to type in the log-on password, averaged to nearly 30 seconds.

Some Windows 7 computers have, anecdotally, been found to boot up cold in similar times. As mentioned earlier, this time had been cut in half by early June 2011. Of course, the real time-saving feature of the Chrome OS is the resume from wake, which is practically instantaneous. As long as the computer isn't shut down, it will wake extremely quickly.

Enterprise response to Chrome devices[edit]

ConclusionAlthough Chrome OS does update regularly, the current iteration is more usable than where the operating system was even six months ago.

The quirkiness of a PC without the traditional touches of a PC desktop have been replaced by something recognizable and usable. As long as Google continues to support the project, Chrome OS will keep improving.

One day, and perhaps sooner rather than later, it might even be ready for all.

Hardware[edit]

A Chromebook

Laptops running Chrome OS are known collectively as "Chromebooks". The first was the CR-48, a reference hardware design that Google gave to testers and reviewers beginning in December 2010. Retail machines followed in May 2011. A year later, in May 2012, a desktop design marketed as a "Chromebox" was released by Samsung. In March 2015 a partnership with AOPEN was announced and the first commercial Chromebox was developed.[82]

In early 2014, LG Electronics introduced the first device belonging to the new all-in-one form factor called "Chromebase". Chromebase devices are essentially Chromebox hardware inside a monitor with a built-in camera, microphone and speakers.

The Chromebit is an HDMI dongle running Chrome OS. When placed in an HDMI slot on a television set or computer monitor, the device turns that display into a personal computer. The first device, announced in March 2015 was an Asus unit that shipped that November and which reached end of life in November 2020.[83]

Chromebook tablets were introduced in March 2018 by Acer with their Chromebook Tab 10. Designed to rival the Apple iPad, it had an identical screen size and resolution and other similar specifications, a notable addition was a Wacom-branded stylus that doesn’t require a battery or charging.[84]

Chrome OS supports multi-monitor setups, on devices with a video-out port, USB 3.0 or USB-C, the latter being preferable.[85]

On February 16, 2022, Google announced a development version of Chrome OS Flex—a distribution of Chrome OS that can be installed on conventional PC hardware to replace other operating systems such as Windows and macOS. It is similar to CloudReady, a distribution of Chromium OS whose developers were acquired by Google in 2020.[86][87]

Software[edit]

The software and updates are limited in their support lifetime.[88][89] Each device model manufactured to run Chrome OS has a different end-of-life date, with all new devices released in 2020 and beyond guaranteed to receive a minimum of eight years from their date of initial release.[90]

As of Version 78, the device's end-of-life date for software updates is listed in "About Chrome OS"-"Additional Details".[91]

Applications[edit]

Initially, Chrome OS was almost a pure thin client operating system that relied primarily on servers to host web applications and related data storage.[92][93] Google gradually began encouraging developers to create "packaged applications", and later, Chrome Apps. The latter employ HTML5, CSS, Adobe Shockwave, and JavaScript to provide a user experience closer to a native application.[94][95]

In September 2014, Google launched App Runtime for Chrome (beta), which allowed certain ported[96] Android applications to run on Chrome OS. Runtime was launched with four Android applications: Duolingo, Evernote, Sight Words, and Vine.[97] In 2016, Google made Google Play available for Chrome OS, making most Android apps available for supported Chrome OS devices.[98]

In 2018, Google announced plans for Chrome OS support for desktop Linux apps.[99] This capability was released to the stable channel (as an option for most machines) with Chrome 69 in October 2018, but was still marked as beta.[100] This feature was officially released with Chrome 91.[101]

By default X11 is not used,[102][better source needed] while X11 apps can be run.[103][better source needed]Project Crostini makes X11 work (through Wayland).[104]

Chrome Apps[edit]

From 2013 until January 2020, Google encouraged developers to build not just conventional Web applications for Chrome OS, but Chrome Apps (formerly known as Packaged Apps).[105] In January 2020, Google's Chrome team announced its intent to phase out support for Chrome Apps in favor of "progressive web applications" (PWA) and Chrome extensions instead.[106] In March 2020, Google stopped accepting new public Chrome Apps for the web store.[107] According to Google, general support for Chrome Apps on Chrome OS will remain enabled, without requiring any policy setting, through June 2022.[107]

From a user's perspective, Chrome Apps resemble conventional native applications: they can be launched outside of the Chrome browser, are offline by default, can manage multiple windows, and interact with other applications. Technologies employed include HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS.[108][109][110]

Integrated media player, file manager[edit]

Google integrates a media player into both Chrome OS and the Chrome browser, enabling users to play back MP3s, view JPEGs, and handle other multimedia files while offline.[111] It also supports DRM videos.[112]

Chrome OS also includes an integrated file manager, resembling those found on other operating systems, with the ability to display directories and the files they contain from both Google Drive and local storage, as well as to preview and manage file contents using a variety of Web applications, including Google Docs and Box.[113] Since January 2015, Chrome OS can also integrate additional storage sources into the file manager, relying on installed extensions that use the File System Provider API.[114]

Remote application access and virtual desktop access[edit]

In June 2010, Google software engineer Gary Kačmarčík wrote that Chrome OS would access remote applications through a technology unofficially called "Chromoting", which would resemble Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection.[111] The name has since been changed to "Chrome Remote Desktop", and is like "running an application via Remote Desktop Services or by first connecting to a host machine by using RDP or VNC".[115] Initial roll-outs of Chrome OS laptops (Chromebooks) indicate an interest in enabling users to access virtual desktops.[116][117]

Android applications[edit]

At Google I/O 2014, a proof of concept showing Android applications, including Flipboard, running on Chrome OS was presented. In September 2014, Google introduced a beta version of the App Runtime for Chrome (ARC), which allows selected Android applications to be used on Chrome OS, using a Native Client-based environment that provides the platforms necessary to run Android software. Android applications do not require any modifications to run on Chrome OS, but may be modified to better support a mouse and keyboard environment. At its introduction, Chrome OS support was only available for selected Android applications.[118]

In 2016, Google introduced the ability to run Android apps on supported Chrome OS devices, with access to Google Play in its entirety. The previous Native Client-based solution was dropped in favor of a container containing Android's frameworks and dependencies (initially based on Android Marshmallow), which allows Android apps to have direct access to the Chrome OS platform, and allow the OS to interact with Android contracts such as sharing. Engineering director Zelidrag Hornung explained that ARC had been scrapped due to its limitations, including its incompatibility with the Android Native Development Toolkit (NDK), and that it was unable to pass Google's own compatibility test suite.[119][120]

Linux apps[edit]

All Chromebooks made since 2018, and many earlier models, can run Linux apps. As with Android apps, these apps can be installed and launched alongside other apps.[121] Google maintains a list of devices that were launched before 2019, which support Linux apps.[122][123]

Since 2013, it has been possible to run Linux applications in Chrome OS through the use of Crouton, a third-party set of scripts that allows access to a Linux distribution such as Ubuntu.[124] However, in 2018 Google announced that desktop Linux apps were officially coming to Chrome OS.[125] The main benefit claimed by Google of their official Linux application support is that it can run without enabling developer mode, keeping many of the security features of Chrome OS. It was noticed in the Chromium OS source code in early 2018.[126][127] Early parts of Crostini were made available for the Google Pixelbook via the dev channel in February 2018 as part of Chrome OS version 66,[128][129] and it was enabled by default via the beta channel for testing on a variety of Chromebooks in August 2018 with version 69.[130]

Architecture[edit]

Google's project for supporting Linux applications in Chrome OS is called Crostini, named for the Italian bread-based starter, and as a pun on Crouton. Crostini runs a virtual machine through a virtual machine monitor called crosvm, which uses Linux's built-in KVM virtualization tool. Although crosvm supports multiple virtual machines, the one used for running Linux apps, Termina, contains a basic Chrome OS kernel and userland utilities, in which it runs containers based on Linux containers (specifically LXD).[11]


Architecture[edit]

Chrome OS is built on top of the Linux kernel. Originally based on Ubuntu, its base was changed to Gentoo Linux in February 2010.[131] For Project Crostini, as of Chrome OS 80, Debian 10 (Buster) is used.[132] In preliminary design documents for the Chromium OS open-source project, Google described a three-tier architecture: firmware, browser and window manager, and system-level software and userland services.[133]

  • The firmware contributes to fast boot time by not probing for hardware, such as floppy disk drives, that are no longer common on computers, especially netbooks. The firmware also contributes to security by verifying each step in the boot process and incorporating system recovery.[133]
  • System-level software includes the Linux kernel that has been patched to improve boot performance. Userland software has been trimmed to essentials, with management by Upstart, which can launch services in parallel, re-spawn crashed jobs, and defer services in the interest of faster booting.[133]
  • The window manager handles user interaction with multiple client windows (much like other X window managers).[133]

Security[edit]

In March 2010, Google software security engineer Will Drewry discussed Chrome OS security. Drewry described Chrome OS as a "hardened" operating system featuring auto-updating and sandbox features that would reduce malware exposure. He said that Chrome OS netbooks would be shipped with Trusted Platform Module (TPM), and include both a "trusted boot path" and a physical switch under the battery compartment that activates a "developer mode". That mode drops some specialized security functions but increases developer flexibility. Drewry also emphasized that the open-source nature of the operating system would contribute greatly to its security by allowing constant developer feedback.[134]

At a December 2010 press conference, Google declared that Chrome OS would be the most secure consumer operating system due in part to a verified boot ability, in which the initial boot code, stored in read-only memory, checks for system compromises.[135] In the following nine years, Chrome OS has been affected by 55 documented security flaws of any severity,[136] compared with over 1,100 affecting Microsoft Windows 10 in the five years to the end of 2019[137] and over 2,200 affecting Apple OS X in 20 years.[138]

Shell access[edit]

Chrome OS includes the Chrome Shell, or "crosh",[139] which documents minimal functionality such as ping at crosh start-up.

In developer mode, a full-featured bash[140] shell (which is supposed to be used for development purposes[141]) can be opened via VT-2, and is also accessible using the crosh command shell.[142] To access full privileges in shell (e.g. sudo) a root password is requested. For some time the default was "chronos" in Chrome OS and "facepunch" in Chrome OS Vanilla[143] and later the default was empty, and instructions on updating it were displayed at each login.

Open source[edit]

Chrome OS is partially developed under the open-sourceChromium OS project.[144] As with other open-source projects, developers can modify the code from Chromium OS and build their own versions, whereas Chrome OS code is only supported by Google and its partners and only runs on hardware designed for the purpose. Unlike Chromium OS, Chrome OS is automatically updated to the latest version.[16]

Chrome OS on Windows[edit]

On Windows 8, exceptions allow the default desktop web browser to offer a variant that can run inside its full-screen "Metro" shell and access features such as the Share charm, without necessarily needing to be written with Windows Runtime. Chrome's "Windows 8 mode" was previously a tablet-optimized version of the standard Chrome interface. In October 2013, the mode was changed on Developer channel to offer a variant of the Chrome OS desktop.[145][146][147][148][149]

Design[edit]

Early in the project, Google provided publicly many details of Chrome OS's design goals and direction,[150] although the company has not followed up with a technical description of the completed operating system.

User interface[edit]

Design goals for Chrome OS's user interface included using minimal screen space by combining applications and standard Web pages into a single tab strip, rather than separating the two. Designers considered a reduced window management scheme that would operate only in full-screen mode. Secondary tasks would be handled with "panels": floating windows that dock to the bottom of the screen for tasks like chat and music players. Split screens were also under consideration for viewing two pieces of content side by side. Chrome OS would follow the Chrome browser's practice of leveraging HTML5's offline modes, background processing, and notifications. Designers proposed using search and pinned tabs as a way to quickly locate and access applications.[151]

Version 19 window manager and graphics engine[edit]

On April 10, 2012, a new build of Chrome OS offered a choice between the original full-screen window interface and overlapping, re-sizable windows, such as found on Microsoft Windows and Apple's macOS.[152] The feature was implemented through the Ash window manager, which runs atop the Aura hardware-accelerated graphics engine. The April 2012 upgrade also included the ability to display smaller, overlapping browser windows, each with its own translucent tabs, browser tabs that can be "torn" and dragged to new positions or merged with another tab strip, and a mouse-enabled shortcut list across the bottom of the screen. One icon on the task bar shows a list of installed applications and bookmarks. Writing in CNET, Stephen Shankland argued that with overlapping windows, "Google is anchoring itself into the past" as both iOS and Microsoft's Metro interface are largely or entirely full-screen. Even so, "Chrome OS already is different enough that it's best to preserve any familiarity that can be preserved".[152][153][154]

Printing[edit]

Google Cloud Print is a Google service that helps any application on any device to print on supported printers. While the cloud provides virtually any connected device with information access, the task of "developing and maintaining print subsystems for every combination of hardware and operating system—from desktops to netbooks to mobile devices—simply isn't feasible."[155][156] The cloud service requires installation of a piece of software called proxy, as part of the Chrome OS. The proxy registers the printer with the service, manages the print jobs, provides the printer driver functionality, and gives status alerts for each job.[157]

In 2016, Google included "Native CUPS Support" in Chrome OS as an experimental feature that may eventually become an official feature. With CUPS support turned on, it becomes possible to use most USB printers even if they do not support Google Cloud Print.[158][159]

Google announced that Google Cloud Print would no longer be supported after December 31, 2020, and that the online service would not be available as of January 1, 2021.[160]

Link handling[edit]

Chrome OS was designed to store user documents and files on remote servers. Both Chrome OS and the Chrome browser may introduce difficulties to end-users when handling specific file types offline; for example, when opening an image or document residing on a local storage device, it may be unclear whether and which specific Web application should be automatically opened for viewing, or the handling should be performed by a traditional application acting as a preview utility. Matthew Papakipos, Chrome OS engineering director, noted in 2010 that Windows developers have faced the same fundamental problem: "Quicktime is fighting with Windows Media Player, which is fighting with Chrome."[13]

Release channels and updates[edit]

Chrome OS uses the same release system as Google Chrome: there are three distinct channels: Stable, Beta, and Developer preview (called the "Dev" channel). The stable channel is updated with features and fixes that have been thoroughly tested in the Beta channel, and the Beta channel is updated approximately once a month with stable and complete features from the Developer channel. New ideas get tested in the Developer channel, which can be very unstable at times.[161][162] A fourth canary channel was confirmed to exist by Google Developer Francois Beaufort and hacker Kenny Strawn, by entering the Chrome OS shell in developer mode, typing the command shell to access the bash shell, and finally entering the command update_engine_client -channel canary-channel -update. It is possible to return to the verified boot mode after entering the canary channel, but the channel updater disappears and the only way to return to another channel is using the "powerwash" factory reset.[163]

Reception[edit]

At its debut, Chrome OS was viewed as a competitor to Microsoft, both directly to Microsoft Windows and indirectly the company's word processing and spreadsheet applications—the latter through Chrome OS's reliance on cloud computing.[164][165] But Chrome OS engineering director Matthew Papakipos argued that the two operating systems would not fully overlap in functionality because Chrome OS is intended for netbooks, which lack the computational power to run a resource-intensive program like Adobe Photoshop.[13]

Some observers claimed that other operating systems already filled the niche that Chrome OS was aiming for, with the added advantage of supporting native applications in addition to a browser. Tony Bradley of PC World wrote in November 2009:

We can already do most, if not all, of what Chrome OS promises to deliver. Using a Windows 7 or Linux-based netbook, users can simply not install anything but a web browser and connect to the vast array of Google products and other web-based services and applications. Netbooks have been successful at capturing the low-end PC market, and they provide a web-centric computing experience today. I am not sure why we should get excited that a year from now we'll be able to do the same thing, but locked into doing it from the fourth-place web browser.[166]

In 2016, Chromebooks were the most popular computer in the US K–12 education market.[167]

By 2017, the Chrome browser had risen to become the number one browser used worldwide.[168]

In 2020, Chromebooks became the second most-popular end-user oriented OS (growing from 6.4% in 2019 to 10.8% in 2020). The majority of growth came at Windows expense (which fell from 85.4% in 2019 to 80.5% in 2021).[169]

Relationship to Android[edit]

Google's offering of two open-source operating systems, Android[170] and Chrome OS, has drawn some criticism despite the similarity between this situation and that of Apple Inc.'s two operating systems, macOS and iOS. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO at the time, accused Google of not being able to make up its mind.[171]Steven Levy wrote that "the dissonance between the two systems was apparent" at Google I/O 2011. The event featured a daily press conference in which each team leader, Android's Andy Rubin and Chrome's Sundar Pichai, "unconvincingly tried to explain why the systems weren't competitive".[172] Google co-founder Sergey Brin addressed the question by saying that owning two promising operating systems was "a problem that most companies would love to face".[172] Brin suggested that the two operating systems "will likely converge over time".[173] The speculation over convergence increased in March 2013 when Chrome OS chief Pichai replaced Rubin as the senior vice president in charge of Android, thereby putting Pichai in charge of both.[174]

The relationship between Android and Chrome OS became more substantial at Google I/O 2014, where developers demonstrated native Android software running on Chrome OS through a Native Client-based runtime.[118][175] In September 2014, Google introduced a beta version of the App Runtime for Chrome (ARC), which allows selected Android applications to be used on Chrome OS, using a Native Client-based environment that provides the platforms necessary to run Android software. Android applications do not require any modifications to run on Chrome OS, but may be modified to better support a mouse and keyboard environment. At its introduction, Chrome OS support was only available for selected Android applications.[118] In October 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that Chrome OS would be folded into Android so that a single OS would result by 2017. The resulting OS would be Android, but it would be expanded to run on laptops.[176][177] Google responded that while the company has "been working on ways to bring together the best of both operating systems, there's no plan to phase out Chrome OS".[178]

In 2016, Google introduced the ability to run Android apps on supported Chrome OS devices, with access to Google Play in its entirety. The previous Native Client-based solution was dropped in favor of a container containing Android's frameworks and dependencies (initially based on Android Marshmallow), which allows Android apps to have direct access to the Chrome OS platform, and allow the OS to interact with Android contracts such as sharing. Engineering director Zelidrag Hornung explained that ARC had been scrapped due to its limitations, including its incompatibility with the Android Native Development Toolkit (NDK), and that it was unable to pass Google's own compatibility test suite.[119][120]

See also[edit]

  • QWERTY § Chrome OS for information on typing diacritics (accents) and special symbols

Notes[edit]

  1. ^While it is possible to run Portage in Chrome OS, this requires enabling development mode which removes integrity checking for the filesystem.[5]

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External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chrome OS.
  • What is Google Chrome OS? on YouTube
Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Chrome_OS&oldid=1081014299"
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