Google Announces full-scale Operating System: ChromeOS is here

It's been rumored for years, and here it is: ChromeOS, a new computer operating system from Google, distinct from its cellphone-oriented Android counterpart. From the announcement:
Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we're already talking to partners about the project, and we'll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve. Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work. Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple -- Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform. Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android.
Boo! OMG! Lol! Introducing the Google Chrome OS [Google]

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34 Responses to Google Announces full-scale Operating System: ChromeOS is here

  1. johnnyaction says:

    If google can make a chat client that is good and universal for it and offer itunes interopability.. they could own large sections of user space.

    Many non-power users just use the web, chat with friends and load music on their ipods..

  2. O_M says:

    …And this whole effort to push apps out to “the cloud” is why this and any efforts like it will be doomed to an EPIC FAIL. What Larry “Caveman” Ellison found out but failed to recognize is that we *want* to _OWN_ our data and apps. We want them on our hard drives, where we can call them up any damn time we want without having to be at the mercy of a network connection and/or the cycle power of whatever mainframe exists on the other end. That’s why Oracle’s attempts to return to the days of Mainframes and Dumb Terminals have failed, why the “Net PCs” that Dell, IBM and others came out with that had no external storage whatsoever flopped because they had no floppies.

    It’s a joke. It’s a scam. And again it will be an EPIC FAIL save to those who eat/sleep/mate with Linux on a minute-by-minute basis…

  3. Trent Hawkins says:

    Can it run WoW?

    Because if not, it’s useless.

  4. elle says:

    You’re all thinking about this too hard. The only reason Google’s doing this is to piss off Michael Arrington.

    “Oh hai Mike, this is Google. I see you made a browser-only OS? That’s nice, you should check out ours, it’s instant on and optimized for everyone’s device and not just yours. LOL G2G, buying Facebook”

  5. musicalwoods says:

    Wow. They are really pushing the cloud with this announcement, and I bet they will be heavily pushing developers to Google Gears for offline use of web apps when this gets closer to release.

    Well, I think this is a good thing for the netbook-as-an-appliance crowd. My guess is that they are going to release on ARM-based netbooks that are sold at commodity prices (sub-$200).

    Not so great for hackers that would want to add linux apps, because once again they break compatibility with an X11 replacement.

    This is a press release is a total reaction to Ars Technica leaking the story, which I find comical as well.

  6. Aaron says:

    #15 is right — the most exciting thing about this isn’t that Google’s making a “new” OS — it’s that Google is making a new window manager.

    Linux is a great kernel with a strong ecosystem.

    Gnome/Xorg is clunky, ugly, and easily the weakest link when it comes to moving users to Linux. For all of Gnome’s HCI research, they’re still making a product that looks like it’s 10 years old. The visual design is crap compared to what Microsoft and Apple designers are doing.

    Building a WM from scratch that’s optimized for Chrome’s Skia graphics library would be HUGE. Skia is fast, small, takes advantage of hardware acceleration, and is perfect for a lightweight netbook OS. Combine that with Google’s masterful minimalist design sense, and you’ll finally have an approachable, good looking front end for Linux.

  7. SamSam says:

    I liked reading the name in all-caps in the title, because it suggested a new way to pronounce this: “Chromeos,” instead of super-blah “Chrome O S.”

    I propose everyone starts pronouncing it “chromeos” (chrome-y-os).

  8. theawesomerobot says:

    It’s ChromeOoOoOS

  9. I’m glad to hear that Google stands after the OpenSource community, however, this operating system announcement makes me think of the policy under which it is going to work.

    As @MURRAY mentioned, the privacy might be an issue here. The situation is similar to the Google desktop – should we blindly trust Google or should we not.

    What *if* at some point someone found a security issue? Would they be able to access our personal data under our personal email accounts and our personal computers?

    It sounds like a major security concern to me.

  10. Enochrewt says:

    #25: Wow, I hope you left that guy picking up his teeth in the the concourse at your destination.

    I use Chrome almost exclusively (except at work, weird browsers freak people out), but I have no interest in ChromeOS whatsoever. Oh yeah, maybe I don’t use Chrome, I use Iron . Sorry Google.

    Gah, are we ever going to get a preview button back? It’s like a 50% chance that my link tag will be a mess.

  11. Category says:

    Hmm. Not entirely sure what to think of this. I’m old fashioned – I like my apps and data on my machine, not on some arbitary web server I have no control over. Google seems to be reaching very wide into everything these days, and gaining a lot of power not only online but in the real world.

    Their motto may be “don’t be evil”, but how does the old saying go? Absolute power corrupts absolutely?

    I think I’ll stick with Ubunutu for now.

  12. acb says:

    Their motto may be “don’t be evil”, but how does the old saying go? Absolute power corrupts absolutely?

    Would you prefer a world where Microsoft sets browser standards and everyone has to run Windows or be locked out?

  13. Aaron says:

    #5: “Would you prefer a world where Microsoft sets browser standards and everyone has to run Windows or be locked out?”

    Because that’s OBVIOUSLY the only alternative to Googles Data Kraken getting a wider and wider reach and having more and more power. Riiiiiight…

    Did you actually read the post you where quoting?

  14. zuzu says:

    Cloud Computing: Revenge of the Thin Client

    The network is the computer.” — John Gage, Sun Microsystems circa 1982

    the most exciting thing about this isn’t that Google’s making a “new” OS — it’s that Google is making a new window manager.

    It’d be exciting if the WM were an updated implementation of NeWS.

  15. CraziestGadgetsdotcom says:

    “It should just work.”

    hmmm that sounds familiar.

  16. acb says:

    Because that’s OBVIOUSLY the only alternative to Googles Data Kraken getting a wider and wider reach and having more and more power. Riiiiiight…

    Were it not for the push to Web applications and services based on open standards, Microsoft would have a lot more control over the desktop and the user experience, and consequently over web standards. And Google have been one of the major forces in pushing web-based open standards, having invested a lot in things from Gmail and Maps to Android and Chrome (both of which are free). Granted, the more people use the web, the more ad revenue Google can get, and the harder it is for MS to corral the users into their own proprietary ecosystem.

    As for not trusting Google, that’s fair enough. Though since Chrome is open-source, the point is largely moot. You can always hack it and recompile it, or wait for someone else to do so.
    Even if Google were to be evil, the open-source thing would tie their hands in exactly how evil they could be.

  17. Joel Johnson says:

    An operating system with all the care and polish of Android? Sign me up! (Don’t.)

  18. Agies says:

    Cloud Computing: Revenge of the Thin Client

    I’ll keep my local aplications and storage thank you very much. It was bad enough when Gmail went down in May.

  19. tim says:

    If I could browse the web quick I’d consider putting this as a boot option on my lappy.

  20. musicalwoods says:

    Yeah, they might be making a window manager, but will it have any features necessary for a regular build of Linux? I mean (I’m pretty sure) we are talking about a bare-bones, streamlined linux distro *just* for Google Chrome to sit atop. Something with a very narrow featureset so that it boots phenomenally fast. I’m betting that the Window Manager that they build will just be a heavily stripped down version of a current WM, like Openbox, Fluxbox, or LXDE.

  21. ximo says:

    Wow !!! Other Ubuntu distro but they want that people pay for it :)

  22. dculberson says:

    Gmail went down in May? I know about the February one that lasted for … four hours! If the May outage was similar, then I’ll take my chances with the cloud.

  23. 68flh says:

    I like Samsam’s idea:
    “I propose everyone starts pronouncing it “chromeos” (chrome-y-os).”
    Or you could pronounce it “chrome-ee-ohz”.
    People who use it could be referred to as “Chromeos”.
    Also, have you heard of Iron? Someone removed the Google crapware from Chrome and calls it “Iron”.

  24. Category says:


    Well, Microsoft DID have pretty much complete control over the user experience (do you remember most of the 90’s?), and that is where they failed. Open standards, issued by an independent third party are definitely a good thing, and thats the way it should be. But this Chrome OS doesn’t seem like a great thing – it may be open source and linux-based but it seems to break so much of the linux experience in the process. No standard X11? Itdoes want control over the entire experience – the “desktop” of their browser, probably to be tied into their search, their email service, their IM service, google apps for common office utilities, their cloud storage for my personal data, and Google Gears to power most apps they don’t make themselves. Their data collection and retention policies are enough alone to put me off it – even if I could use my own apps on this OS, they would still be harvesting FAR too much data on everyone that uses their services. And considering they are funded by google ads, I don’t think adblock will be available that easily.

    Their source code may be open, but the data they are storing about me isn’t – and could be used for MANY nefarious puposes if they ever had a security breach.

    Like I said, I’m sticking to Ubunutu and offline storage/apps for now.

  25. usonia says:

    I already hate “the cloud”. I was at the airport and some dude in a cheap suit (that the Gentleman’s Wearhouse probably told him was very sharp & sure to impress) leaned back from his laptop and informed his travel companion: “This is great! I’m SOOOO in the Cloud!”. I spent the next 3 hours plotting how & where I’d punch him in the back of the head.

  26. 68flh says:

    Sounds interesting, but it’s NOT a “new operating system”. They even say it’s “Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.”
    So it’s a new browser, and a new GUI for Linux. Woop-de-doo. NOT a new OS.

  27. strider_mt2k says:

    What the heck. I’ll try it.

    Not on my daily driver mind you, but on a machine I have around for just this kind of tinkering.

    That is to say that they have their work cut out for ‘em if they’re going to try to penetrate into where “regular folks” are going to run it.

    -but in the meantime I suppose if enough enthusiasts create good buzz i could help things a bit.

    I dunno. I’m not an industry guy.

  28. larsrc says:

    Headline fail:

    Not a full-scale OS, just Chrome on top of Linux.
    Not here yet, only open-sourced sometime in the fall, supposedly.
    But you did get it right that it was announced by Google.

  29. tros says:

    Where’s the sense of optimism?!

    -New windowing system: Awesome! It’d take something like Google to push (finally) a windowing system over the antiquated (although not quite inadequate) X11.
    -ChromeOS: Chrome seemed to take the best out of all browsers and even add a few good things, I’d like to see what Google has to take out the best OSes/WMs/TK/whatnot and put into their OS aimed at netbooks.
    -“so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.”: Gee, Mac OS X except with widespread hardware compatibility…

    Linux is a fine OS, it’s all the things that come after the kernel and command-line that make it unfit for a casual desktop user. I’d like to see what Google does with it.

  30. Clay says:

    Ok, I think I get it.

    This isn’t really taking aim at Windows or even Intel Moblin. Its closest competitor is currently, as far as I can tell, the CrunchPad OS. It’s a whole new OS war in a space that’s yet to even hit the market!

    Also: You can’t spell ChromeOS without Chromeo. Just sayin’.

  31. murray says:

    “users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates”

    Ha. If users don’t have to deal with those things, the OS must be dealing with them transparently – a la Automatic Updates. If you run this OS, Google is going to be reaching into your computer and fiddling around whenever it wants. I’m not saying Google is malicious or ever will be, but it still makes me uneasy.

  32. Camren says:

    Every time the media fires off its gravy so violently, it highlights how little some of the supposed “experts” actually know about computers. Case in point: People saying that Google Chrome is an operating system designed to compete head-to-head with Microsoft Windows. One of the extension examples the company points to is the ability to block advertisements. The Chrome extensions document, spotlighted Saturday by Google programmer Aaron Boodman, doesn’t include a timeline, but it does shed light on why the project is a priority for Chromium, the open source project behind Chrome. When Google launched Chrome three months ago, it promised a Chrome extensions framework. Extensions are a popular feature of Chrome’s most likely rival, Mozilla’s Firefox. I do think however that the term “web browser” is antiquated as it suggests passive interaction with the internet. Modern web browsers do so much more than just “browse the web”. Perhaps we need a new credit repair.

  33. Brandon West says:

    The more I read about it, the more it reminds me of Palm’s WebOS but not on a phone. Maybe this will supplant Android at some point?

  34. Rob says:

    Wow, “Camren”, you are a pretty sophisticated little spam bot.

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