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September 1, 2009

You're Already Running Google Chrome OS

If you use Google Chrome and Google's web applications, then you're already running Google Chrome OS. Just maximize Google Chrome's window and imagine that each tab is an instance of an application. Gmail is your mail client, Google Calendar is the calendaring application, Google Docs is the office suite and the file explorer. Google Chrome's new tab page is the desktop, the dashboard that lists frequently used applications and lets you add widgets.

Chrome loads fast, is spiffy and always up-to-date, so you don't have to deal with managing updates or synchronizing data. Some of your applications store data locally and you can use them even when you don't have an Internet connection. You're running 3D applications, portable software, music players, photo editors, development environments inside your browser. Google Chrome OS is a challenge: are browsers and web applications mature enough to replace traditional software?

By the time the operating system is released, Chrome will integrate plug-ins like Native Client and o3d, while Google Docs will already become the place that gathers all the files stored in Google's services. Chrome OS won't bring anything that's not yet possible on your current operating system, it will force you to change your mindset and make the operating system irrelevant.

Google Chrome OS won't be a traditional operating system, it will just be a wrapper for the cloud.


Now let's re-read Google's announcement from July:

"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. (...) 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. (...) People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files."

The clues about Chrome OS aren't very exciting probably because the operating system wants to negate its own existence and become invisible.

69 comments:

  1. The only thing missing is a place to save files. GDrive, where are you??

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  2. how will i be supposed to sync my ipod, for example?
    :/

    can't wait to see more news of google chrome os and google wave :3

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  3. Go to sites, make a File Cabinet....

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  4. And yet today's outage should give us second thoughts about how dependenet we are on the cloud.

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  5. I use Chrome, mostly because it's fast, bogs down occasionally, but mostly because of flash, you may want to work on that, garbage collection and memory efficiency need some work IMO, but the OS should be good.

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  6. @ Don: The outage was only the frontend of Gmail. you could still access your mail via Iphone, igoogle, ipod touch, desktop client...

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  7. Google Drive will be here in October.

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  8. chrome takes to much cpu making it slower :( thats the bad thing.
    But i really like the C interface.
    on the otherhand firefox 3.5 2 is the fastes i seen since its release.
    opera v 10 sucks i dont even know wtf they fix will i do but it still suck i try it
    safari good
    ie v 8.0 good but not that fast to many security flaws.

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  9. IE8 has fewer security flaws than all other browsers combined. It just sucks in other ways.

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  10. Heh, meant to say that IE8's combined flaws are fewer than any other browser's...

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  11. GDrive is needed for these plans !
    And Yes, clouds are dangerous when you base all your activities on it !
    StareClips.com > what is your source to say "gdrive in october".

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  12. @Errioxa

    Then how am I posting this?

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  13. Google Docs doesn't let you edit documents in offline mode. Google Calendar is read-only too in this state. You can compose mail offline with Gmail, though.

    I think that offline mode needs much more improvements if Google Chrome OS relies on it.

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  14. All this talk about the cloud's instability or "danger" is puzzling. If you work totally local and keep all your data at hand, will it never go down? Will it always work? Will you never loose anything? Of course, no on all counts. At least with data in the cloud, it might be inaccessible for a short time but will probably NEVER be lost. And there are so many advantages that local data doesn't have such as universal access.

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  15. A little mistake: "devlopment environments" >> "development environments". ;-)

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  16. With offline access (thank you gears and HTML 5) available to any developer, cloud apps just make sense, given task won't require too much bandwidth, as mobile device net connections are yet to catch up on speed, and data charges in some countries are a little steep (say Australia).

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  17. I always thought iGoogle was the desktop ;-)
    Data in the cloud with a local sync-able emergency copy (& preferably a separate cloud backup) would be a great way to go :-)

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  18. I foresee running full GCOS environment from within existing windows, linux or macos installation. Just to use non-ported software in parallel.

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  19. Google is so clever! They make you think Chrome OS is the newest and latest while in essence they are just proposing users should start using Thin-Clients *). The only difference being that the server is 'in the cloud'.

    Only I thought that Thin-Clients were so passé...

    *) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin_client

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  20. nice of google making life such a easier task,without making all platform dependents...

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  21. I think they should make things like picsa. where its a program that holds it all. and its your choice if you want to go to the internet or all. But make it very simple. like a share button on top of the screen. or just it checks if your online and if you are it checks if you want to back it up online. They should do this will all of the features of google on top of the screen. even reader. just so you can like.... read blogs when you are offline. and maybe they could even add a bettter map feature to google earth. so that it would be like google maps in map mode.

    just my thoughtws on the problems and how they could fix it.

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  22. I hope that Google is thinking to have Grid computing technology included in their OS in order to share users CPU across the Cloud.
    This can be really innovative ... plus all the rest that we already know.

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  23. Chrome Os is a Linux system that runs chrome browser and online services. It will have shortcuts to services like as in android.

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  24. http://creativeprocrastinators.blogspot.com/2009/07/on-google-chrome-os.html
    ^Already been said.

    Lol, it's annoying to see the press all jumpy for the Chrome OS hype when a lot of it's features have been revealed in Gears, Native Client and O3D documents.

    Like if you check here: http://code.google.com/p/gears/w/list

    You'd know that Chrome OS will support a lot of features through Gears such as cameras, microphones, photo editing, file system access, and even binary data.

    And I bet in a month or two, they're going to hype these features like they're something new.

    and I don't know why everyone's assuming this OS will be entirely cloud based, even in the distant future that isn't ideal. It's why Gears was invented.

    And even on this blog you revealed that GDrive will be a syncing tool (http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2007/01/closer-to-gdrive-and-google-lighthouse.html) similar to Microsofts Live Mesh.

    Google said everything from the start.

    And everyone has to stop assuming that because of this the desktop is dead, it isn't dead it's just Google is pushing to have the web as the defacto platform for applications.

    Remember they said this regarding mobile app stores (http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/07/google-app-store/), now take in mind that Gears is also on Android.

    I'm done typing.

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  25. The news you give us, ""You're Already Running Google Chrome OS"".... Oh, great!! I'll start by removing Windows from my hard drive!! There would't be any problem with that, would there??? I mean, after all.... you're calling Google Chrome an operating system??... Aaaaaaaa...Question: How am I to load the "Google Chrome Operating System" onto my newly wiped hard drive???? How is it best to have the hard drive partitioned in anticipation of this new operating system?? Or will the installation automatically repartition the hard drive?? Is it possible that you're trying to make the term "operating system" mean something totally different from what it has been????? Just because you can type on a document(and a few other things) within Google, doesn't mean you have an operating system...

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  26. I wonder if the only drawback I have running Linux will happen with GCOS too: I can't work my iPhone with it. I know, I could get a Google phone and all that, but I like the iPhone and I wish it would work with other things.

    I'm curious about GCOS, but not holding my breath.

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  27. I'll agree with that when i can check MY hard disk in chrome or copy my gears spreadsheet to a pendrive

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  28. I agree with the Anonymous post three up.

    It's confusing to call it an OS. Someone once posted that people didn't know the difference between the Google homepage and Chrome.

    How are those people suppose to know the difference between three strong words like Google, Chrome and OS?

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  29. I agree with the blog post. My google chrome is set to automatically open Gmail, Voice, Calendar, Docs, News, Reader when I open google chrome. It sits open on my computer all day and i constantly go between all the tabs. I love it. I love being able to run my business from whichever computer or mobile device I am using.

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  30. Do you all really think that Google OS will be exactly like a web page? I really don't think so. They will be based on web standards sure ... but I will bet anything the display and other things will make use of a special API to draw widgets and do other things. It will behave more like an application and not like a web page. This is similar to how WebOS does it on the Palm Pre ... only on a different scale. And yes, it is mature enough to play music and do other multimedia because there will most likely be API that uses your computer hardware and other OS features to display them. To say it will be exactly like a web page as in .. my maximized window .. is thinking short sighted and frighteningly within the box.

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  31. I think Numetheus's comment is the most observed in the thread.

    I do wish people would stop going to such extremes about what is still an unknown. We can make educated guesses but I don't think we'll even have a really solid idea of what Google Chrome OS is, even during the testing phases when the public gets their hands on it.

    I'm guessing that Google themselves aren't exactly sure how all this will work. They've never done anything this big before, and as years pass, they have only loosely tied their own web services together in a browser. To expect them to bring everything with silky smooth UI and usability, even in the next 2 years is probably asking far too much.

    Instead, what I think will happen is they'll tie the top tier of current services together, experiment with a hybrid browser/desktop front end and gobble up feedback on it over time to tweak it and kneed it into a more complete experience. I can't see the full OS experience happening in 1 year, or 2. Over the years something great could arise from all these seperate elements Google has been working on.

    Ultimately if Google can get something out of the door to start with, that is very simple (ala Android) but graphically slick and fresh (not ala Android), they'll win over the press and the all important companies Google needs to impress to get Chrome OS onto Netbooks, in favour of a crippled Windows 7, XP or another flavour of Linux.

    If Google try and bite off more than they can chew and spit out a half baked experience that does more, but not as well, I can see that severely hampering its growth and development. Right now the OS has a magic feel to it, people are expecting great things and the kiss of death would be another Vista experience where the press run away with themselves hating it.

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  32. @Numetheus:

    Of course you'll be able to play music and videos, but you'll do that inside Chrome, which already supports the HTML5 audio/video tags and comes preloaded with codecs based on FFmpeg. My point was that Chrome OS won't include much more than Google Chrome, which is a browser you can already install in Windows/Mac/Linux. Chrome OS is an extension of the browser and the interface will be very similar to the UI of a maximized Chrome window.

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  33. This is BS.

    I love Chrome. Is slick, fast, I prefer it to IE8 an Firefox for everything possible.

    But its not an OS.

    - As noted above by "Anon" I cannot remove Windows 7 and replace it with Chrome.
    - How do I run Photoshop within Chrome?
    - How do I run Revit and [insert the 6 design software's I also use] within Chrome?
    - How do I run any non-browser-based games in Chrome?
    - How do I convert video files, edit audio files, or even use SketchUp within Chrome?

    Google, I have much respect and I fully support your efforts in revolutionizing almost everything you touch, but please don't use this power to add confusion to the millions of non-tech-minded people who will start wondering why they still need windows if Chrome is an OS.

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  34. @Micah Jonas:

    Take a look at Native Client to see how you can run full-fledged desktop applications inside a browser. (It's worth pointing out once again that this is an unofficial blog that's not affiliated with Google.)

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  35. Wow, Did you people think to read the article.
    Google Chrome OS, is an Operating system, it runs the linux kernel but most of its app will be "on the cloud". Now take that and integrate google gears, and you can have full blown desktop applications.
    Believe it or not, you dont NEED windows to run Linux (for a good laugh, checkout this ignorance: http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-12355-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=31199&messageID=579806&start=43)

    They call it Google Chrome OS because its
    1. made by google
    2. Will be web based (hence chrome)
    3. Is not just a web browser, but a full blown Operating system (hence the OS part).

    Is this too freaking complicated for you to figure out.
    Its not a web browser its an operating system. Can you boot your computer off the Chrome browser?
    Its not the best name in the world but it does convey what it is pretty well. Its not very catchy though.

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  36. 1. The operating system is irrelevant. Google's platform is the Web.

    2. The main component of Chrome OS is the browser, which can already be installed in Windows, Mac, Linux.

    3. Chrome is the operating system. Web pages are the applications and they're cross-platform.

    4. As long as you're using a modern browser and most of the applications that you run live online, you're already using your operating system as if were Google Chrome OS.

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  37. The question many application developers should ask themselves even more so when Google OS is available: "Why should I develop a desktop application instead of a webapp?". I think we are on a decisive moment if you realize even Microsoft is shifting its applications into the cloud (Office 2010).
    Hybrid applications that sync between local and cloud in case web-access is failing will be facilitated by technologies like Google Gears.

    This being said, I'm wondering what Google OS will be besides a small linux intallation with Chrome installed.

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  38. Go to sites, make a File Cabinet....

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  39. Everyone here seems to think "operating system" means "user interface"... also the word "server" now seems to have been replaced by "cloud"... surreal. It is indeed just a linux installation with chrome and, apparently, a custom window manager. Which is exactly what Google said. They've written a window manager. Personally, I'll be sticking with xmonad.

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  40. Hi folks, I would like to invite you to speak or present at Silicon Valley Google Chrome OS Meetup kick off meeting at September 16th at The Enterprise Network. Check out http://meetup.com/Chrome for more details.

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  41. Spyware removal software aka Anti Spyware is a security solution that add another security layer to your computer beside the protection that offerred by your anti virus, firewall or other computer security software.

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  42. Most people should be happy that Google is throwing their hat into the OS ring. For far too long it's been Apple vs Microsoft with Linux being the cool but not as user-friendly little brother. This is exactly what Linux needed, a well-funded, technologically smart company like Google to lead it out of the darkness.

    Security will be an issue with nearly all the apps and documents stored in the cloud and exactly how well it will work when you don't have acess to the net is a question still to be answered, but why not welcome a third OS into the mix just to keep Apple and MS honest?

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  43. Chrome OS beta is available!
    http://sites.google.com/site/chromeoslinux/

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  44. @Micah Jonas: What do you mean you cannot remove Windows 7 and replace it with Chrome OS? You do know that there is computing outside of the beginner OS that is Windows right? And that other Operating Systems like Linux can be installed on your PC instead of or side by side with the atrocity that is the Microsoft Windows OS?

    They have already stated that Google OS will be Linux based. So just knowing that part, how is it crap? ANYONE can create an OS based on the Linux kernel and GNU software that yes, can be installed on your PC in place of Windows 7. Why is Google any different? Your post can only be written by someone that falsely believes that your computer IS Windows.

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  45. @Micah Jonas

    "- As noted above by "Anon" I cannot remove Windows 7 and replace it with Chrome."

    Yes you can. It will be Linux based. A partition is created on your hard drive to store the files including kernel, and a boot loader to load the kernel is installed in the mba.

    "- How do I run Photoshop within Chrome?"

    It is Linux based. You can run Photoshop within Wine, or through a virtual machine running Windows. Although most Linux users use Gimp.

    "- How do I run Revit and [insert the 6 design software's I also use] within Chrome?"

    It is Linux based. You can run them through Wine, or through a virtual machine running Windows.

    "- How do I run any non-browser-based games in Chrome?"

    There are many wonderful games running in Linux that use OpenGL and hardware acceleration assisted by xorg (or xfree86) and provided by your video hardware.

    "- How do I convert video files, edit audio files, or even use SketchUp within Chrome?"

    You can convert video files using transcode (or any of a number of frontends for transcode) in any Linux based system, which Chrome is based on. Audio editing can be done using Audacity.

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  46. @Chrome OS: I just ran that image and was faced with an OS that was built with SUSE Studio. This is not a beta of Google Chrome OS, just a quick live snapshot to demonstrate the actual Google Chrome browser for Linux (not Chromium) on a Live CD.

    If they are using SUSE Studio to build an OS, this is an extreme copout, but I don't think that is the case. This is just a live snapshot to demonstrate the browser.

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  47. Hi All

    It is true Google Chrome OS really work in pc.Excellent Software.

    No More Comment.

    Thanks Google.

    IIPL Expert

    http://www.infysolutions.com/resources/resources.html

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  48. There are a lot of existing virtual desktops or webtops with similar behaviour http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_desktop that looks better then this screenshots. For example check this one http://www.windows4all.com

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  49. I don't know why people keep thinking that is a screenshot of the google os. That OS was made with SUSE Studio which let's you instantly create an OS that runs an app using a point and click web interface. Anyone can do it. The reason that image exists is to demo the new Google Chrome BROWSER for Linux without having you install it on your linux desktop.

    So the screenshot you see is of a desktop created by suse fusion with the google wallpaper. When you run it there is suse studio branding all over it.

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  50. From reading the comments above, it appears Google has caused themselves some heartache by naming both their web browser and then their subsequent Linux distro the same thing.

    Google is already distributing a web browser called "Chrome". Like other browser applications, it runs on many operating systems. Google is also developing a Linux distribution. This Linux kernel and packages will be optimized to run just one application, the Google browser. In fact, the Google browser will be the "desktop" for the distro.

    It's that simple, no new technology, no guessing what it will look like, and no ground breaking paradigms. If you want the same experience today, install the google chrome browser on the os of your choice and uninstall all other apps. Of course this is an over simplification, but you get the point.

    If you are wondering about hardware support, install any current Linux distro (Ubuntu 9.04) and see if it works with your hardware.

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  51. sucks, we want a pure OS, COME ON Google, where are your gears !!

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  52. Basically, the entire interface of the ChromeOS is a custom Chrome UI in full-screen. Here's the proof:

    "Hides the control buttons for browser when maximized on chrome
    os. maximized is the default state on chrome os, so this effectively
    gives us no window controls just as we have now."

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  53. Tamura Jones pointed this out as soon as Google announced Chrome OS: Chrome OS.

    Stealing ideas from a leading technology pundit without acknowledging your source is a bit dumb....

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  54. @Anonymous:

    So is assuming that I stole ideas from someone else. I've never heard about the leading technology pundit you're linking to and never read his (or her) articles. Just because someone else had the same ideas before you, it doesn't mean you stole them. Use your brain.

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  55. chrome is doing great especially the new extension platform.

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  56. No no no... this is a major flaw.

    Chrome OS is not a place for M$ fanboys (or users). This article is bound to be written by someone living inside Windows which breaks every week and reboots every hour and YET they use it... how foolish!


    This article is correct if you're running a linux OS.

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  57. So obviously not for travelers. Go to a place where you don't have a net connection (wilderness, other countries...), and your machine is useless.

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  58. @Vidyut: How is it unusable for travelers? Google Gears lets me use Gmail offline. Well, I can't get new mail obviously, but can read the stuff that is cached. Things like Apps will most likely be cached to a HD so they are accessible without a network connection. WebOS apps are cloud based but still work without a network connection because they are cached.

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  59. From reading the comments above, it appears Google has caused themselves some heartache by naming both their web browser and then their subsequent Linux distro the same thing.

    Google is already distributing a web browser called "Chrome". Like other browser applications, it runs on many operating systems. Google is also developing a Linux distribution. This Linux kernel and packages will be optimized to run just one application, the Google browser. In fact, the Google browser will be the "desktop" for the distro.

    It's that simple, no new technology, no guessing what it will look like, and no ground breaking paradigms. If you want the same experience today, install the google chrome browser on the os of your choice and uninstall all other apps. Of course this is an over simplification, but you get the point.

    If you are wondering about hardware support, install any current Linux distro (Ubuntu 9.04) and see if it works with your hardware.

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  60. I am eagerly waiting for the official launch of Google Chrome OS. It might be launched in November this year. People will find it hard to use at first instance because of the Windows addictions but I think the love for Google & brilliant work of Google will make it for them. Also it available for free & it is an open source project so it will rock at least I am sue about this.

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  61. Will it have a go button?

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  62. I cannot wait for Google to Give MS and Apple a run for their money. The OS market needs a good shaking up.

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  63. I agree with @Tulum Mexico - Microsoft and Apple need a third in their party to keep everyone a little more honest, and have some real competition.

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  64. In that case I'd just like to complaint about my office suite... the new version sucks. Please fix it... I'm not sure how many points I lost on my final grade because of it... it resizes wrong... doesn't present right... the user interface could be less clunky... please improve it.

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  65. The obvious thing is a hardware/OS bundle so Google can test the waters in the netbook market. It'll run the Google OS Linux kernel plus the browser (and Gears or equivalent?). Get your 'ChromeBook' from June 2011 in the US and Europe...

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  66. Google Chrome is indeed faster...on one of my computers. Firefox is faster on the other one. However, I'll stand behind anyone who wants to give Gates and Jobs a run for their money :)

    One thing i would change about Google though: Stop trying to integrate everything--profiles, passwords, and such. There are valid reasons people have multiple accounts. For example, I do not want my "personal" profile on facebook/last.fm/etc. linked with my business one...for OBVIOUS reasons :P

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  67. awesome google... now everyday, i become more like a googler...

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