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November 23, 2009

Google Chrome OS Use Cases

Google didn't do a good job at explaining the intended use of Chrome OS and many people wondered if Google's operating system is an alternative to Windows. The goal is to build "an operating system that provides a fast, simple, and more secure computing experience for people who spend most of their time on the web". Here are the initial use cases for Chrome OS:
* Computing on the couch
* Use as a lightweight, secondary work computer
* Borrowing a device for use in coffee shops and libraries
* Sharing a second computer among family members

For now, Chrome OS is not designed to be your main operating system. It's just a fast way to get online, a simplified operating system that removes unnecessary software and opens the browser in a few seconds. If Google Chrome loads almost instantly, why not build an operating system that boots fast and doesn't slow down the browser?

Even though developers can view its source code and compile it, Chrome OS won't be available for download because it requires a special hardware configuration and it's not designed for multi-boot. Chrome OS is just the platform for Chrome OS netbooks.

"We are taking out every unnecessary process, optimizing many operations and running everything possible in parallel. This means you can go from turning on the computer to surfing the web in a few seconds. Our obsession with speed goes all the way down to the metal. We are specifying reference hardware components to create the fastest experience for Google Chrome OS," explains Google.


  1. I guess some people just need things explained to them. This is what I thought the whole idea was from the beginning.

  2. I still don't think this OS gonna work .
    You should add multi boot . people want to do a lots of things with their netbooks :)

  3. This is what happens when you're as big as Google: simple brainstorming actually goes into production. Is it not possible to have it in such a way that you can choose what program you mainly use? So that it will do this instant-booting with any kind of use.

  4. Just quit calling it an operating system...unless you're bound and determined to undermine the original definition of the term, "operating system".. What you have is good.. I won't question that... BUT, IT AIN'T AN OPERATING SYSTEM... So, don't make fun of people who misinterpret your silly attempts at promoting your stuff.... YOU are the ones who need laughed at... Call some Linux people... or Microsoft people.. and ask them what the definition of "operating system" is.....

  5. Heh, I found this blog over two years ago when trying to find any news bits about a "Google OS." I never thought they'd actually do it though!

    This blog's name is a little funny now that the real deal is coming out. :P

  6. "For now, Chrome OS is not designed to be your main operating system."

    =( Still got to stick with Windows.

  7. Wow... will try it now!!!

  8. Carl, This contains an operating system, much like Windows contains MS-DOS. It is a single-application use of the Linux OS but it handles all the requirements of an operating system.

    Another use case would be dual-booting on your other computer so that if you just wish to surf the web you can do so quickly. A few side benefits will be Google has to perfect the Linux version of Chrome and must come up with a way to handle music (copyrighted material) in the cloud. This should be interesting.

  9. It's not an operating system ... it's an application.

  10. Having worked with many different Operating System in the last 46 years, including writing two from scratch, I am curious to hear Carl and JTW's definition of an Operating System. ???

  11. no multi-boot support is a mistake

  12. You ask my definition of an operating system??? Here it is...: Something you can use in competition with Microsoft Windows..You know?? Compete with Windows 95..98...ME..2000..XP..Vista or Windows 7... (I know.. I left some out) Or even, kind of like, you know.. Ubuntu, Fedora or something.. All of these are OPERATING SYSTEMS.. A Google "operating system", as such, isn't much different than one more tab on a browser... By the way.. How many of these fore-mentioned operating systems did you write from scratch, steeleweed?? Would you send me a CD or DVD with one of your operating systems.. I've got a couple of computers I could try it on.. I'd even be willing to pay you something for it...

  13. I disagree with this post and most journalists about Chrome in that I think it can and will be the sufficient ONLY computer for many people. A helped a friend buy a netbook recently. She wanted to surf, write college papers, and upload photos from her camera to Facebook. Chrome OS will likely do all those things better (faster, safer, simpler, cheaper) than XP. Instead, she got a virus after one week.

    The people delegating Chromebooks as secondary computers are tech geek because we're the only people who read about computers that don't come out for another year. But we only make up 1%-5% of computer users. I think Chromebooks are sufficient for many, many consumers. 10% (the size of OS X's popularity) or bigger and that will grow over time as the web becomes more powerful (HTML5 offline webapps, coming out of beta, etc). If Apple can get iPods to sync online, that's another 10% easy. Maybe more when you factor people in third world countries. To have a fair conversation, we need to stop thinking what we (geeks) want and what the average person (my mom) wants. Not every mom will want Chrome OS, but >1% certainly will and with a billion computers in the world, every 1%=10 million.

    @Carl, just because you don't like Chrome OS, doesn't mean it isn't an OS. Lots of OSes "can't compete" (eg, Plan 9, Atari's) but are OSes. An OS is that which interfaces between hardware and software running on top of the OS. Chrome does that.

  14. @Andrew I had the same experience. Of course, Google now has 3 operating systems (or more?): Chrome, Android, the the secret BSD variant they run on their servers. Not to mention Alex's metaphorical OS the blog is named for.

  15. Chrome OS is just based on Linux and it is not really a “real” proprietary operating system from Google. Google chrome is making the OS something easy to change by not attaching anything special beyond standards. I wonder if Google would also compete with MS Windows in the future.

  16. Isn't Google Chrome simply a browser?

  17. Use case: netbooks. Back before it was more common to own a netbook than a dog, most netbooks sported some lightweight Linux-based OS. Once the specs became capable of handling Windows XP (512 MB ram, 1 GHz) they transitioned over to the Microsoft world. I'm thinking that Google missed its big opportunity to cut into the netbook realm several years ago.

    Beyond netbooks and maybe some embedded computers in cars, your fridge, and TVs, Google OS doesn't have much chance--we're not reading to distance our storage systems on the internet without a local copy.

  18. i think most of people are waiting for this operating system,and there ar many expectations from google
    hope it goona statisfy all users and also support virtual platfrom


    for updates virus scan etc..

  19. Carl:

    "Compete with Windows?" That's not a definition - that's an advertising blurb.

    You seem to think that Operating Systems began with the PC. Mine were written for IBM mainframes in the 1960s, so I'm afraid a CD/DVD of them wouldn't do you much good. It's actually rather amusing that you define an OS by names - Windows, Linux, Ubuntu, etc. rather than by describing what they actually do and are. Google Chrome may well turn out to be a special-purpose OS, but it is an OS. I look forward to seeing if Google will add on other applications or allow others to do so.

    "If you can pick it up or step over it, it's not a computer."" - LOL

  20. An Operating System is something half way between a computer and a person.
    Is what allows the person to "talk" with the machine.

  21. No, Anonymous, an OS is not some sort of cyborg. It's just a program and it's basic function depends on the use of the computer. It usually has an interface to humans, but not always.

    In the early automotive age, drivers understood their machines and 99% of any problems could be fixed with hammer and pliers. Then cars got more sophisticated and the average driver no longer understands the details of his car - he only knows how to use it.

    Computers are now much like that. 99% know how to use them but haven't a clue what goes on under the covers. Even a lot of hackers only 'talk' to functions and don't really program 'down to the metal'.

    BTW: If all the applications a user needs are Cloud based, Chrome may be the only OS they need. Personally, I do a lot more with a computer than just browse and am not satisfied to have all my data online.

    they are building a simple OS that accesses there internet applications and for cloud computing THIS IS THE FIRST STEP TO INTERNET BASED OSs think about all the apps google has that come bundled with your gmail account documents a replacement for word that is web based along with sites maps picasa youtube gmail blogger notebook dashboard and all there supported 3rd party apps wave is in beta i bet when that becomes public it will be released rite along with "Chromium OS" thats rite! it started out as google chrome the web browser
    the new os is essentially a web browser with with more then enough resources on a 512mb ram atom 4gig ssd netbook I CANT WAIT!!!
    PS:im SOOOOOOOOOO high rite now :)

  23. I just spent several hours running Chromium OS by booting from a usb stick. get it here:

    The wifi didnt get detected on my Dell Inspiron 6400, but the video, audio, nic, touchpad were all fine. Not bad for something that isnt intended to work on "normal" computers.

    Normal web browsing was very responsive. Watching Youtube videos or Hulu videos was a bit choppy.

    I anxiously await the first device to officially ship with this OS. If the price is right, I think this could be the right computer for many situations and many users.

  24. Microsoft is already in the market and dominating from last 15 years and therefore it will be bit difficult for Google to make popular their OS into the market.

  25. Google's OS will be free, while Microsoft's isn't. That chops off $50 from a netbook, and that alone is all the motivation the vast majority of the netbook consumer market needs.

    Most computer users spend all of their time on the internet anyway. I watch all of my videos on Hulu and YouTube, my photos are on Picasa and Facebook, I listen to my music through Pandora and, and I use Google's Apps to do any work I need done. I don't even know why I forced to own a hard drive anymore.

  26. Everyone is talking about Google OS while Microsoft is already into the business. Let Google come down into the market and then see what will happen. I hope initially Google will surely launch free version of OS to capture the market.

  27. MS could also offer a stripped down OS with only online apps and cloud storage. However, i believe this would fragment their market even more. (how many different version of Windows 7 can we deal with?)
    In the end, they will be building on their core OS whereas Google has built on Debian. I believe it is much more possible to harden a Linux OS than a Windows OS and still maintain usability.

  28. @robin850

    "wifi didnt get detected"

    Very nice for a OS that is supposed to work only with online stuff...

    PS: This is gonna be a huge fail....

  29. MS will never do a good operating system, because they are not interested in a good OS - they are getting money from your inconvenience. Google can do a good OS, because they are getting money from other sources, and they are intrested in a robust OS.

  30. i have a viao and it has the option to boot to splashtop which is just a browser it takes about ten second to come on... when i just want to go online i think it is perfect and chrome would be a better alternativr

  31. As soon as some of you start erasing the Microsoft O.S., or erase your Mac's O.S. from your hard drive, then I'll start thinking that you can call what you have "an operating system"... and I'll try to quit acting like the old f@rt that I am. Don't go the way of the Linux dudes and get all wrapped up in doing things in such a way that only you and your colleagues have any use for what you're doing, with no thought of trying to gain public acceptance.. Just because some of you get your jollies by reinventing the wheel and messing with antique methods of operating a computer, doesn't mean that the rest of us are going to say, "Oh, Wow!! Let me try!!" Another thing... any way you want to look at it, a Microsoft or Mac or possibly even a Linux operating system is about the cheapest way you can run a computer.... if you count your time worth anything.... Maybe that's where I'm missing the boat.... Maybe y'all are doing this "just for the fun of it".. I can relate to that.. So, if you are, please disregard my objections and comments... and let's see if we can get this sucker to boot....

  32. I think if the chrome OS can handle processes then I will consider it an OS. It is process not application that the OS controls and do some scheduling for CPU execution. OS also deals with interrupts. These are signals sent from the hardware or software to the CPU.

    So the best thing to know whether it is an OS or just an application is to check the source code :)

    IMHO, I do not like how Carl defines OS because he was just listing the brands.

    But for me again, lets take a look at the source code and see what it really is.

  33. If Google made this as an application that ran on Windows XP, I'd probably dump firefox and not bother upgrading to Win 7.

    If an extremely good Wine alternative showed up two or so years later, like a licenced version of Cedega with a LOT more polish, I might be convinced to take my GMail/Wave/Calendar enhanced Chrome browser with me when I switched.

  34. Understand what old folks called a state of the art operating system in the 60's, like multics, most kids today would call a bootloader. At a very minimum, if it doesn't do memory protection it's not an operating system.

    Regardless, Chrome 'OS' is an application that runs on top of a customised Linux stack. It's not an operating system and Google have said this. And if it's a one application distribution, 99.9% of the non-embedded world will have very little interest unless it can run other applications. Even my shitty $30 Nokia runs third party applications.