Chrome OS is a project carried out by the Google Company that is based on the Linux kernel and uses the Google Chrome web browser as its main user interface, it is a cloud based operating system. Therefore, Chrome OS mainly supports web applications. It was initially focused on netbooks and simple laptops. When Chrome OS is used on desktops it is called Chromeboxes.

Chrome OS was announced on 7 of July of 2009 through the official blog of the company. The operating system was initially oriented for mini-laptops, being available as of June 2011. The first Chrome OS notebook, known as Chromebook, arrived in May 2011. Initial shipments of Samsung and Acer Chromebooks occurred in July 2011. It works on microprocessors with x86 or ARM technology.

Chrome OS has a media player and an integrated file manager. It supports Chrome Apps, which resemble native applications, as well as remote desktop access. Some Android apps have been available to the operating system since 2014.

Chrome OS is based on the open source project Chromium OS, which, unlike Chrome OS, can be compiled from the downloaded source code. Chrome OS is the proprietary commercial version installed on specific hardware manufactured by Google partners such as Samsung, Acer and LG Electronics, among others.


Google Chrome OS can run on x86 and ARM processors. The source code for the project was made public on November 19, 2009, and the first Chromebooks running Google Chrome OS were expected on June 15, 2011. Google Chrome OS is not related to the Android operating system developed for smartphones. There is a possibility that Android and Chrome OS will partly be merged in the future.

Supported applications

Initially, Chrome OS was almost a web operating system that relied primarily on servers to host web applications and related data storage. Google gradually began to encourage developers to create "packaged applications", and later, Chrome applications. The latter uses HTML5, CSS, Adobe Shockwave and JavaScript to provide a user experience closer to a native application.

Meanwhile, in September 2014, Google launched App Runtime for Chrome (beta), which allows certain Android applications to run on Chrome OS. At the beginning the update was launched with the possibility of downloading four applications for Android: Duolingo, Evernote, Sight Words and Vine. Many more applications can now be installed from Google Play.

Open Source

Chrome OS is partially developed under the open source project: Chromium OS. As with other open source projects, developers can modify the Chromium OS code and create their own versions, while the Chrome OS code is only compatible with Google and its partners and only works with hardware designed for this purpose. Unlike Chromium OS, Chrome OS automatically updates to the latest version.


On July 7, 2009, Google announces one of its biggest projects, its own operating system, which is named "Google Chrome OS" (or simply abbreviated Chrome OS), just 9 months after launching its Google Chrome browser. Google explains that Chrome OS is a different operating system than what is commonly known as the desktop operating system, with the Google Chrome browser being its main use tool.

The first features that Google highlights is that its operating system is an open source project at no cost. Like the Google Chrome browser that has the Chromium project as the open project for its development, Google Chrome OS has Chromium OS as an open source project for its development. Google also highlights that its user interface is simple, fast, and secure, because its main use tool is the Google Chrome browser. The operating system is designed in such a way that the user can connect to the Internet in a matter of seconds. It will have support for x86 and ARM processors, and with the support of a large list of hardware and software manufacturers.

Launch of open source

On November 19, 2009, the Chromium OS open project was launched, a project that allows the open collaboration of the development of Google's operating system. The core of the system is Linux, and it has tools from the Linux environment.

Chrome Notebook (Cr-48)

7 December 2010, Google announced a pilot program that involves sending a laptop (notebook) at no cost to those US residents who want to start testing in a previous stage, the Chrome OS operating system. The computer has a 3G connection, thanks to the Verizon mobile phone provider, Wi-Fi connection, a 12.1-inch LCD screen, integrated camera, multi-touch touchpad, and a modified keyboard specially for Chrome OS.


On May 11, 2011, in the Google I/O event two Chromebooks powered by Chrome OS, manufactured by Samsung and Acer, are presented. Both Chromebooks feature SSD units, no optical drive, multi-touch touchpad, 12.1 and 11.6-inch screens, Wi-Fi or 3G connection, and long-lasting batteries for up to 8.5 continuous hours. On June 15, 2011, Chromebooks are released for sale to the public, with prices ranging from $349 to $499 USD.


With Google Chrome OS, Google opts for a new approach to make an operating system work: in Google Chrome OS, the Google Chrome web browser runs in a new window manager on top of the Linux kernel. The underlying idea is based on cloud computing where the web is the future and software developers can focus on the development of web applications. These web applications can then run on both Google Chrome OS and on existing operating systems via web browsers. The user interface Google Chrome OS is kept as small as possible. Because it is such a small system, a computer with Google Chrome OS can start up within 8 seconds.

Google has announced that it has developed a relatively safe operating system where users do not have to worry about viruses, malware and updates. It is also safe because each tab runs in a separate sandbox.

Google Chrome OS will run almost exclusively on netbooks with a solid state drive (SSD). There are no traditional applications for the desktop, it is only possible to run web applications via the built-in web browser Google Chrome. The user's data is stored encrypted on the SSD and this is constantly synchronized with the online services being used.

User Interface

Chrome OS is designed in a minimalist way, because its main tool is the Google Chrome web browser. In this way, the company plans to move much of the user interface from a desktop environment to the Internet. In fact, Google refers to its Chrome OS project as a natural extension of the Chrome browser. In other statements for a developer audience, Google emphasizes that the web is the platform, noting that web-based applications will work in Chrome and vice versa.

The main features of the user interface are:

  • Panels: Panels are small lower windows that are used for different tasks, such as downloading files, file browsers, instant messaging in Hangouts, taking notes, or event notifiers such as Google Calendar, Gmail, and system updates. The panels also allow to be minimized to hide, and can also be used while navigating in different places by remaining static.
  • Indicators: The indicators are in the upper right, and indicate processes such as time, battery, Wi-Fi connection and selector, and 3G connection.
  • Tabs: Tabs are the most used in the system, are used to open applications and sites, and allow you to open system options. The tabs can also be "fixed" and reduced in size to be anchored in the upper left.
  • Launchers: Launchers appear on the home page, and are large icons that are used to open web applications, also view the most visited sites, and view bookmarks in a top bar.
  • OK Google: In new versions of this system the search function was incorporated by detecting the phrase "Ok Google", either within a new tab or within the application launcher.
  • Smartlock: This function is developed to unlock the system based on the bluetooth pairing of an Android device, which must have a security pin as an extra measure of validation.


One of the points that Google highlights most is the speed of the system, with a boot time of 8 seconds and a fairly short shutdown time, in addition to how quickly it opens its web applications.


All documents, applications, extensions, and configurations are backed up online under the concept of cloud computing. So if the user loses his machine, he can obtain another one or access it from another machine, and obtain exactly the same data that he previously maintained.

Always connected

Chrome OS can only be obtained through the direct purchase of a Chromebook, with 3G or Wi-Fi connection to always be online. Google's promise is that Chrome OS is always connected, no matter where. In addition, in the development versions of Chromium OS, 4G connections (LTE) with other devices are already being tested.

Web Applications

Chrome OS does not use the typical application system, the applications are used within the Google Chrome web browser, and can be used online or installed to be used without the need for an Internet connection. The main means of obtaining these web applications is the Chrome Web Store online store, which allows you to purchase applications, extensions and themes for the Google Chrome browser in one place. The store also allows you to buy applications, and for developers to publish their applications based on current web language.


It will also have an updated security architecture. Google emphasizes the fact that its Chromebooks will not suffer from viruses or malicious programs. Because many current operating systems were designed in times when the internet was not predominant, Chrome is designed with this in mind, thus eliminating entrenched common security risks.

The most important regarding security Chrome OS points are:

  • Automatic updates: Installed web applications, extensions, themes, the browser, and the operating system will keep up to date with automatic updates.
  • Process isolation: Isolate processes that may compromise system security, such as Flash Player, extensions or installed applications.
  • Boot verification: Monitors if the system has been manipulated by external entities before the system leaves, and returns to a backup version if this has happened.
  • Data encryption: All the data downloaded to the disk is encrypted in real time from end to end, in addition the data that is synchronized passed by Google servers is encrypted, by default, using the user's credentials, and giving the possibility of Change the password for which the user chooses.
  • Visiting mode: Similar to the "guest account" present in Windows, GNU / Linux, and Mac OS X operating systems. In this mode the user can switch the machine to acquaintances to use a visiting account without their data being seen engaged.


The first multi-touch gestures were seen on the Chrome Notebook (Cr-48), but with basic operations, such as two-finger page scrolling... But Google will provide full multi-touch support of up to four fingers in stable versions.

Media player

All downloaded multimedia content, such as music or videos, can be played using the Chrome OS integrated media player.


To solve the hardware driver compatibility issue of the different printers available on the market, Google launches Google Cloud Print (still in Beta). Which allows you to print documents from any device and application, it is only necessary to connect the printer to Google Cloud Print and also connect using Chrome OS to send the print order.


The project was announced on July 8, 2009 on the official Google blog. The source code of Google Chrome OS was released on November 19, 2009. The Google Chrome OS code was released as an open source under the name Chromium OS.

Google works with Adobe, Acer, ASUS, Freescale, Intel, Qualcomm, Rockchip, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, Lenovo and HP, among others.

Google Chrome OS versus Chromium OS

Although Google Chrome OS is largely based on the same source code as Chromium OS, there are a number of differences including:

  • Chromium OS is open source software, Google Chrome OS is proprietary software from Google Inc.
  • Chromium OS can be installed on a standard PC, Google Chrome OS only runs on specially optimized hardware.
  • Chromium OS only supports manual updates, Google Chrome OS only supports automatic updates.

Hardware manufacturers and partners

Google is working with numerous companies to design and build devices that support Chrome OS. Among the list of companies include Intel, Acer, Samsung, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Canonical, Dell and Toshiba.

Relationship with Android

Chrome OS is an independent project of the Android operating system, which was designed primarily for use on smartphones. The new Chrome OS focuses on users who spend most of their time on the Internet.

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Google Chrome OS
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