Chrome/OS Overview Updated December 14, 2017

Chrome/OS

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961 'Chrome/OS' stories

May 2011 - December 2017


Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Google Chrome is the most widely used desktop browser in the world. Since its launch in 2008, Chrome has expanded to Android, iOS, and is the basis of a cloud-based operating system.

Recommended Chromebooks:

History

Chrome was developed out of frustration at the state of browsers that limited Google’s increasingly complex web apps. In creating its own browser, Google could push the state of the web and build the best experience for its products.

Launched in September for Microsoft Windows, Chrome quickly gained 1% of the total desktop market share by the end of the year. A developer preview in 2009 brought Chrome to Mac OS X and Linux, but a stable version was not available until May 2010. In November 2011, Chrome overtook Firefox in worldwide usage and in September 2012 became the most widely used web browser beating Internet Explorer.

In July 2009, Google announced a project to build an operating system that stored applications and user data in the cloud. The thin client OS was publicly demoed in November, but it was not until 2011 that the first Chromebooks shipped from OEM partners.

A beta version of Google Chrome for Android launched in February 2012, with a stable version ready by June. Google also released an iOS version, but it is limited technically due to security restrictions enforced by Apple.

Features |

Chrome shares many of the same features and underlying technology across all platforms. The browser and OS maintain version number parity across all platforms. Every six weeks a major version is released to the Stable Channel and a new developer version is introduced in the Canary Channel. A Beta Channel acts as an intermediary way to access new features without too many bugs.

Security

The automatic Chrome update system downloads updates in the background and insures that users are always on the latest version of Chrome. There are many minor patches between between major updates that delivers security fixes and keeps users secure. Chrome maintains a Safe Browsing blacklist of malicious sites that pop up a bright red warning so users can turn back.

Tabs are sandboxed to make sure processes cannot interacting with critical memory functions and other processes. Besides for security, a multi-process architecture gives each site and plug-in a separate process. As such, a crash will only take down that tab and not the entire application.

Since the first version, Chrome has had a private browsing feature. Incognito mode prevents the browser from storing cookies or history and can be opened alongside regular tabs.

Interface

The main Chrome interface has remained mostly the same over the years. In fact, the ‘Chrome’ name refers to the lack of UI elements and a focus on the browsing experience. An Omnibox acts as both the URL bar and search box. At the time, many browsers had two separate fields right next to each other. The Omnibox has prediction capabilities to help users find what they are looking for and is also present on the mobile apps.

Android apps

Later this year, Android apps and the Play Store will arrive on Chrome OS. Google previously experimented using ARC Welder to virtualize the Android run time and allowed apps to run on all platforms, including Mac, Windows, and Linux. The latest approach is limited to Chrome OS, but provides a much more native and fast experience. Apps open up as windows and can become phone or tablet-sized. Touchscreen Chromebooks will provide the best experience.

Chrome/OS Stories December 14

With version 63 rolling out on Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android, Chrome 64 is now in the beta channel. End users will particularly benefit from a stronger pop-up blocker, sitewide audio muting, and an assortment of other features, including those on Chrome OS.

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Chrome/OS Stories December 11

Chrome 63 began rolling out to Android and desktop browsers last week with the usual security fixes and new developer features. On the latter platform, this update introduces Material Design to the Bookmark Manager.

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Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

Chrome/OS Stories December 7

As Chrome apps reach their end of life, one of Google’s most useful tools is seemingly in jeopardy. Chrome Remote Desktop has been a handy tool over the past few years and now, it’s being brought to the web for easier access.

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Chrome/OS Stories December 6

Rolling out today, version 63 of Google Chrome includes a number security enhancements for enterprise users. Site Isolation allows pages to be rendered in a separate process, while TLS 1.3 is now enabled on Gmail. Google also announced other upcoming security features for the year ahead.

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Chrome 63 is rolling out to Mac, Windows, and Linux today with an assortment of developer-focused features and security fixes. The biggest additions in this desktop release are a redesigned chrome://flags page and a tweaked permissions dropdown.

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A while back Google announced that it would kill off apps for its Chrome browser. In the time since, we’ve seen some apps convert to extensions, but no steps were taken to get rid of apps entirely. That is, until today, as Google has just plunged a dagger into what was Chrome apps.

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