Chrome/OS Overview Updated July 12, 2018

Chrome/OS

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1,120 'Chrome/OS' stories

May 2011 - July 2018


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 July 12

The journey to the launch of the first Chrome OS tablet has been long, emerging out the Android-powered tablet’s ashes and amidst Chrome OS becoming an ever-stronger contender to the big OS behemoths — Windows and macOS. But while it’s exciting to see Chrome OS adopt a form factor that Android struggled to gain traction on, in some ways, the platform’s first tablet still has not arrived.

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Chrome OS used to be the laughingstock of the OS wars, but today it holds a strong place in the market. Largely thanks to Android apps, the OS is only becoming more and more useful. One of the hardest parts of Chrome OS, though, is picking the right machine to run it on. So, let’s take a look at the best Chromebooks you can buy today…

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Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

Chrome/OS Stories July 11

Following the disclosure of Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities earlier this year, the entire tech industry has been working to secure devices. In the current stable version of Chrome, Google has widely rolled out a security feature called Site Isolation to protect desktop browsers against Spectre.

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Chrome OS adding support for Android app shortcuts with a right-click

With Chrome OS picking up support for Android apps, Google has slowly been bringing features from Android to the platform. Now, app shortcuts are preparing to arrive.

Chrome/OS Stories July 10

For the past few weeks, we’ve been keeping an eye on a new Chrome feature that lets users customize the look of the new tab page with custom backgrounds. Now, it’s been noted that this feature will integrate with Google Photos.

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Chrome/OS Stories July 4

With Chrome 69, Chrome Duplex is taking shape with a design that balances easy access to controls on large devices and the traditional top address bar. Now, the latest change for Chrome’s split toolbar look is to its name, thus avoiding the obvious confusion with another up-and-coming Google product.

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