Chrome/OS Overview Updated October 21, 2017

Chrome/OS

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929 'Chrome/OS' stories

May 2011 - October 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 October 21

GOOG: 988.20

3.75

2017 started off great for Chrome OS with the debut of a bunch of new hardware, highlighted be options from Samsung and ASUS. The Chromebook Plus, Pro, and C302CA are some of the best options on the market, but they’ve just been outdone by Google’s Pixelbook. In an effort to bring more high-powered options to the market, Samsung and ASUS apparently have some pretty major upgrades in the pipeline.

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Chrome/OS Stories October 20

GOOG: 988.20

3.75

Following this week’s rollout to Mac, Windows, and Linux, the latest version of Chrome for Android is beginning to rollout to the stable channel. There are a number of minor new features accompanying the usual security fixes and under-the-hood changes in Chrome 62.

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Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

Chrome/OS Stories October 17

GOOG: 992.18

0.18

Chrome 62 is now rolling out to desktops in the stable channel with a number of new features for developers, as well as some changed security behaviors as Google continues to encourage HTTPS adoption.

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Chrome/OS Stories October 16

GOOG: 992.00

2.32

Back in September, Google revamped its data and privacy Dashboard with a simpler, mobile-friendly design. Google is continuing that work today with a more personal Security Checkup feature. Additionally, there are new phishing protections in Chrome.

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For quite a while now, Google has had a Chrome Cleanup Tool on Windows that scans and removes software that might affect or hijack the browsing experience. Today, the feature is being upgraded with a simpler UI and more powerful detection, while Chrome has improved handling with nefarious extensions.

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Chrome/OS Stories October 11

GOOG: 989.25

16.65

Google invested in Neverware, a company that (sort of) puts Chrome OS on aging computers

Easily one of the best aspects of Chrome OS is how lightweight it is. That’s what enables it to run incredibly well on the inexpensive and low powered hardware that makes up most of the Chromebook market. However, Neverware found another use for it — a lifeline for aging computers, and now Google is investing in them.

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