Chrome/OS Overview Updated June 30, 2016

Chrome/OS

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.

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.

687 Chrome/OS stories

May 2011 - June 2016

Chrome/OS Stories June 3

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Chrome/OS Stories June 1

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If you search Amazon for streaming media players, you’ll find plenty of them. The one thing you won’t find is any Chromecast devices, and company CEO Jeff Bezos told the Re/code conference why not. Chromecast doesn’t currently offer access to Amazon’s own Prime Video platform, and Bezos says that isn’t because Google refuses to include it, but because it wants too much money for doing so.

[W]hen we sell those devices, we want our player — our Prime Video player — to be on the device, and we want it to be on the device with acceptable business terms. You can always get the player on the device. The question is, can you get it on there with acceptable business terms?

While he doesn’t say so outright, the meaning of the vague phrase is pretty clear …

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9to5mac 

Chrome/OS Stories May 25

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Chrome 51 is rolling out now to Mac, Windows, and soon Linux. The latest version of Google’s browser contains the usual bug and security fixes, but also features a new Credential Management API that improves the website login experience.

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Chrome/OS Stories May 21

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This year’s I/O was a big one. Maybe not the largest in terms of new products and services, but definitely not the smallest either. Among other things, the Mountain View, California company announced its Daydream VR platform for Android, an evolution of the Google Now assistant in the form of an AI-powered “Google Assistant,” a couple of new messaging apps and some hardware to play the part of debuting the Assistant, a new version of Android Wear, and more.

The keynote had this overarching theme that Google is no longer just a company that does search and ads. Now, Google is diving head first into artificial intelligence and machine learning, and most of the things that were announced in the keynote fell into that narrative for the most part. This is the stuff that’s not coming out for at least half a year. Most things, from Allo and Duo to Google Home, felt half-baked. It felt like everything was unfinished, and to some degree, that’s true. It’s still early days.

While Google wanted to paint this big picture of what the company envisions for the next few years and beyond, it saved some of the stuff that’s actually really cool today for other events at the conference. The most obvious of these was the press-only event Google hosted on day 2, showing off a huge new feature for Chrome OS: support for the Play Store that has long been tied down to Android. We’ve known this was coming for a long time, but now it’s here — serving as the next move to make Chrome OS and Android more alike than ever…

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Chrome/OS Stories May 20

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Power users love shortcuts. Especially when managing multiple operations across several apps, keyboards allow quick access to specific actions with handy combinations of buttons, and some have become so common and used even among regular people that it’d be hard to think of software that doesn’t take advantage of them.

For better or for worse, however, Google seems to be removing the very common key that allows the Backspace button to move back to the previous page in Chrome

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9to5toys 

Chrome/OS Stories May 19

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