Chrome/OS Overview Updated August 24, 2017

Chrome/OS

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946 'Chrome/OS' stories

May 2011 - August 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 August 15

Chrome/OS Stories August 11

Google has been messing around with rounded UI elements for the past couple of months through its various services, and now, that’s extending to Chrome for Android. In the latest update to the Canary channel of Chrome, v62, a new flag enables a “modern” look for the UI which introduces a rounded UI.

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Chrome/OS Stories August 9

Earlier in the year, we reviewed Acer’s Chromebook 11 C731 – a solid offering for around $300 that our Hayato Huseman said “makes a great budget laptop” for those looking for an inexpensive computer for note-taking, web-browsing, etc. Acer just announced an updated version of this with the C771, and like the C731 before it, this latest model is focused directly at customers in the education and commercial spaces.

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Chrome/OS Stories August 7

No matter how you slice it, most people agree that Google’s search engine is the best option. However, some believe Google has a monopoly on search and that the company uses its position unfairly. Recently, Google was sued in Russia for that very reason, and now, Chrome for Android, at least in that country, is being updated to give users more choices.

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Chrome/OS Stories August 1

Over the last couple of months, we have seen more and more code commits to the Chrome OS project that hint at the addition of Google Assistant and new keyboard function keys. Now, a screenshot has leaked which appears to show how Google plans to update the Chromebook keyboard layout…

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