Chrome/OS Overview Updated October 22, 2018

Chrome/OS

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1,247 'Chrome/OS' stories

May 2011 - October 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 October 22

Chrome OS is taking over the education market with affordable, simple hardware backed by cloud management capabilities. One country where Chromebooks are particularly prevalent is New Zealand, where its Ministry of Education signed a deal with Google to provide all schools access to Chrome Education management tools.

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As we approach the release of the Google Pixel Slate, Chrome OS has been seeing a constant flow of updates and improvements. The latest of these brings the technical and stylistic improvements of Android Pie to Chrome OS, alongside redesigned Google Assistant visuals.

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Google promoting Chromebooks with White Walkers from ‘Game of Thrones’

With the Pixel Slate earlier this month, Made by Google announced a flagship tablet that is the first premium device for that form factor. We have yet to review it, but in the meantime, the continued proliferation of Chrome OS is happening at the affordable end. To push that, and tie in with the holiday shopping season, Google is partnering on a new Game of Thrones-themed advertising campaign. Enter the White Walkers, literally.

Chrome/OS Stories October 19

We’ve been seeing bits and pieces of Google working on an official picture-in-picture mode for Google Chrome, but the final product has been nowhere to be seen. Today, a Google developer has taken to the company’s dying social network to announce that Chrome picture-in-picture is now enabled by default. Here’s how to use it.

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Chrome/OS Stories October 18

Chrome OS has been shaping up to be the all-in-one system, combining the best of Google’s ecosystem, including Android apps, with the power of Linux apps. The latter is still in beta phase with improvements and new features in every update. Today we take a look at some of the features coming soon to Chrome OS Linux apps. expand full story

Chrome/OS Stories October 17

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