Google Chrome: From Browser To Operating System

Google Chrome is a Web browser developed by Google for Windows systems. The browser is designed to make Web surfing safer and faster. It offers users a minimal design and what Google describes as “sophisticated technology” to make the Web faster, safer and easier on Windows-based PCs.

Since Chrome’s initial beta launch in September 2008, Google reports that more than 30 million people use it regularly.

Google Chrome features searching from the address bar, thumbnail views of your favorite pages for quick access, a private browsing function that opens an incognito window when you don’t want to save your browsing history, instant bookmarks, crash control and dynamic tabs. The browser works with Windows Vista and Windows XP.

Now There’s Google Chrome the OS

On July 7, 2009, nine months after the Chrome browser was released, Google announced an extension to Google Chrome the Google Chrome Operating System.

According to Google, current operating systems were originally designed in an era where there was no Web, and Google Chrome is described as a lightweight operating system will make its debut targeting netbook devices.

The new operating system, according to Google, will focus on speed and simplicity. The goal will be to have users start-up and get onto the Web in seconds. Like the Chrome browser interface, the OS interface will also be minimal Google said they want to OS to “stay out of the user’s way”.

Being online, especially with a Windows-based system, users are constantly targeted by malicious spyware, viruses and other security issues. To prevent this, Google said that the Chrome OS would have a completely redesigned security architecture so that users would not need to deal with issues such as viruses, malware and security updates. Google says that the Chrome OS should “just work.”

Google also indicted that the OS would be able to run on both x86 as well as ARM chips. Additionally, the company is working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year.

The Architecture

Google says that the software architecture is simple Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.

On the official Google blog, Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management and Linus Upson, engineering director posted, “For application developers, the Web is the platform. All Web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite Web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.”

Google also said that they will open-source the code later this year, and netbooks running the Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010.

On the Google blog, the two Google representatives said, “Because we’re already talking to partners about the project, and we’ll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve”.

Recommended Reading:

Chrome OS: Weighing Google’s Game Plan and Google Chrome OS – a new open source Linux distro on


Web browsers, often referred to just as browsers, are software applications used to locate and display Web pages on the World Wide Web. While this is the most popular usage, browsers can also be used to access and view content on a private or local network as well. Find out more about different consumer Web browsers in this Webopedia Quick Reference.

Key Terms To Understanding Google Chrome OS:

Related Articles on Webopedia:

Based in Nova Scotia, Vangie Beal is has been writing about technology for more than a decade. She is a frequent contributor to EcommerceGuide and managing editor at Webopedia. You can tweet her online @AuroraGG.

This article was originally published on July 10, 2009

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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