Google Chrome OS: What we know so far..

There’s a lot of information and news floating around the internet about Google Chrome OS.  This post aims to do a quick roundup of the main information, so you don’t end up viewing the some 1500 news stories (at present) about it!

I’ve taken information from the original Google blog post (which, of course, we can take as fact), as well as other blogs around asking questions and dicussing the announcement!

What we know..

  • It’ll be OpenSource – You’ll be able to download the source code.   Google working close with the community is a great thing, and likely to have all of the benefits of OpenSource development with large corporate backing.  Source to be released later this year (2009).
  • Primarily aimed at netbooks to start with, and set for release in the second half of 2010 on netbooks.
  • Designed to be lightweight.
  • Seperate project to Google Android, which is focused on smaller devices such as phones and set-top boxes
  • Designed to work very closely with the web – existing operating systems were designed when everyone didn’t have internet access, and there wasn’t the large amount of online applications now available, such as Google Docs, Google Talk, etc.  Now with the possibilities of web sites, the OS should integrate more/completely.  (of course, this is what Google want…)
  • Speed, simplicity and security are the main aspects.
  • With regards to speed – why should you wait for large applications to load onto your computer just to be able to use them?  Use an online system!
  • Also, with regards to speed, the only thing which can slow it down is the internet connection (or remote server which should be unlikely).  No slowing down over time due to malware, large applications, etc.  PCs/Laptops will run the same as they do the day you bought it!
  • Will run on both x86 and ARM architectures.
  • Google are working with multiple netbook OEMs to get Chrome OS on to netbooks from next year.
  • Chrome OS is designed for people who spend most of their time on the web – who doesn’t nowadays?

Of course, there are still lots of questions..

  • Will it be ad-supported?  (unlikely being OpenSource, but the Online Applications may be – such as Google Mail)
  • What sort of applications are possible?  Does everything need coding from scratch as a web application?  It’s not likely to run  Adobe PhotoShop (in the current form, at least).. as Chrome OS is Linux and web based.  What about current Linux applications such as GIMP?
  • As it’s OpenSource, will Google allow large modifications by the community?  Will they allow forks of the code to different projects?
  • Will it have much of an interface on the local machine?
  • What sort of internet connection will someone need to be able to use it properly?
  • How extendable is it?  It should be very extendable being OpenSource – that’s the point, hopefully!
  • Will it work on my current PC/Laptop?  Can I run it at the same time as Windows?  Will it work on my Mac?  (Linux works on all, as a dualboot or even as a Live CD, so I don’t see why not?)
  • Can it take a serious market share away from Microsoft Windows?  No.. really.. can it?  And, of course, what about Mac OS X?   Where does it leave other Linux distributions such as Ubuntu?
  • A million and one other questions which will hopefully become clear pretty soon!

This is a roundup of what we do know and a few common questions I’m seeing floating around the internet on various blogs.

What do you think to Chrome OS?  Is it going to be a great success or a disaster?  Do you have any questions you’d like answering?  We might not have the answer now, but we will certainly look out for them in the future.

Use the comments on this post to let us know your thoughts.. or if you use Twitter, we’re on there @droptips!