Google Chrome OS is Official, Web Store Open for Business

At a live event in San Francisco today, Google officially launched Chrome OS, a lightweight and fast operating system based on the similarly speedy Chrome web browser. The event kicked off with a little background on Chrome and an update on just how fast it has become.

When Chrome was first announced two years ago, its new javascript engine, V8, was 8x faster than the fastest existing engine. And it was 16x faster than IE. We’ve continued to improve, and today we are announcing an enchancement called Crankshaft. This makes the engine up to 2x faster than it is today depending on the benchmark. It’s 50x as fast as the fastest web browsers 2 years ago and 100x faster than IE was two years ago.

In addition to a need for speed, it seems many of us have grown a need for apps. The Chrome Web Store aims to fill that need by making it simple and easy to purchase, download, and install applications. These are not specific to the Chrome web browser as they are just your standard advanced web applications. The convenience with Chrome is in easy access to these apps via shortcuts. The Chrome Web Store is great for developers as it provides an easy way to market and sell web applications. Of course, it looks just like iTunes.

Chrome OS itself is just about what you would expect. It’s the speed of the Chrome browser, but it’s running the entire computer. Every Chrome netbook will ship with built in data connectivity and you can switch between WiFi and cellular. Printing is done using Google Cloud Print (currently in beta), which sounds similar to Apple’s AirPrint, but possible more flexible.

Google has partnered with Verizon to offer 100 MB of free data every month for 2 years. The plans are pay-as-you-go and start at $9.99. There are no activation, overage, or cancellation fees and you can activate the service on your own. There is also a day pass which gives you unlimited access for the entire day for $9.99.

Google Chrome OS takes security in mind for the workplace. Automatic updates, sandboxing, data encryption, and verification on boot make the system secure. SVP Citrix Systems  Gordon Payne demonstrated an upcoming Citrix Receiver: “We’re accessing Excel in Chrome but it’s running on the server in the data center — the private cloud of the company. So it’s safe, secure, runs in the data center. It’s fast (faster than launching on a PC).” This is coming in the first half of next year.

Acer and Samsung will be selling notebooks with Google Chrome OS in mid 2011 with other OEMS to follow. The Chrome OS team admits that it’s not done yet and has some bugs. In addition, Google is launching a pilot program to get this device in the hands of developers. As part of this program, Google may let you have a CR-48 notebook running Google Chrome OS , but there are some restrictions:

Consumers will be able to apply for this, but Google isn’t giving it away to just anyone. On its Facebook Fan Page, they ran a promotion a couple days, announcing a sticker for a Chrome laptop, if you did that quiz, you get a notebook. If you go to and make a video showing why you’re an ideal candidate for this, you’ll have a chance to snag a notebook.

You can also apply or the CR-48 at this link.

via TechCrunch

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