What is Google Chrome OS?

Google Chrome OS is an open-source lightweight operating system (OS). It uses one-sixtieth as much hard drive space as Windows 7 and is intended for netbooks or tablet PCs that access Web-based applications and stored data from remote servers.

The Chrome OS is so lean that boot time is about seven seconds. Google released the source code for Chrome OS in July 2009 under the BSD license as part of a larger project called Chromium. The operating system is built on top of a Linux kernel and runs on Intel x86 and ARM chips.


The only software application Google Chrome OS runs locally is Google’s browser, which is also called Chrome. Both the Chrome OS and browser share an auto-update feature that allows Google to push updates by using a secure sockets layer (SSL). The end-user is not able to refuse a security update or change back to a previous version.


Chrome OS is not available for download. Instead, Google is partnering with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) including Samsung, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and Intel to manufacture hardware devices capable of using the OS. Although Chrome OS will support hard disk drives, Google is encouraging its partners to use solid-state drives, which have no moving parts.

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