Google Chrome OS FAQ

Answers to questions that arise about the operating system from Google, Chrome OS.

When the system was it invented?

It was at the same time that the browser of the same name in 2008. Seeing that many people use their computer only to access the Web, designers have thought that it might as well replace the operating system. But coding only started in 2009.

How much does Google OS cost?

It is provided free at the moment and open source. It may be marketed in the future but there will always be a free version.
Revenues will come mainly from advertisements on Web pages, and if necessary, Google can add ads in applications running on OS chrome.

On which computers does it work?

This OS is designed for netbooks at first. It does not recognize all hardware. But it is open source, so it is easy to adapt to any hardware.
Although the initial goal is to make an OS for netbooks, Google intends to look beyond, to extend it and make an OS for desktop computers but not before 2011.
Google wants to produce open source drivers for Linux, on which is based the system. Partners are welcomed.
About the processor, only x86 is supported for the moment, but ARM is also expected in the future.

Which software can I use?

Chrome OS is designed primarily for Web applications. The first one is the browser. With the support of Native Client, all kinds of software will work, including 3D games. This will be possible also through WebGL. But usual applications like Office will not work.

Can I change the browser?

No, the OS and the browser are dependent. To change the browser and use Firefox, for example, you will have to change the code of the OS, that is open.

Is it compatible with standards?

This is something that concerns more the browser than the OS. The Chrome browser is compatible with HTML 5, CSS 3 and features the fast JavaScript V8 compiler.
The version of Linux used by Android differs from the standard. Chrome has a different purpose.

Applications can they work offline?

Yes, it is possible with the browser through Gears and HTML 5, so with the OS too. But it currently has limitations. For example, Gears does not allow PHP to run offline for an application that uses it on the server.
It remains to be seen whether this will evolve.

How does one access to Internet?

By the usual ADSL or WiFi.

Can I connect an external hard drive?

Chrome OS is designed for the "cloud", online storage, but it is physically possible to store documents locally on the hard disk or external drives.

Can I use a virtual machine?

This can be done with Linux and Chrome OS is based on Linux. So it is also possible (and very useless indeed).

See: Install Chrome OS in a virtual machine.

Can I use Chrome OS and Windows on one computer

The dual launch is possible as for any Linux system. The ChromeShell software too allows you to boot it from Windows.

Native client is it implemented?

Native Client is a part of the development code. It will run natively binary code and will allow applications to interface with the hardware. (Ref 1)

What is chromoting?

This is an experimental technique to operate remotely on a browser a local application. Microsoft has experienced a similar process as Remote Desktop Connection. It will also use local applications on the same machine while the system is designed for Web applications.