Google's latest Chrome OS: You now have a desktop, but...

Summary:Google's latest Chrome OS for developers looks a bit like Windows, Ubuntu and Mac OS X. Is that enough?

Google updated its Chrome OS and users of Chromebook are now free of a full browser window. It's unclear whether the Chrome OS updates will make it more popular.

I downloaded the latest Chrome OS via Google's developer channel. There's a Samsung Chromebook that has been on my desk for a while. I started to use the Chromebook, but got this stuck in a sandbox feeling. After a while I resented the full browser window view. I felt trapped.

Google's latest build of the Chrome OS changes that equation. There's a dock bar (limited to the Chrome browser, search and apps) and you can resize the browser screen. In other words, Google's Chrome OS looks a bit like Windows, Ubuntu and Mac OS X.

Also: Google's new Chrome OS: Back to the future |

Say hello to Google’s new, old Chrome OS (gallery)

It's obvious to me that Google is at least subliminally admitting that its first approach with the Chrome OS was just off. Now that the Chrome OS looks a little more conventional perhaps it'll gain traction.

But I doubt it. In a nutshell, Google's latest dev version of the Chrome OS does the following:

  • Takes your Chrome OS icons and puts them on an icon;
  • Gives you a limited doc bar;
  • And allows you to minimize the browser window.

Those changes give me a larger sandbox, but I still feel a bit trapped. I want the Chrome OS to do more. The app selection has improved on the Chrome OS, but Google is building a lot of that software to seed the ecosystem.

The end game for Chrome OS is a merger of sorts. Google is likely to take the Webtop it's getting from Motorola Mobility, stir in Android, update the Chrome OS and slap it all together.

Today, Chrome OS is a fine experiment. But it's an experiment that probably won't entice you to buy a Chromebook just yet unless prices fall dramatically and you're an enterprise clamoring for a Web terminal.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Google, Hardware, Developer


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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