Google's Chrome updates: Browser, Web store and notebook OS will redefine "cloud computing"

Google's Chrome updates: Browser, Web store and notebook OS will redefine "cloud computing"

Summary: Google offered updates on the new features in the Chrome browser and gave a sneak peek of the new OS that will land in notebooks mid-next year.


Google today unveiled new features for its Chrome browser and offered a sneak peek at what's coming with Chrome OS, a new Web-only operating system that was first announced last year and will be launched in notebooks from Acer and Samsung by mid-next year.

The company covered a lot of ground during an event in San Francisco today - but it was clear that everything that Google is doing here is centered around the Web.

Gallery: Google brings Chrome OS into focus

Starting with the browser, Chrome is all about getting faster. One of the coolest features was a one-up on Google Instant, the quick search feature that fills in the search query based on what the user is typing. Taking it to a new level, the browser will load the pages that you, the specific user, visit most frequently. For example, start typing ESPN and the ESPN page will load as soon as you type the "E." LIkewise, a "Z" might load ZDNet for regular readers of the this site.

The company also announced the Chrome Web store, a marketplace for Web-based apps similar to those built for a tablet like the iPad. On stage, a demo of a Sports Illustrated app called Snapshot, which will provide stories, photo slideshows and other rich multimedia features that provide more of iPad experience than a traditional browser experience.

As a side note, a presentation by Citrix at the event talked about the ways a Web-only experience can be attractive for businesses. Citrix is developing a business app marketplace that would load enterprise apps - be it Excel or SAP directly into the browser and allow users to access a chart or other information where they may have left off on the native app.

By far, the more exciting news today was around the Chrome operating system and the launch of notebooks running it. Google execs were quick to note that the OS still isn't quite ready. There are some features that need fine tuning and some bugs that still need working out. For example, the device won't need drivers for printing and will be able to utilize a beta feature that allows printing to any printer on the user's network - even remotely. That feature, while impressive in the demo, still needs some work.

Initially, Samsung and Acer will be the OEMs to launch the first Chrome OS notebooks but others will follow. At the event, the company announced the Cr-48, a no-brand prototype model that will be made available on a limited basis for early adopters and businesses that want to give it a try. Among those that will test it initially will be Virgin America, Logitech, Kraft Foods and even the U.S. Department of Defense, which will test it with its affiliated research organizations.

Even consumers will be able to test run it, including those who were part of a promotion on Google's Facebook fan page, as well as those who have a creative edge and are willing to create and upload a YouTube video on why they are worthy of the device.

Back to the notebooks, the plan is to optimize the browser and the apps to operate in offline mode and to be able to connect to the Internet seamlessly via WiFi or a mobile broadband connection via Verizon Wireless.

That partnership, similar to what AT&T is doing with the iPad, requires no contract and has pricing plans that start as low as $9.99 for a day of unlimited usage. At the start, the connectivity will be 3G. Verizon is already rolling out 4G connectivity but on data modems only - for now.

The thing to remember about what Google is doing with the browser and the OS is to make the computing experience faster, seamless and personal - and all about the Web.

Topics: Operating Systems, Browser, Google, Laptops, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Too early to call. Will wait for reference design.

    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • Redefine Cloud Computing as Clown Computing

      Wouldn't recommend this CHOKEmOS junk to my worst enemy.
      • Well, not sure why you hate people getting products they want. There is a

        very high percentage that only need email, search, browser, Google Docs when on the run. A ton of great web applications are coming. Remember, local storage is in the final stages of implementation, and that will enable off-line web applications, and compensate for slow and flaky connections.
  • Peter Graffagnino or David Springer or Ralf Brunner NeXT?

    Now you begin to see why certain "former" cronies from crApple have removed apple from their resumes and are either working for Google, HTC, Nokia etc., or they are planning to.<br><br>Interestingly they are from the same groups that isolated certain employees for being "spies" of crApple's super secret basket-weaving "technologies".
    • RE: Google's Chrome updates: Browser, Web store and notebook OS will redefine

      @RememberOctober29 hmm, a little paranoid, maybe ?
    • truly

      @RememberOctober29 i'm always amazed at the wit and creativeness of posters here. crApple? wow dude, that is top shelf stuff. why, i've only read that a few dozen... gzillion times.
      really, that's all you have? yours is a singular wit.
      • RE: Google's Chrome updates: Browser, Web store and notebook OS will redefine

        @sportmac actually if you were literate you would get the meat of the comment being something other than the word crapple. Don't work your neural tube too hard you clever little MacGenius might pop!
    • Wow...

      @RememberOctober29 <br>Umm, oook. Tin foil hat, much?

      Fixed typo.
      • spell much

        While I agree that his tin foil hat is bit too tight, you really need to learn to spell.
      • Over ONE word?

        Come on, wasn't like I was writing an essay.
  • This one's so easy to predict.

    Tech pundits and googlebots will praise Chrome incessantly. Consumers will look at it and go WTF? Why should I buy an entire laptop that runs nothing but a browser? Tech pundits and googlebots will insult consumer intelligence and continue to praise Chrome incessantly.
    • Intelligence?


      Did not see much in your post. I am not sure you would recognize it if you fell over it.
      • Blind as a bat, ain't you

      • I obviously.....


        see better than you. Yours makes two moronic posts, but then again stupid does not recognize stupid.
      • RE: Google's Chrome updates: Browser, Web store and notebook OS will redefine

        @Economister <br><br>See what I mean? You can hardly post without trying to insult someone. Why not post a counter to his opinion? Instead, you do exactly what you claimed frgough did.<br><br><b>Did not see much in your post.</b><br><br>Isn't it ironic? Don't ya think?
      • Maybe you can help me out

        @PlayFair<br><br>Which "opinion" might that be? "Googlebots insulting the consumers' intelligence"? Or "praising Chrome incessantly"?<br><br>There has to be an opinion deserving of a counter to start with. "frgough" was not expressing any kind of opinion. He was merely ranting against Google. If you find it worthy of a respectful response, be my guest.<br><br>Edit: If you follow my posts at all, you will know that I am generally respectful and courteous to similar posts. There are however a few posters around here not particularly deserving of respect. If they want respect, they should also show respect, which "frgough" did not, imho.
    • RE: Google's Chrome updates: Browser, Web store and notebook OS will redefine

      Isn't that the browser is free? Google should give out chrome OS machine free with all you can eat wireless access free then I think Chome OS will have a chance with me.
    • This one's so easy to predict.

      Consumer Reports says iPhone 4 Not Recommended
      Alan Henry
  • RE: Google's Chrome updates: Browser, Web store and notebook OS will redefine

    "[i]requires no contract and has pricing plans that start as low as $9.99 for a day of unlimited usage[/i]

    Sure, let me get my wallet out ......[b][i]NOT[/b][/i]
  • Hardly a Windows killer

    The one and only, Cylon Centurion