Sneak Preview: Chrome OS Browser Video Tour

Sneak Preview: Chrome OS Browser Video Tour

Summary: Recently, various outlets, such as TechCrunch, had reported that an early build of Chrome OS has been leaked into the wild. Well, I hate to tell you but those reports weren't exactly accurate.

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Recently, various outlets, such as TechCrunch, had reported that an early build of Chrome OS has been leaked into the wild. Well, I hate to tell you but those reports weren't exactly accurate.

What leaked was in fact was an Alpha/Beta implementation of the Chromium browser that will be used in Chrome OS. As such, it was distributed in .deb package format, which is the very same format used by Debian-based Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu.

Chromium Browser for Chrome OS Sneak Preview from Tech Broiler

I was able to install this build of Chromium (4.0.222.6-r28902) on Ubuntu 9.04 simply by downloading the .deb package distributed on Rapidshare. Ubuntu immediately recognized this as a .deb package and prompted me to install it. What you see here is clearly a work in progress but may bring a little bit of early insight into what Chrome OS actually is.

Click on the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.

I have no doubt from what I have seen that Chrome OS is built upon a Ubuntu or Debian foundation, probably the former rather than the latter, since a version of Ubuntu is already used in-house by Google as "Goobuntu". By looking at some of the dialog box settings in Chromium for Chrome OS, it's clear that many of the configuration and settings for the OS will be implemented in the browser itself. In other words, it will be a largely browser-based OS, with cloud-based Google applications.

For the most part, Chrome OS's Chromium browser implementation is very similar to what exists in Windows and in the current mainstream Linux Chromium build. By default, however, it doesn't have any plugins installed, so it will have to depend on Google to pre-install those (Flash, media codecs, Java, etc) into Chrome OS in order for sites that depend on those to work. To get a better feel of how this browser actually looks and performs, take a look at the video above.

Topics: Browser, Google, Operating Systems, Software, Ubuntu

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • Another video

    There's another video on a blog at http://chromeos-blog.com that also shows the browser. It's 3 mins.
    chromeos-blog
  • RE: Sneak Preview: Chrome OS Browser Video Tour

    With Google in the fight against MS over MS tying\bundling their browser to their OS, can someone explain to me why its ok for Google to make their own OS and tie and bundle their browser with it? Is it me or does that seem wrong?
    NoThomas
    • Because

      This is not intended to run on general purpose PCs, at least initially. This is for netbooks and webpads. By definition the primary function -IS- the browser.

      Apple bundles Safari with Mac as well, and also with the iPhone. Microsoft is being attacked by the EU because it controls a large (80 percent plus) portion of the OS market on Personal Computers sold in the EU.
      jperlow
      • So you are saying its ok..

        Netbooks you can easily use as a general purpose PC though. You are saying its ok for any other company to but not MS? You can make the argument that Google has a monopoly in Search (its used how much out of total search?) and in ads, and now they are making an OS that will tie their browser to their OS that will access Their Cloud offerings? All the while sitting with Opera and making MS offer a ballot screen on their OS because they back in the day tied their OS with their browser?

        If we are going to set a standard to level the playing field and I am all for that then thats fine but we should not pick and choose we should hold the standard for everyone, if everyone followed the same rules only then will we have fair competition. We cannot have Hypocrisy in it.
        NoThomas
        • I'm not the arbiter of what is "OK" and what is not

          I am simply stating what the EU position is. It's not entirely impossible a scenario if Google Chrome OS netbooks become popular, the EU may force Google to pre-load alternative browsers for Linux. However it should be noted that Google has already made it very easy to switch to alternative search engines in the Chrome browser, as you can see in the video. You can choose Bing, Yahoo, AOL, and a number of others with just a click.
          jperlow
          • I am not saying you are the arbiter..

            I just have not seen anyone saying its hypocritical and wrong of Google to sit with the EU and Opera and offer suggestions against MS and then they do the same thing as MS. How is that right? The EU should make Google do that now, why wait? Everytime I ask this question the main response is simply "well its because MS is a monopoly" so what they are saying is its wrong of MS to do this thing but since we are not a monopoly its ok for us to do this wrong thing. How does that make sense?

            "However it should be noted that Google has already made it very easy to switch to alternative search engines in the Chrome browser, as you can see in the video. You can choose Bing, Yahoo, AOL, and a number of others with just a click." Most do that now anyways. IE and firefox and safari does it simply to.
            NoThomas
          • Please pay attention now:

            Google and Opera are not OS monopolists. Microsoft is a convicted monopolist.

            Monopolists have to play by rules for monopolist, rules created to prevent monopolists from destroying the market.

            Yes, it's OK for Google to do something, but not MS, because MS is a monopoly. That's the law.

            It makes sense because monopolies have a lot of power because of their position.
            Mipe Relons
          • Really??

            Interesting since MS bundled IE BEFORE they were a monopoly.

            I am not talking legally, I am talking ethically, they are sitting with Opera in judgement of MS while they are doing the same thing as MS. How is that not ethically wrong? How is that not hypocrisy? Once again I am not talking about legally wrong I am talking about ethics.
            NoThomas
    • Antitrust

      Antitrust laws are intended to prevent using a
      monopoly in market A to manipulate Market B.
      Microsoft was convicted of using its monopoly
      power in desktop operating systems to gain
      advantage in the browser market.

      When Google is able to use monopoly power in
      the operating system market (a very long time
      from now, since they are currently at 0%), the
      antitrust laws will apply to them as well.
      This is also why Macs are able to bundle Safari
      without fear, unless you establish a market
      where Apple has a monopoly, they can do
      whatever they want in terms of bundling.

      I am not making any judgements about the
      correctness of current antitrust laws. I am
      just trying to share my understanding of this
      topic.
      shis-ka-bob
      • That antitrust action will never happen...

        ...because Google is in the business of co-
        opting and parasitizing other OSes and does not
        need to compete with them (except in more
        specialized niches, as with mobile handsets,
        where the proprietariness of several platforms
        limits how Google can play). This is what they
        have generally done with web browsers; Google
        search--and hence GoogleProfit :-)--works on
        them all!

        So far, Google has only been after your ad
        dollars through your web browser. What they also
        want to do is go after enterprise (and your)
        application dollars through web apps, for which
        they'll be after not only your web browser but
        the power of your computer's CPU and memory.
        They'll achieve that aim by serving up web apps
        running at near-native speeds through Google
        Native Client.

        Google Native Client will turn every computer
        that runs it into a GoogleApps computer and
        create a vast application space and ecosystem.
        Why do you think Microsoft stooped to officially
        invoking the computer-security safety of "family
        and friends" when slamming Google Chrome Frame?
        Because Google Chrome Frame is the container
        through which Google Native Client will run in
        IE and make Windows irrelevant--a mere host for
        a parasite, if you want to think in insecty
        terms.

        (BTW: Funny, invoking the computer safety of
        family and friends is exactly what *I* do when I
        warn them against using the security Swiss
        cheese that is Windows for online banking. In
        the news we have seen recently that our own FBI
        chief and the chief of the New South Wales
        police are of the same opinion.)

        I look forward to experiencing Chrome OS in
        whatever form. Choice is good.


        TriangleDoor
      • Everytime I ask this...

        Everytime I ask this question the main response is simply "well its because MS is a monopoly" its not about anti-trust law its about hyprocrisy, its about Google sitting with the EU telling MS it was wrong of them to tie/bundle IE with windows then going out and doing the exact same thing.

        They are saying it was wrong of MS to do this but since we are not a monopoly its ok for us to do this wrong thing. How does that make sense?
        NoThomas
        • Every time I ask...

          Since you get the same answer every time, and you find it
          unsatisfactory, let's say you're right, that Google is engaging in illegal
          anti-competitive behavior.

          Microsoft being an aggrieved party (we'll assume that they actually
          want to distribute a Google OS IE implementation), can bring an anti-
          trust action against Google. They will be required to make a prima
          facie case that Google has a monopoly in browsers or operating
          systems. And then they will have to make a case that the tying
          behavior constitutes illegal restraint of trade. Redmond is not going to
          waste its money. If history is a guide, they will not give a hoot about
          what browsers can and cannot run on the Google OS.

          But here's the real point. It is not illegal to have a monopoly. It is not
          illegal to favor one's own products and block competitor's products. It
          may be illegal for a monopoly to block competitors' products.
          Microsoft was ascertained a monopoly and then found guilty of
          illegally restraining trade. Once convicted, they were issued a different
          set of rules to operate under, just as other convictees are.

          That's why everyone keeps telling you it is not hypocrisy. Microsoft,
          among its competitors (except IBM who also came under DOJ scrutiny
          during the 60s, 70s, and 80s), is unique in its circumstance. So they
          have to proceed under the purview of their "parole officer."
          DannyO_0x98
          • I never said that...

            You are putting words in my mouth....
            "let's say you're right, that Google is engaging in illegal anti-competitive behavior." Please tell me where I said that, I said they were being hypocritical. I even said its not about antitrust.

            I am saying its wrong for Google to sit with the EU telling MS how wrong they were and that they need to have a ballot screen because MS ties\bundles IE with Windows. All the while they are making an OS that has their browser tied/bundled with it.

            They are saying its wrong of you MS to of bundled IE with your OS and because of that you need to create to ballot system to try to make it right again or to atleast help to make it right again. Oh by the way take a look at our new OS that has Chrome tied to it.

            "That's why everyone keeps telling you it is not hypocrisy." First no one is telling me that, everyone is changing the subject or trying to go off on a tangent. Please tell me how is it not hyprocrisy? Is it right or wrong to tie the browser with the OS? Is MS, Apple,and Google right or wrong to do it.

            Btw IBM is still under DOJ scrutiny for its mainframe business.
            NoThomas
          • Hypocrisy?

            No, Google is not being hypocritical. If I report a robberer to the police, am I being hypocritical? Of course not. I never robbed a bank. The robberer broke the law, not me.

            Google isn't telling the EU anything. It has no authority over MS what so ever. And it was MS which proposed the ballot screen.

            It is NOT wrong of MS to bundle IE. IE is still bundled. It is wrong of MS to break the law, which is the whole point here.

            There is nothing hypocritical about Chrome OS because there is nothing illegal or wrong with bundling a browser with an OS in itself. It is only wrong/illegal if it's used to break the law by undermining competition.
            Mipe Relons
          • Lets take a look...

            "If I report a robberer to the police, am I being hypocritical? Of course not. I never robbed a bank. The robberer broke the law, not me." How is that even remotely close to what I am saying?

            "Google isn't telling the EU anything."
            Really then tell me why "SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google has added its voice to the case against Microsoft as the European Commission probes antitrust charges related to the software giant's Internet Explorer browser." http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2009/02/reuters_us_google_microsoft
            Sure seems like they are telling the EU something.

            "And it was MS which proposed the ballot screen." NO actually it was Opera, "Opera requests the Commission to implement two remedies to Microsoft?s abusive actions. First, it requests the Commission to obligate Microsoft to unbundle Internet Explorer from Windows and/or carry alternative browsers pre-installed on the desktop." Go ahead and read the complaint its on Opera's website http://www.opera.com/press/releases/2007/12/13/

            "It is NOT wrong of MS to bundle IE. IE is still bundled. It is wrong of MS to break the law, which is the whole point here." Lets see I think Opera said "The complaint describes how Microsoft is abusing its dominant position by tying its browser, Internet Explorer, to the Windows operating system" so yes according to the EU it was wrong of MS to bundle IE with Windows. Thats the point.

            "There is nothing hypocritical about Chrome OS because there is nothing illegal or wrong with bundling a browser with an OS in itself." Funny you should tell that to the EU, Google, Opera and the EU are saying it was wrong and hurtful to compitition to bundle IE with windows but google is saying its ok to bundle Chrome with the ChromeOS.

            "It is only wrong/illegal if it's used to break the law by undermining competition." Bundling the browser to the OS seems to undermine compeitition.

            NoThomas
    • Neither

      You should unask the question. It's an irrelevant dichotomy.

      Imagine you are having a discussion with your fairy godmother and
      you can be granted the wish to be Microsoft selling operating systems
      with the restriction that you cannot prevent the user from installing
      and choosing a different default browser or the wish to be Google and
      you get to block IE, Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc., as you bring your
      operating system to market.

      Your choice would be? Yeah, mine too.

      Now, if it turns in five years that the free Google operating system
      cuts off Microsoft's air supply, as Microsoft did to Netscape when it
      bundled a free browser and eviscerated Netscape's revenue stream,
      then I think you'll see Google receive encumbrances. That's a huge if.

      Until then, because Microsoft and Google arrived at their market
      positions differently and have used their market share clout
      differently, they get treated differently. Microsoft's bigger problems
      are not that Chrome could be the default browser on a Windows
      computer, it's that too many folks may stay on XP and older versions
      of Office.
      DannyO_0x98
  • Leak? Sneak? Nah.

    No new news here. It's just a Chrome-for-Linux
    developer build, which anyone can get and
    install in a reasonably recent X/K/Ubuntu
    system. Every so often a new version comes down
    via the X/K/Ubuntu updater. It's called Chromium
    because it's not yet releasable as Chrome, and
    comes with warnings that it not be used for
    everyday browsing.

    Don't miss the forest by getting too huggy with
    particular trees, Grasshopper. Google Native
    Client will make *every* OS Google Chrome OS as
    far as Google's long-term strategy is concerned.
    TriangleDoor
  • So uh,

    Because my phone doesn't support the plug-in on this page to
    view video, what is the difference between this browser and the
    one included in Google's own ChromeOS 0.4 beta I downloaded
    and installed as a VMware host yesterday? I ask because I found
    it interesting that Google is using the RPM based openSUSE as
    opposed to Debian which was a pleasant surprise I might add.

    http://sites.google.com/site/chromeoslinux/
    People
    • That is not Chrome OS

      Its an end-user that created his own "Chrome OS". It's not a google authorized anything.
      jperlow
      • Yep. Sorry

        I simply did not understand the URL scheme of google sites as I never
        cared to use it nor ever had been exposed to Google sites.

        Out.
        People