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You don't have to have a browser window open in Chrome OS though. To open a window from here you can either use a keyboard shortcut or click one of the icons on the lower left.
The right-most button displays your Chrome OS applications. These, as you'd expect, are the same Web applications you'd use in your Chrome Web browser.
Unlike earlier versions of Chrome OS, it's now easy to open multiple browser windows at once for those times you want to say quickly copy and paste between GMail and a Google document.