The easiest way to get a build of Chrome OS to try for yourself is to follow these instructions on TechCrunch. If everything goes to plan, you will be welcomed by this simple log-in screen. And since everything is built from the open source arm of the Chrome OS project, Chromium replaces any mention of Chrome.
An equally simple loading screen appears for the short time between a successful log-in and the browser environment.
When logging into Chrome, it will show the tabs from your previous session. Here we have clicked on the Chrome icon in the top left that shows the available "applications". All of these applications are actually web pages.
Pinning a tab will always keep that web page open. As a sidenote: you can use the Alt+F4 to close Chrome, but an instance of the browser will reload.
Unfortunately, it is perfectly clear that the early builds of Chrome OS are targeted squarely at the American market. The solution for video streaming is Hulu which politely tells all non-US visitors to go away and leave your email address.
Similarly, Pandora also informs us that we are not in the United States.
The flash chess game included in the applications menu now sports a giant red text saying that FlashCHESS III is featured in the upcoming Google Chrome OS. This reveals an interesting issue with Chrome OS linking out to non-Google controlled sites, in much the same manner as including an image from a URL that you do not control means that pornography could suddenly appear on your web page, as Chrome OS points to third-party sites, those site owners can take advantage of the increased traffic however they wish.
The small icon in the upper-right corner shows many of the same options as the spanner menu in Chrome.
Some applications appear in panels and overlay the browser, here we are using the calculator. We like the idea of a list of previous calculations, but we don't like that it cannot handle a simple addition correctly.
Since everything in Chrome is on the web, you can right-click on the calculator and view the HTML source of it. The calculator page can be found here where you can see the incorrect "2.3541+8" calculation for yourself.
The middle icon in the top right is for managing network connections.
Flash comes with Chrome OS, we never want to give up on YouTube.
Chrome retains its full screen capability.
In this image, Chrome is in compact nav bar mode.
Chrome OS currently comes in two themes, the standard chrome blue and a standard grey GTK theme. This is the GTK theme.
The option to restore tabs is available if Chrome OS locked up or was reset. One big problem we found with Chrome OS was the lack of shut down/logout/reset options. Our VirtualBox instance also had the annoying habit of ignoring any input after switching between workspaces on the OS X host we were using. This meant we reset Chrome OS quite often using VirtualBox's reset option. Chrome OS did respond properly to an ACPI shut-down request though.
The Chrome OS options tab include setting the time zone and options for the touch pad. Remember that those top four time zones are US-based, so Eastern Standard Time isn't what you think it is.
The basics tab gives the ability to change the default search engine from Google, to either Bing or Yahoo. With the ability to change default browser to inactive, which is thankful as Chrome OS only comes with Chrome.
The "About Chromium" window. We finally get to see some window decorations here.
Chrome retains the ability to save a web page, and is one of the few instances that the user would deal with the file system. We did have issues upon saving, with the browser looking as if it did save the web page, but attempting to reopen it crashed the browser.
In this screenshot, we are poking around the file system to see what we can see; however, the dialog is statically positioned and hence the normal GTK file-saving dialog is chopped and immovable.
A much easier way to poke around the file system is by using