What you Need to Know about Google’s Chrome OS

Google (s goog) held their developer and press event today to show off the upcoming Google Chrome operating system. The source code for Chrome OS is open source and available as of today, so theoretically, you can build your own Chrome OS. However, the actual release isn’t planned until late in 2010.

Some takeaways from the live stream that I watched:

  • Every application in Chrome OS will be a web-based application — there won’t be any local apps installed
  • You can pin shortcuts to apps in the browser
  • Fast boot times (under 7 seconds) will be partially due to the light environment, but also due to the requirement for Solid State Disk storage
  • No mention of smartbooks; Chrome OS looks targeted solely for netbooks
  • Support for X86 and ARM, so there’s still hope for smartbooks running Chrome OS
  • All Google apps you see today will look and behave exactly the same in Chrome OS
  • Android apps will not be compatible — remember, no local apps installed.
  • Google will actually sell the netbook hardware work with partners on the hardware that runs the operating system
  • Main use case for Chrome OS requires connectivity, such as Wi-Fi. Google is planning for 802.11n support
  • Chrome OS devices aren’t intended to be your primary machine. Google assumes you have a second computer at home or work
  • Google was coy on device pricing but said to expect prices that customers are used to today. I take that to be around $300 to $400
  • Local user data is simply stored in a cache. The book of record for your data will be on Google’s servers
  • You won’t need a Chrome OS machine to use it. Most all of the Chrome OS features will be baked into the Chrome browser.
  • Interesting approach to security: Chrome OS barely trusts itself. Every time you restart your computer the operating system verifies the integrity of its code. If your system has been compromised, it is designed to fix itself with a reboot.”

There’s more info to digest, which I’ll be doing over the afternoon. Suffice it to say, Chrome OS isn’t an “operating system” by traditional standards. This is more of a paradigm shift to determine what an OS is and a way to get consumers more reliant on the web where possible. In some sense, I feel that this is more bare-bones than I wanted to see. But that feeling comes from how we’ve defined an operating system up to now. I’m planning to step back and re-think my point of view because I’ve always felt that I can live in a browser. I did it before for 60-days with a safety net — the question now is: can I do it without the net?