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Google starts Chrome OS pilot, opens Web Store

Sets cloud computing wheels in motion

Google Chrome OS Laptop

After confirming that Chrome OS will not launch this year, Google announced a pilot program for its new operating system and a Chrome Web Store to champion web-based applications.

Participants in the pilot, which fans can apply to join on the Chrome OS website, will receive a 12.1-inch test laptop that has ‘no branding, no logos, no stickers, nothing’. 

The laptop has a full-sized keyboard and touchpad, and features integrated 3G. Google claims the test laptops will last eight hours on a single charge, and eight days if left in standby. The laptop is known only as the ‘Cr-48 Chrome Notebook’.

Connections on the laptop include a memory card slot, an audio jack, a USB port and a VGA video output. Pilot program members will be expected to offer regular feedback on their experience, and Google says Acer and Samsung will release Chrome OS laptops for consumers ‘in the first half of next year.’

Writing in a blog post, Google said Chrome laptops are ‘designed to reach the web instantly, are easy to share among friends and family, and simply by logging in, all of your apps, bookmarks and other browser settings are there’.

Interested in buying a laptop or netbook? Read our guides on how to buy the best laptop, and how to buy the best netbook.

Google Chrome OS Laptop Keyboard

What is Chrome OS?

Chrome OS is Google’s own operating system, and is based on its popular Chrome web browser. Instead of using traditional applications, Chrome OS laptops will boot directly to the browser and users must use ‘web apps’ to perform tasks. 

Due to its relative simplicity, Chrome OS is touted as being extremely fast to boot. Moreover, due to the lack of native applications that must be installed, Google reckons ‘there is no consumer or business operating system that is more secure.’

Chrome Web Store

Google also announced a web store for its Chrome web browser. Some applications are designed specifically for Chrome, but most are online applications that can be used on any browser that supports advanced technologies such as HTML5. Most major browsers, including Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer (latest versions only) and Opera, support HTML5.

Though the store, which Google hopes will help champion online applications in a similar way mobile app stores have on iOS and Android, is only officially available to US users, anyone can view it by visiting https://chrome.google.com/webstore

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