Skip to main content

Google Takes Chrome OS Open Source

googlechrome
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Internet titan Google has lifted the veil on its much-anticipated Chrome OS project…in part by releasing the project as open source under the name Chromium OS to encourage developers and partners to hop on board. In doing so, Google has also revealed some of what will be included in Chrome OS when it hits the streets a year from now…and what users won’t be seeing.

First of all, Google envisions Chrome essentially as a Web-only experience: although users will be able to connect USB mass storage devices like cameras, thumb drives, and phones to devices running Chrome OS, there will be no “desktop experience” like most modern operating systems: instead, everything will take place inside a Chrome-based browser. All applications will be Web applications, and users will never have to deal with a file system or the complicated processes of installing and managing applications.

Google is also gearing the Chrome OS for speed, with the idea that users should be able to turn on a Chrome OS device and be surfing the Web in just a few seconds. And security is at the forefront of Google’s efforts: every time Chrome boots it verifies the integrity of its code base and running each application in its own security sandbox so, even if an individual app gets compromised, it will be very difficult for malware or viruses to impact the Chrome OS device.

The Chrome OS’s model essentially uses local storage only for caching and to speed operations: the entire operating system is geared to store individual users’ data in cloud-based applications and services. This is handy for people who need to tap into their online lives from a variety of machines and locations, but also means that Chrome will decidedly not be appropriate for everybody.

Google is working with hardware developers to outline requirements for Chrome OS-based device, and expects Chrome OS will start reaching consumers in about a year.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Geoff Duncan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Geoff Duncan writes, programs, edits, plays music, and delights in making software misbehave. He's probably the only member…
Google Gemini vs. GPT-4: Which is the best AI?
A person typing on a laptop that is showing the ChatGPT generative AI website.

Google's Gemini artificial intelligence and OpenAI's ChatGPT that uses the GPT-4 model are two of the most advanced artificial intelligence (AI) solutions available today. They can comprehend and interact with text, images, video, audio, and code, as well as output various alterations of each. they also provide expertise that would cost a lot to replicate with an expert human.

But if you're weighing which tool to put your time and energies into learning how to use, you want to pick the best one. Which is the more capable AI tool? Gemini or GPT-4?
Availability and pricing
Gemini is available in Pro and Nano form, though Ultra has yet to be released. Image used with permission by copyright holder

Read more
Google just settled a $5B privacy suit involving Chrome browser
The Google Chrome logo on a smartphone.

Google has agreed to settle a $5 billion lawsuit brought by claimants who accused the web giant of privacy invasion by tracking their online activities despite being in “incognito mode” when using the company’s Chrome browser.

After lawyers announced on Thursday that they’d reached a preliminary agreement, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers put a scheduled trial for the case in California on hold, Reuters reported.

Read more
Chrome is still a RAM killer, but this new feature would be a huge help
Google Chrome icon in mac dock.

Google’s Chrome browser is infamous for consuming a lot of RAM. While recent updates have attempted to solve this problem from a technical side, a new feature may put more of the management in the hands of the user.
With the latest beta version of Chrome Canary, users can now simply hover their mouse cursor over a tab to gain access to real-time memory usage of that specific tab.
Up until now, you had to dig into the Chrome Task Manager to see how much memory each tab is consuming. But as reported by Windows Central, the new feature would give you quick and direct access to this important information. The prototype feature was first posted on X (formerly Twitter) by user Leopeva64 and showed the tab RAM usage.

Of course, it only gives a small overview and doesn’t offer the same detailed information (such as running processes, tabs, and extensions0 as the built-in task manager.
Practically speaking, having a small indicator on the top is going to make the process of clearing unwanted tabs a lot easier. The new feature is also said to inform users about whether Chrome's Memory saver feature has actively frozen a tab to save memory similar to Microsoft Edge's Sleeping tabs feature. Of course, this feature only works when a certain tab is inactive for a long period of time. 
Google is said to be testing this feature, but if you are using version 117 on the Stable Channel, you may get access to it. To enable the memory usage feature, head to Chrome://flags and search for Show memory usage in hovercards. Select the dropdown and enable it. A quick restart may also be required.
Recently, we saw Google testing on a feature that helps organize tabs in a more efficient way. Using the Organize Tabs features, the browser attempts to reorder your tabs into groups of similar pages. It even lets you rename these groups, and create tab groups automatically once it has categorized your tabs.

Read more