Google just held a press conference on their Chrome OS. It was information packed. Here’s a dump of what they talked about.

Google Chrome OS Webcast

###Overview

  • Still a year away from release.
  • Source code released today (http://src.chromium.org/). Development will be public.
  • Google Chrome is the foundation of Google OS.
  • Chrome has 40 million “primary” users, people who have Chrome as their primary browser.
  • Chrome for Linux is the foundation of Chrome OS.
  • Chrome OS is based around HTML5 (graphics, threads, database storage, etc.).
  • Chrome OS is a response to “perfect storm of converging trends”, rise of the netbook, growth of the cloud and always-on devices (netbooks with 3G and smart phones).
  • Chrome OS is a “better model” to meet this changing environment. It’s speed, simplicity and security.
  • Chrome OS needs to be very fast - starts fast and runs fast.

###The Applications

  • Everything in Chrome OS is a web application. Users don’t install software or update it.
  • Chrome OS is a browser with modifications.
  • All data in Chrome OS is in the cloud. Users should be able to just swap machines.
  • Security is built in from the ground up. Everything runs inside the browser security model.
  • Chrome OS already cold boots in 7 seconds - intention is to reduce that more.
  • Chrome OS intentionally looks like a browser.
  • Applications can be pinned to tabs.
  • There’s a dedicated tab that has a menu of applications.
  • Some applications can run in “panels”, small windows - media player and chat are examples.
  • All data is in the cloud. Editing text files is editing them in the cloud.
  • Apps can go full screen.
  • Can have multiple Chrome “windows”, groups of tabs. There’s an Exposé-like mode to move tabs between windows.
  • All public web apps can be used as applications in Chrome OS. Demo was opening up an Excel file with Microsoft’s Live web app.
  • Everything that works in Chrome works in Chrome OS. That includes Flash and video/audio codecs.

###The Kernel

  • Chrome OS should feel more like a TV then a computer. Everything should just work.
  • Local storage is flash. No hard drives.
  • Going with the “Apple model”. They’re tailoring the OS to the hardware and throwing out legacy hardware. No BIOS.
  • Everything has cryptographic signatures to ensure nothing has been tampered with.
  • Conventional security model is that applications run with the same privileges and power as you. Chrome OS uses the browser model. Applications aren’t trusted.
  • Extends Chrome browser sandbox model further. Known programs are further isolated.
  • File system is locked down. Read-only root file system. Data encryption. Data synced to the cloud.
  • All user data is encrypted.
  • Machines are interchangeable since all data is synced. A new machine will look just like your old one after it is synced with the cloud. Data can be cached on the device.
  • Incorporated code from Linux, Ubuntu, Moblin, WebKit and others.
  • Will run on x86 and ARM.
  • Will support printers and printing.

###Intentions

  • Chrome OS is being designed against reference hardware.
  • Google is working with OEMs to create Chrome OS devices. Chrome OS isn’t designed for existing devices. To get Chrome OS you’ll have to buy a Chrome OS device.
  • Pushing code back upstream to open source projects that are being used by Chrome OS.
  • To develop Chrome OS you’ll need one of a short list of existing netbooks (demo was on EEE PC). You can also run it in a VM.
  • They made a very high-level video to explain the vision and concepts (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QRO3gKj3qw).
  • Google wants the devices to have full-size keyboards.
  • Working with w3c to standardize as much as they can.
  • Initial expectation is that the device will be a second, “companion”, device.
  • Codecs will be hardware accelerated.
  • Improvements in Chrome OS will also make their way to Chrome.
  • Certain, “select”, plug-ins will be incorporated into Chrome OS, e.g., Flash (and maybe Silverlight).

###Comments

  • You don’t really have overlapping windows. Panels are the only thing that overlap and they overlap the Chrome window.
  • “System software” will probably be Chrome extensions, JavaScript (and HTML) that has access to functions that aren’t accessible by applications.
  • This has been a long time coming. It’s what Google has been moving toward for a while. The more people on the net, the more ads they see, the more money Google makes.

Lots more information here - http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os