CNET First Look
Google unleashes Chrome OS betaGoogle's browser-based operating system isn't quite ready for a mass-market debut, but that hasn't stopped the company from distributing a limited number of specially designed laptops running Chrome OS. Take a tour of what's similar and what's new in...
If you love to Chrome the browser, you're about to fall in love with Chrome new operating system. I am Seth Rosenblatt for cnetdownload.com. In this first look video, I'll be showing you around Google's better release of the Chrome OS. There's not a whole lot new here. Chrome OS feels and looks almost exactly like Chrome, the browser. The Cr-48, Google's demo notebook prototype of what consumers can expect in this summer of 2011 in the computer we've got here is powerful enough that the operating system wakes from sleep instantly. Currently, Chrome OS is running the stable version 8 of the Chrome browser and that's expected to change as the browser updates: extensions, bookmarks, settings. Anything that you've synced in Chrome will be instantly available in Chrome OS. The settings window has been expanded to accommodate the requirements of a full operating system, although there doesn't seem to be a way to change the clock to 24 hours. Chrome web apps play a big role in the Chrome OS. The apps become essential quick linked from new tab window to your e-mail, your productivity suite, notepad, instant messaging, video and voice calling, and other programs that most people are used to being separate from the browser. The Chrome web store link gets you access to even more. Another nifty feature of the operating system is the logon procedure. When you first open the laptop, it asked for your Google user name and password, and then takes a photo of you with a dedicated webcam. Chrome OS supports multiple accounts and has a guess account option that opens the entire OS in incognito mode, Chrome's track list browsing option. The Cr-48 laptop, the only computer that currently shifts with no Chrome OS comes with keys that are indelibly tied to an operating system that's also a browser. The function keys have been replaced with dedicated navigation buttons, back, forward, refresh, full screen, and next window controls. Yes, you can not only open a new browser tab, but a new window as well. The Caps lock key has been replaced by a dedicated search key that opens a new tab and puts the cursor in the location bar. You can change this back to Caps lock if you're really in to it. There are tons of hot keys that have been mapped to this laptop and they make a huge difference; Ctrl, Alt and question mark, to see an overlay map that reveals them all, including ones for taking screen shots, revealing the task manager and printer. Right now, Chrome OS is only available on the Cr-48 laptop. Of course, you can download and install Chrome OS' open-source parent Chromium OS on most laptops or desktops. For CNET with the first look at Chrome OS, I'm Seth Rosenblatt.