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Chrome Cr-48, black MacBook: Separated at birth?

The Chrome OS notebook that Google is shipping to pilot program members looks extremely similar to the black MacBook Apple shipped in 2007. Some side-by-side pics.

MacBook and Cr-48.
Josh Miller/CNET

The all-black Cr-48 that Google is shipping to the first members of its Chrome OS notebook pilot project looked awfully familiar to us when it showed up at our office.

Software aside, after putting it side by side with a black MacBook that Apple shipped in 2007 we had in house, it dawned on us why: the two are practically twins. Not identical, but at least fraternal. The overall look is shockingly similar to Apple's now-extinct machine: from the color to the chiclet keyboard to the hinge, size, trackpad, even to the indentation in the place where you lift the lid. Well, see for yourself. We took some photos of the two machines next to each other for you to peruse.

Now, if you go deeper than a first glance and break out a ruler, you'll see that there are some differences between the two externally. While the hinges look practically the same size, they aren't: 6.5 inches on the MacBook to 6 inches on the Cr-48. And the screen sizes vary slightly: The Chromebook's measures 4.5 inches by 7.5 inches, and the MacBook's 5.25 inches by 8.5 inches.

The trackpads, however, are equal in size--though not in function: in 2007, Apple had not yet introduced its clickable touchpad-as-button, which the Chrome notebook utilizes.

Of course there are some pretty big functional differences too: Google has nixed the disk drive, Ethernet port, and all but one USB port, but does include an SD card slot. The 3-year old Mac notebook also has those pesky caps lock and function keys that Google has eliminated.

But what's inside these two machines is obviously where the key difference lays: Apple has the fully-featured Mac OS X desktop operating system powering its notebook, while Google's test hardware is wrapped around its brand new Web browser-based operating system, Chrome OS.