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A quick look at Google Chrome OS (photos)

Google's conversion of Chrome from mere browser to mighty operating system isn't fully baked yet, although the company did demo what it can do at an event in San Francisco today. Preview some of Chrome OS's features in this slideshow.

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Seth Rosenblatt
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1 of 13 Rafe Needleman/CNET

Welcome to Chrome the OS

When you launch a laptop running Google's Chrome OS for the first time, it will walk you through a simple and short registration process that begins with connecting to the Internet.
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2 of 13 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

The ubiquitous license agreement

Like Chrome the browser, Chrome the OS will also require users to agree to an end user license agreement before they can use the computer.
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3 of 13 Rafe Needleman/CNET

Sign in

You can sign in to Chrome OS using your existing Google account. If you purchase apps from the Chrome Web Store now and then get a Chrome OS computer next year, your apps will sync to the new laptop instantly.
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4 of 13 Rafe Needleman/CNET

Your avatar is you

Chrome OS laptops will all come with Web cams, and users will be asked to take a photo of themselves to use as their avatar. It's not clear if the Chrome OS avatar will override your current Google one.
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5 of 13 Rafe Needleman/CNET

Browser-based cloud computing

If you're familiar with Chrome as a browser and smartphone-style apps, you ought to have a fairly gentle learning curve for Chrome OS. The apps are front and center, while tabs and controls are up at the top and in the corner.
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6 of 13 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Chrome compare

Google representatives demonstrated that syncing apps between a Windows 7 computer (left) and the CR-48 Chrome OS laptop (right) took about 20 seconds.
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7 of 13 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Minor interface changes

There's not much that appears to differentiate Chrome from Chrome OS. In the upper right corner of the screen, you can find the clock, battery, and Wi-Fi signal indicator.
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8 of 13 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Mobile signal

The Wi-Fi indicator will have this green icon superimposed on it when you're running from Verizon's network, as opposed to Wi-Fi.
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9 of 13 Rafe Needleman/CNET

Multiple users

Chrome OS will support multiple user accounts that instantly sync user-specific apps.
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10 of 13 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Guests go incognito

Chrome OS also ships with a guest account option. This will open by default into Chrome trackless Incognito mode, saving both computer owner and computer borrower the hassle of clearing out unwanted data or programs.
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11 of 13 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Print comes to Chrome

Long in the works for Chrome the browser, Chrome OS will have the cloud printing option that Google hopes to use to drastically reduce the need for device drivers.
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12 of 13 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

Legacy apps live

Citrix has been working with Google on an enterprise version of Chrome OS that allows companies to use traditional desktop programs, such as Microsoft Excel.

In the demo we observed, this worked better in theory than in practice, with some definite observable bugs in resource-intensive programs such as SolidWorks.

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13 of 13 Rafe Needleman/CNET

Chrome cupcakes

Google celebrated the launch of the browser Chrome with a comic book by Scott McCloud. This "soft" launch of Chrome the operating system was heralded by Chrome stencils and cupcakes.

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