Google released the source code for Chrome OS on Thursday, beginning the process of producing a browser-based operating system by the end of 2010 for lower-end PCs called Netbooks. Although Linux runs under the covers, the applications all run within Google's browser.
The upper-left corner has an applications menu with links to a variety of Web applications. Those applications can be permanently lodged as narrow tabs between that menu and ordinary browser tabs.
Although screen real estate is tight--especially given the presence of a clock and status icons to indicate Wi-Fi connections and the like in the upper right--more than one browser can be open at a time even if others are hidden in the background.
Chrome OS, like Chrome, devotes almost all its real estate to the contents of the browser window. That leaves maximum room for Web applications such as Google's search site.
Google said it won't use Chrome OS as a vehicle for advertisements. As with many other projects, it leads to Web sites such as search, YouTube, and Gmail that feature their own ads in the Web content.