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Google Chrome OS review: First Look

We review a compiled version of Google Chrome OS to get a taste of what the new operating system has in store for us.

The only other signs of the OS are on the right in the form of small tabs for the battery level of your machine, turning wireless on and off and basic OS settings. From here you can actually tell the Chrome browser to use a different default search engine, with Yahoo and Bing the choices, which seems like fair play.

Remarkably, there's also an option to make Chromium my default browser', which would imply that you could use something else if you wanted. As such we went off to try and install Firefox but, as you can see from our screen shot, we got rather unexpected results.

install_firefox

In virtual mode there's not at this point a lot else to see. Flash-based video works, but as it's running in a VM, it's too slow to use.

If you want to get technical, (and you've come this far so why not), you can enter File:// to see the file system, and press Shift-space to see memory usage.

We'll continue to play and try out the USB based version, as in a virtual machine it's not possible to experience that sense of speed that Google is aiming for. However, one does get a sense of it though from the speedy boot times and it's hinted at from the stripped down approach.

We can see how this will work for netbooks, and those who spend most of their time online, but that isn't everyone right now. As it stands, it's hard to see this as the business OS of the future.

Verdict

Google OS is clearly an exercise in subtlety, and its approach is a departure not just from Windows but from conventional Linux as well. Its stripped down approach looks as though it will deliver the experience that Google claims it will but it’s hard to be too impressed at this early stage.

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