Google Chrome OS - first look

Oh ho. The full, finalised Google Chrome OS might not be popping up on new netbooks until next year, but Chromium OS, the open source project behind it, is already out to test. We’ve fired it up in the virtual sandbox to give you a preview of what to expect. Read on for pics and first impressions!

If you know how to virtualise an operating system, you can find images of Google Chrome OS floating around already online, along with instructions (Here). It’s fairly quick to setup, and should run on both PC and Mac using the free Virtualbox software, although we’ve found logging in to be impossible on one MacBook Pro due to wobbly network drivers.

Once you’re in, however, Google Chrome OS looks just how you’d expect. It’s largely the Chrome browser, but with the top status bar included, proving those early Chrome OS screenshots were legit. You’ll find the launch button for core Google apps in the top left hand corner, however we were unable to login. It seems Google’s not ready to lift the lid on all its Chrome OS features just yet.

Google Chrome OS kills the desktop

We did however give Google Chrome OS a thorough going over otherwise, finding that you can’t adjust resolution at the moment, sound doesn’t work on virtualised systems, and there’s no software shut down option, we’re still positive about this early build.

Web browsing and Google apps such as Maps and YouTube work fine, drop down suggestions appear in the browser bar, and you’re able to browse your local storage within the browser, as you can see in the shots. It also picked up the power consumption on our laptop perfectly, telling us how much juice we had left, and even accurately predicting the time it’d take to be fully charged.

Bearing in mind we were running Google Chrome OS virtualised, it loaded incredibly quickly – about the 7 seconds advertised to get to the browser/desktop screen with 1GB of system memory allocated, which is even faster than Android loaded on the Acer Aspire One D250 we just reviewed. We love the simplicity of the options – it’s smart, but it’s still a true OS for dummies.

There don’t seem to be any methods to natively install Google Chrome OS just yet, but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as you can play with it properly on your Eee PC. In the meantime, check out our preview shots right here.

Out TBC | £TBC | Google

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