Google’s “Chrome” Web Browser an Operating System?

Google is expected to release their own version of a web browser today, titled Google Chrome. Chrome is an open source web browser, introduced with a comic book.

chrome

Mozilla’s Firefox is funded almost exclusively by Google through a deal that runs through 2011. This agreement defaults Google as Firefox’s homepage, and search. While Mozilla ought to be worried, Google Chrome is an assault on the entire browser market. With 60% of the search market share, Google has plenty of opportunity to promote its own browser. This places not only Firefox, but also Internet Explorer, Opera, and other browsers in it’s crosshairs.

This surprise announcement, has also lead many to wonder if Google might also have its sights set on a bigger target. A Google operating system. Maybe Chrome is Google’s operating system?

Google’s vision of the future includes a cloud computer, where applications are run from the cloud, or Internet. This requires a less sophisticated client that could bypasses the operating system and require only a web browser. Google’s Chrome sets the stage for that scenario. One of the groundbreaking features of Chrome is that each tab is run as it’s own process. That sounds less browser like, and more like how an operating system works. When’s the last time you saw a browser with it’s own task manager? From Google’s Chrome announcement:

…we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what we set out to build.

Is it a browser? Is it an operating system? Further evidence of operating system roots is their decision to rewrite the JavaScript engine. While they could have used the open source code that was already available, they wrote an engine that communicates directly with the CPU, hinting at bigger plans:

v8

Today Chrome requires Windows to run. Linux and Apple versions are planned soon. Google’s Android phone is almost certainly going to run some flavor of it. Could the Google Chrome web browser be a Trojan Horse for Google’s operating system? How long will it be until we see a version of Chrome that boots on your computer without Windows?

  • Troy

    This looks like a great OS for some of the new Atom-powered nettops and netbooks coming out on the market now.

  • Troy

    This looks like a great OS for some of the new Atom-powered nettops and netbooks coming out on the market now.

  • Paige

    Oh, I just can't wait to see the "nasties" (malware) that are written to take advantage of a "web browser" that directly accesses a computer's CPU!

  • Paige

    Oh, I just can't wait to see the "nasties" (malware) that are written to take advantage of a "web browser" that directly accesses a computer's CPU!

  • I think that would be awesome if Google Chrome won't just be a plain browser but it has a capability to communicate directly with the CPU to be more of an OS like.

  • I think that would be awesome if Google Chrome won't just be a plain browser but it has a capability to communicate directly with the CPU to be more of an OS like.

  • Topaz

    I have to say I'm surprised at the lack of comment raised here . Maybe people are still in shock concerning Google's release of Chrome Web browser and waiting for the dust to settle ? Firstly , why would Google release a Browser ? With all the inevitable teething and security problems that will occur ...
    Simply they've taken (literally) code from Firefox 3 stripped out the Gecko rendering engine and replaced it with WebKit rendering engine, so its using the same tech as their upcoming Android platform (technically its more standards complient than gecko is), it natively leverages their gears tech and has a nice sandbox feature for when “pages go’s bad” not bringing your entire browser down just the tab.
    Why would Google push their own browser?
    They are not worried about IE .... they are worried about Firefox getting market share! ( My opinion , thankyou )
    [Please note this is all just my opinion , and I take full responsibility for stating my opinions. I've gleened this information from the Web , just as anybody else could , funnily enough using Google's Search Engine , comprehending the information and delivering any third party info in my own words .]
    Yes GoogleChrome is fast, has new features like sandboxing against malware, but all you do with/in it is irrevocably fully owned by Google and they agreed to pay you not even a meagre cent for it. When you use it you also agree to a browser that has keylogger features. With Google you can get in, but you never get out. Just typing the queries in the URL bar there and the sandboxed tabs (one tab crashes the others go on) are nice features. Google found that IE8 privacy measures and Firefox NoScript and ABP (AdBlock+) etc. were undercutting the business they are in, e.g. "taking your surfing habits and make money with that". If you know what GoogleChrome does and are aware of these implications, it is alright. The EULA says it all , so if you install Google Chrome you have agreed to all the points of interest I've mentioned .
    With Chrome, Google will be able to tie the browser, search and applications together, providing an end-to-end experience on which to place more search, display and other ads in front of users.
    One day after Google's beta launch of the Web browser Sept. 2, users complained that Section 11 of the end-user license agreement gave Google too much control over information after it was entered into the browser.
    Google has included some extremely harsh terminology in their user license that gives them ownership of content you view through the viewer , that could include source code, proprietary information stored in PDFs viewed online and other property.
    A Google spokesperson has said Google has since updated the language in Section 11, which was culled from Google's broad Universal Terms of Service, used for many of Google's products.
    Section 11.1 now reads: "You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."

    GChrome BETA browser is a sieve security wise. During the passed five days these exploits have been found .
    Inspect Element DoS Exploit

    A HREF Denial of Service Exploit

    (SaveAs) Remote BOF Exploit

    (1583) Remote Silent Crash PoC

    Automatic File Download Exploit

    Malicious link DoS Vulnerability

    My personal feeling is that the Google Chrome Browser could have waited for more research to be done before release . The automatic updater will patch the holes in the near future however.
    For those thrillseekers / Google Chrome testers :
    http://search.securityfocus.com/swsearch?sbm=%2F&metaname=alldoc&query=Google+Chrome&x=16&y=4
    I do not like to link to offsite security sites but a secure browser is everyones right , and vulnerabilities should not be secret . ( there's not a lot that is secret online ! )

  • Topaz

    I have to say I'm surprised at the lack of comment raised here . Maybe people are still in shock concerning Google's release of Chrome Web browser and waiting for the dust to settle ? Firstly , why would Google release a Browser ? With all the inevitable teething and security problems that will occur ...
    Simply they've taken (literally) code from Firefox 3 stripped out the Gecko rendering engine and replaced it with WebKit rendering engine, so its using the same tech as their upcoming Android platform (technically its more standards complient than gecko is), it natively leverages their gears tech and has a nice sandbox feature for when “pages go’s bad” not bringing your entire browser down just the tab.
    Why would Google push their own browser?
    They are not worried about IE .... they are worried about Firefox getting market share! ( My opinion , thankyou )
    [Please note this is all just my opinion , and I take full responsibility for stating my opinions. I've gleened this information from the Web , just as anybody else could , funnily enough using Google's Search Engine , comprehending the information and delivering any third party info in my own words .]
    Yes GoogleChrome is fast, has new features like sandboxing against malware, but all you do with/in it is irrevocably fully owned by Google and they agreed to pay you not even a meagre cent for it. When you use it you also agree to a browser that has keylogger features. With Google you can get in, but you never get out. Just typing the queries in the URL bar there and the sandboxed tabs (one tab crashes the others go on) are nice features. Google found that IE8 privacy measures and Firefox NoScript and ABP (AdBlock+) etc. were undercutting the business they are in, e.g. "taking your surfing habits and make money with that". If you know what GoogleChrome does and are aware of these implications, it is alright. The EULA says it all , so if you install Google Chrome you have agreed to all the points of interest I've mentioned .
    With Chrome, Google will be able to tie the browser, search and applications together, providing an end-to-end experience on which to place more search, display and other ads in front of users.
    One day after Google's beta launch of the Web browser Sept. 2, users complained that Section 11 of the end-user license agreement gave Google too much control over information after it was entered into the browser.
    Google has included some extremely harsh terminology in their user license that gives them ownership of content you view through the viewer , that could include source code, proprietary information stored in PDFs viewed online and other property.
    A Google spokesperson has said Google has since updated the language in Section 11, which was culled from Google's broad Universal Terms of Service, used for many of Google's products.
    Section 11.1 now reads: "You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."

    GChrome BETA browser is a sieve security wise. During the passed five days these exploits have been found .
    Inspect Element DoS Exploit

    A HREF Denial of Service Exploit

    (SaveAs) Remote BOF Exploit

    (1583) Remote Silent Crash PoC

    Automatic File Download Exploit

    Malicious link DoS Vulnerability

    My personal feeling is that the Google Chrome Browser could have waited for more research to be done before release . The automatic updater will patch the holes in the near future however.
    For those thrillseekers / Google Chrome testers :
    http://search.securityfocus.com/swsearch?sbm=%2F&metaname=alldoc&query=Google+Chrome&x=16&y=4
    I do not like to link to offsite security sites but a secure browser is everyones right , and vulnerabilities should not be secret . ( there's not a lot that is secret online ! )

  • Spike

    Here's another OS that's orientated around Google...

    http://www.thinkgos.com/

    I tried it out, not really my type of thing! But for your average user that doesn't need to do much with a computer, this is a very user friendly OS.

    The idea of Google making a web based OS is exciting though... I'm always eager to see new things coming out of Google... You got to give them one thing at least Topaz, they are extremely innovative!

  • Spike

    Here's another OS that's orientated around Google...

    http://www.thinkgos.com/

    I tried it out, not really my type of thing! But for your average user that doesn't need to do much with a computer, this is a very user friendly OS.

    The idea of Google making a web based OS is exciting though... I'm always eager to see new things coming out of Google... You got to give them one thing at least Topaz, they are extremely innovative!

  • MadGeologist

    Hmmm, keylogger....
    Didja also notice that the "amended" EULA specifically states it only applies to stuff the chromer ALREADY holds rights to?

    What really worries me is Google's "agreement" with Homeland Security to spy on googlers,which will be given immense new tools with the DIStribution of Chrome.

    ---without the source code, you never REALLY know

  • MadGeologist

    Hmmm, keylogger....
    Didja also notice that the "amended" EULA specifically states it only applies to stuff the chromer ALREADY holds rights to?

    What really worries me is Google's "agreement" with Homeland Security to spy on googlers,which will be given immense new tools with the DIStribution of Chrome.

    ---without the source code, you never REALLY know

  • I still like firefox.