3 min read

ChromeOS Did Lots of Growing Up in Its First Decade

Those who weren't particularly internet savvy back in 2011 may be unaware of the huge step Google took when it launched its own operating system.

Up until then, Google was still known fairly exclusively as a search engine. Of course, they were a behemoth of a search engine, with millions of users per day and complete domination of the search engine market for almost ten years.

However, their launch of ChromeOS over a decade ago changed the industry and how we use the internet to this day. Since then, ChromeOS did some growing up.


Born from a Web Browser

Google ChromeOS was revolutionary for a few reasons, one of the most notable being its browser-based design.

While ChromeOS was built on a Linux kernel, it was designed as a browser extension. With this system, Google was the first to launch a mainstream cloud-based and browser-exclusive OS.

The Chrome system utilized the growing popularity of cloud computing to create an OS that didn't rely on local data. The revolutionary interface allowed users to use entirely web-based applications, removing the need for downloads or much memory usage. 


Evolving Beyond the Web Browser

With their ChromeOS launch, Google brought cloud computing technology into the average household. They took it a step further by partnering with laptop manufacturers to create models that were built to run exclusively on a Chrome operating system instead of Windows or Linux.

The availability of Chromebooks took Google's OS from a novelty available only to tech influencers to an easily accessible technology anyone could use.


Google's ChromeOS Climb

While the early days of ChromeOS may have been revolutionary, ChromeOS-based devices were still criticized for their limited functionality in comparison to non-cloud-based operating systems. Google quickly worked to change that, continuing to update Chrome with regular new features and an expanded design.

The introduction of a window manager and task bar was followed by the ability to support Android apps with the inclusion of Android's Google Play store. After introducing the Crouton utility to allow Linux apps, they eventually announced the ability to run native Linux programs in 2018.

Today, Chromebook users enjoy Android app support as well as Linux apps on their ChromeOS devices.


What Makes ChromeOS Devices Superior

Current Chromebooks boast lightweight designs and low prices compared to similar models with traditional operating systems. Security has always been a standout feature of ChromeOS devices. Chromebooks have built-in sandboxing, data encryption, automatic security updates, and verified booting.

In the decade-plus that Chromebooks have been available, there has never been a single case of a device falling victim to a virus, malware, or hacking attempt. The most recent version of Chromebooks has a smart lock feature that utilizes a user's Android phone as a key to unlock their device.

ChromeOS devices were early adopters of touchscreen technology and continue to boast many touchscreen-enabled computers and tablets. The extended battery life of Chromebooks currently clocks in at around 12 hours before needing a change.

One of the initial draws to Chrome-enabled devices was the quick set-up time. In fact, when you manage ChromeOS devices using the Google Admin console, the results are clear. Managed ChromeOS devices see a 76% time savings deployment compared to Windows devices. Because of the cloud-based programs, the OS requires little in the way of downloads and set-up. It also boasts a lightning-quick startup speed of under 10 seconds.


Taking on Windows and MacOS

Today, Chrome is a powerhouse that rivals Windows and MacOS in popularity. The continued production and evolution of Chromebooks and other ChromeOS native devices have made it a popular choice for users who primarily run web-based applications. Now, customers even have the option of purchasing Chrome devices with applications that run offline, eliminating the need for an internet connection entirely.

Additionally, the release of ChromeOS Flex finally allows users to install ChromeOS on any device, even those built on Windows or MacOS. The combined affordability, ease of use, and continued upgrades have taken ChromeOS from a quirky browser-based OS to one of the most popular operating systems in the world.


Why Promevo?

Whether you’re looking to add Chromebooks to your organization, or need support navigating ChromeOS and other Google tools, Promevo can help.

As a certified Google partner, Promevo helps teams get the most out of their Google journey. Our expert technicians help you harness the robust capabilities of Google to reinvent the way you do business and accelerate the growth of your company.


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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does ChromeOS cost?

ChromeOS is an open-source operating system that is completely free to use. One of the reasons Chromebooks are less expensive than their competitor counterparts is because they utilize this free operating system.

You can purchase upgrade bundles from Google to use with ChromeOS, such as Chrome Enterprise Upgrade or Chrome Education Upgrade, but they are not necessary to utilize full ChromeOS functionality.

Is ChromeOS a safe operating system?

The Chrome operating system is incredibly safe. It has built-in sandboxing, data encryption, automatic security updates, and verified booting.

In the decade-plus that Chromebooks have been available, there has never been a single case of a device falling victim to a virus, malware, or hacking attempt. 

What is the difference between ChromeOS and Flex?

ChromeOS is only available for use on Chromebooks. ChromeOS Flex is a version of Chrome that can be run on any device, including those with Windows and MacOS.

ChromeOS Flex is very similar to the original operating system but does not come with Google's security chip for verified booting. This means it is less secure than the Chromebook version of the operating system. When utilizing ChromeOS Flex you also do not get support from the Google Play store. 

How old is ChromeOS?

Google's Chrome operating system is over a decade old. It was launched in 2011, and its Chromebooks were released later the same year. ChromeOS Flex was released in 2022 for use on all devices. The Chrome browser itself was released by Google back in 2008. 


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