All about Google Chrome & Google Chrome OS

27 Apr 12 Google Chrome OS: A New Aura

The promise of “cloud computing” is becoming a little more real every day.


Earlier this week, computing giant Google announced their cloud services aptly named Google Drive. And now we’re getting a glimpse of development related to another part of the puzzle – Google-branded hardware devices made especially to utilize cloud computing.


Google’s Chrome OS, and Chromebook computers which run it, have been with us for awhile now. In the beginning, the Chrome operating system was nothing more than a glorified Web browser with a bunch of downloadable, add-on applet. Those apps let you do a number of computing chores online.


Chromebook devices come with little-to-no internal storage. The idea was (and is) to store your stuff (such as Google Docs) in the Google cloud.


Google is now busy working to make the Chrome OS more “user friendly” for people who prefer turning on their computers and seeing a home screen with icons. The new software design is called “Aura” and, as you can see above, it sports a very familiar look.


Chrome OS still opens the Chrome browser when it first boots-up but there is now a small, semi-transparent box in the upper right-hand corner that, when clicked, opens the new home screen.


That new screen shows any home pages you’ve set in the browser as well as any Chrome applets you’ve installed. It also gives the device a much, more modern computing look and feel – almost Windows/Mac/Linux-like – including a somewhat familiar task bar with icons on the bottom of the screen.


The new design is only available for those who have set their Chromebooks to the “Developers’” download channel (in Settings). Google warns (and rightly so) that Developer downloads may not be stable as you might like and that you try them at your own risk.


Early versions of Aura didn’t work on Google’s original Chromebook hardware (the CR-48) but, as you can see, the latest developer’s version works just fine.  

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