Google Chrome OS review: First Look

In use

On our test laptop it took us a consistent 21 seconds to get from the launch of the virtual machine to the base Chrome OS splash screen. While that's not quite the seven seconds Google promised, that's not bad considering this is a very early build running in a virtual machine. Windows 7's 50 seconds or so for a cold boot can't really compete with that.

Getting to the splash screen though is undramatic with no boot logo to distract or waste resources. You go straight from a black screen to a simple blue screen (not the Windows sort though).


At the splash screen you're presented with two simple boxes for username and password and your Gmail account details will get you in. If you don't already have a Google Account, you'll need to go and get one, though if you're not already a Gmail user you'll have to wonder why you're trying this.

From here you'll find yourself logged immediately into your Gmail account. As Google promised, the sense of OS is absent, it's just login, and there's the browser.


If you've ever used Google's Chrome browser, it will all look very familiar though there are some subtle differences. An icon just to the left of the first tab represents the Apps, and that's what you'll find when you click on it. The arrangement reminds us of Android at the moment but does look better and it states at the top that the UI is under development'.

As Google promised all the apps are web apps. Gmail is obviously the first icon along with the other Google apps, but there are preloaded icons for getting to Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail too as well as Facebook and Twitter. Inevitably there's a US bias at present and you won't be able to get to Pandora or Hulu from the UK. There's a Get more' option too, but that's greyed out at present.


Apps such as the Calculator and To-Do list pop ups are attached to the bottom as panels' much like Google Talk currently is in Gmail.

Benny Har-Even

Benny Har-Even is a twenty-year stalwart of technology journalism who is passionate about all areas of the industry, but telecoms and mobile and home entertainment are among his chief interests. He has written for many of the leading tech publications in the UK, such as PC Pro and Wired, and previously held the position of technology editor at ITPro before regularly contributing as a freelancer.

Known affectionately as a ‘geek’ to his friends, his passion has seen him land opportunities to speak about technology on BBC television broadcasts, as well as a number of speaking engagements at industry events.