Enterprise version of Chrome OS coming in 2011

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Google is to release several versions of its Chrome operating system, with a business version expected to join its consumer-focused counterpart in 2011.

The news emerged during the RSA Conference in San Francisco, where Google software security engineer Will Drewry elaborated on some of Chrome's security underpinnings.

While the details are still unknown, Drewry is reported by Network World as telling delegates that all versions of Chrome OS would ship with the industry-standard Trusted Platform Module (TMP) for security in key storage and multi-factor authentication. In addition, all Chrome-powered netbooks will feature a "trusted footpath".

Unsurprisingly given the high-profile cyber attacks that affected Google and several other technology firms recently, Chrome will place a high priority on malware protection.

Both the OS and the browser will monitor the credentials of websites through sandbox and auto-updating features, warning the user if it detects malware on a website about to be accessed.

It will be possible for users to disable these security features by pressing a button underneath the netbook's chassis to enter "developer mode". This will allow greater freedom to experiment, though of course security risks will also be higher.

Drewry also mentioned that the business variant of Chrome would have "more management muscle", though what that relates to has yet to be revealed.

The consumer version of Chrome OS is set to launch later this year, along with the first netbooks running it. The most recent beta release of the OS went out last week, featuring stronger privacy controls and automatic website translation.