Acer and Samsung to launch Chrome netbooks mid 2011

Google launches Chrome Web Store and reveals Chrome OS

Google has launched the Chrome Web Store and unveiled further information regarding the Chrome OS project at an event in San Francisco.

Declaring that the Chrome Web Store is ‘open for business’, Google said that developers had already begun uploading applications and that more were expected over time. While the Chrome Web Store is only official living in the US, at least as far as buying applications, there’s already a number of free applications which can be ‘installed’ outside of the US.

The Internet giant expressed satisfaction that users of the firm’s Chrome web browser had grown from 40 million to 120 million this year. Having recently launched Chrome OS 8, Web Store apps appear as large icons on new tabs within the browser.

Media outlets such as the New York Times, USA Today and Salon have already launched web applications but there are also some applications which provide a preview of more advanced functionality available in Chrome Web Apps such as Google’s own Picnik Photo editor.

Games are also well represented with the general theme of applications being on the rather simple side, similar to applications on smartphones.

Google also used the occasion to shed some light on the situation with the Chrome OS which had originally been scheduled to ship this year. However Google said that the OS was only “at the stage where we need feedback from real users.”

To that end Google announced a pilot program for Chrome OS which involves Google providing a free Chrome 12-inch Notebook called the Cr-48. Equipped with Wi-Fi and 3G, the Cr-48 about 1.7Kg and sports a full-size keyboard and “oversized touchpad” while also being good for eight hours of use and a week of standby.

Google also addressed concerns with the new cloud-based OS, demonstrating Google Docs operating in an offline mode with changes synced up to the cloud when a network connection becomes available. The company also talked up Google Cloud Print which enables printing to the user’s home printer from anywhere.

As expected, the Chrome OS will auto update regularly with security updates and new features. Vendors Samsung and Acer were confirmed as lining up Chrome OS-based netbooks around the middle of next year, presumably after the pilot program concludes and Chrome OS goes ‘RTM’.

“Chrome OS is designed to work across a wide range of screen sizes and form factors, enabling our partners to deliver computing devices beyond notebooks,” said Google engineering veep Linus Upson.

“We’re excited to get Chrome notebooks into the hands of users. The data from our test pilots is key to building something wonderful. We look forward to working together to make computers better.”

The Chrome Web Store is here.

Users in the US can apply for the Chrome Netbook Pilot program here.

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