Starting with Chrome 32, Chrome OS may be invading Windows 8’s start screen

by: Andrew GrushOctober 6, 2013


Google recently unveiled “desktop apps for Chrome”, a new initiative that runs special Chrome OS apps independent of the Chrome browser. This important change meant that Chrome OS would finally have an experience that was a bit closer to a traditional operating system. Alongside the announcement, Google also announced they were bringing a Chrome app launcher to Windows, which would allow Chrome apps to launch outside of the Chrome browser – just like a native Windows app.

This move basically allows Google to bring its web apps and Chrome OS features directly to the Windows world, but it’s only the icing on the cake. Soon you may be able to experience Chrome OS right from within the Windows 8’s Start screen UI!

Soon you'll be able to experience Chrome OS right from within the Windows 8's Start screen UI.

Chrome users currently have the option of using the Chrome browser within the Start UI, but it is really nothing more than a fullscreen version of the standard Chrome browser.

In the current dev release of Chrome 32 for Windows, the Start screen version of the browser has evolved dramatically by adding the Chrome OS taskbar, as well as the ability to run “Chrome desktop apps” and web apps. While not everything from Chrome OS is present (such as changing the wallpaper), it’s pretty darn close.

How well does it work?

For a relatively early test version, the new Chrome OS-like experience actually handles rather well. It’s fast, fluid and I have already found myself forgetting that I’m really just running a browser app within Windows.

That said, Chrome 32 is a dev release and it occasionally shows. While typing in Google Docs I personally ran into an issue with my cursor showing up in the wrong place from time to time, and there seems to be a few other minor stability issues. Overall though, as someone who really hasn’t spent much time with Chrome OS, I’m liking what I see here and have a feeling that I won’t be the only Windows PC user that feels the same.

It’s not impossible to think that this limited Chrome OS-like experience could be enough to convert some disgruntled Windows users over to a Chrome OS-powered device in the future. For now though, it’s unclear exactly when Google plans to bring its Chrome OS experience over to the stable version of Chrome. Keep in mind that these features could also be scrapped from the final version of Chrome 32, though we somehow doubt it.

Want to try to give it a try now? Getting started is as easy as downloading the dev version of Chrome for Windows – just remember that you can’t expect a perfectly stable experience, so proceed with caution.

What do you think of Google’s plans to bring a Chrome OS experience straight to Microsoft’s Start UI? Could this move be what’s needed to finally win over a wider range of new users?

  • javierguillen29

    I can’t even expect a stable experience with Windows!
    Besides that, it shows the great work under the command of Sundar Pichai. Android relapsed in good hands.

  • CPVideoMaker101

    Linux support?

    • ziplock9000

      What’s Linux?

      • Groud Frank

        Hahahahaha, you sure you want to stir that hornets nest? Desktop Linux users will aggressively defend their platform and are notorious for producing a disturbingly high level of fanboy fanaticism. You’re stepping on dangerous ground here O.o

        • androidiani.comdario

          so, are you a windows fanboy? i use debian and i think it’s a very good OS. moreover XP support will be over in april, so a lot of computer will upgrades to linux as germany is doing.

          • CPVideoMaker101

            I use Debian on my eMac and Ubuntu with LXDE shell on my main laptop. I also use an iPhone. I hate windows because of major problems I’ve had with it. I know others like windows and I accept it. I just dislike it for my own work. Only reason I use windows is for a good video editor. Waiting for the linux version.

      • fahadayaz

        That thing powering your Android device.. as well as your Chromebook, if you have one.

        • androidiani.comdario

          ;) i liked your answer

        • MorningStarGG

          Technically, no. It’s similar, but it’s only based on *nix, not Linux.

          • APai

            “Technically, no” ? doesn’t the linux kernel power android ?


          • MorningStarGG

            The kernel is the only “Linux” part. The rest is all just *nix, so in essence, and in practicality Android is *nix based, but not Linux based.

          • APai

            I’m a bit confused here. kernel is a modified linux kernel , that part i get. but what else is android derived from ? by *nix, where does it come from ? it’d be nice if you could let me know what you meant by *nix

            Linux on the desktop is GNU-linux, as in the kernel is linux, the rest of the system components are provided by GNU, the x-windows is xorg or something else, then there’s window manager like gonme/ kde. so, I know that the additional components are from GNU/ FOSS.

          • MorningStarGG

            Linux is a part of a family of Operating Systems such as Unix, BSD, Linux, and the such. Android is based on *nix based foundations. However it is not Linux, or Unix, nor BSD, it is it own OS inside the *nix family. In other words they are setup, and are similar by design but are not cross-compatible, though could be easier to port between. Android is not Linux and as such Linux is not BSD, but they are all similar fundamentally, just as they are all different fundamentally.

          • APai

            oh i get that part(and I also dint mean that android = linux), i wasnt referring to to its design/ os architecture. but the linux kernel is there in its modified form

      • LiiIiikEaBau5

        It’s a piece of cake!

    • androidiani.comdario

      no, it doesn’t not support linux unlickily.the said they will do that for linux and mac too, anyway they promised to developer a linux client for drive too but today they still hadn’t do that. so i don’t think that chrome apps on linux will arrive soon, and i don’t know if they will arrive too

      • CPVideoMaker101

        Under LXDE, in my menu, there is an option for “Chromium Apps” and plex is there ._.

        • Dario 753 a.C. .ex androidiani

          I use xfce, but some weeks ago ago i noticed that there wasn’t the tab “desktop applications” in the Chrome exstension Page, while it was present under Windows.

    • Gideon Waxfarb

      Yeah, it’s too bad there’s no Linux support. I’m sure all 5 desktop Linux users would’ve appreciated it :P

      Linux on the desktop was irrelevant in 1998, is irrelevant now, and will be irrelevant 15 years from now.

      • z Simmons

        Pffff…. what a troll. Desktop Linux has tens of millions of users, at least. Chrome OS is Linux. Valve has recently given a big thumbs up to gaming on Linux (in a desktop setting, or as a console). Institutions, such as the French army, are adopting desktop Linux. The Chinese government is collaborating with Canonical to produce a version aimed at China. Canonical is also leading the way in phone-desktop convergence. Desktop Linux is better than it’s ever been, and looks to be increasingly important.

  • I think it’s lovely! Really lovely!

  • Ray

    Haha! Microsoft just can’t get away from Google.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Why should they?

      Microsoft practically helped Google become the huge tech giant they are today. After all, 90% of computer users use Windows desktop/laptops.

      • z Simmons

        Why should they? Because Google competes directly with them in many areas.

        • jsebean

          you’re advocating anti-competitive nature from microsoft? I think it fine that google and ms can live together.

          • z Simmons

            Not advocating, but answering the question “why should they?” (God forbid that I should advocate anything for Microsoft or Google’s benefit – I do not care for either company being particularly powerful in the world of computing). Making life easy for commercial competition is not something that seems like an obviously good business choice. Essentially, Google is giving its own laptop (and potentially desktop) competitor to Windows a leg up by supporting apps for that platform also on Windows – giving such apps a wider audience and therefore making it a more attractive prospect for developers. In the long run, it may also attract more users to Chrome OS as a more comprehensively capable computing platform than just a computer running a browser.

  • fran farrell

    Clear to me that with OpenOffice on Chrome, maybe a Tbyte of free cloud per user,and all the cloud Apps you could ever use in Google Drive. Google is preparing to switch over enterprises to Google on a days notice.

  • Roberto Tomás

    Chrome users currently have the option of using the Chrome browser within the Start UI, but it is really nothing more than a fullscreen version of the standard Chrome browser.” this isn’t true. the tile app isnt full featured — has no bookmarks, cant run extensions, cant have multiple tabs, etc. if you “relaunch in windows 8 mode”, it just gives you a link to open and asks which browser you prefer to open it with, which either brings you back to the desktop or uses the otehr app you chose — but in no case do you actually get a full chrome from the start menu, or as a tile app, at all.