Chrome OS expands its operating system reach

Google's Chrome OS is far, far more than just a cloud-based operating system and it's only getting more so as the years go by.

Chrome OS Features
Google, modified by IDG Comm

It's been over 10 years now since Chrome OS redefined the desktop operating system. While virtual desktops have been around since the days we used VT-102 terminals to run Unix shells from distant mainframes and minicomputers, Google's Chrome OS showed us that we could run modern GUI-style desktops from the cloud.

That part is still vital. I've been watching the desktop move from PCs to the cloud for a decade now. But, Chrome OS also has the unique feature of incorporating other operating systems into its offerings. That was underlined recently at Google I/O's Chrome OS keynote.

Much of what Google's people had to say was impressive, but not surprising. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and the rise of working and learning from home, could anyone be surprised that IDC reported that Chromebook sales rose by 92% during 2020? I think not.

Would you be shocked to learn that Chromebook sales aren't slowing down in the least? I wasn't. Indeed, they're speeding up. According to sales data analyst firm Canalys, Chromebook sales have surged by 275% in the first quarter alone compared to 2020's first quarter.

There are all kinds of reasons for that. Chromebooks are cheap, easy to secure, and, unlike Windows where every new Patch Tuesday is an adventure, Chrome OS updates click along constantly without a moment's worry or concern.

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