Chrome OS gets Windows app support

Chrome OS gets Windows app support

Google's Chrome OS will apparently include 'chromoting' to give access to 'legacy' PC apps.

Google's Chrome OS - designed as the cloud-oriented netbook brother to the company's Android mobile platform - is set to get support for running 'legacy' Windows applications - sort of.

According to an article over on, Chrome OS will get support for running certain Windows applications through a kind of remote desktop process which the company is unofficially calling 'chromoting.'

Brief details regarding the as-yet unconfirmed feature were posted to the Chromium-Discuss mailing list by Google's Gary Kačmarčík, who has been working on the Chrome OS project at the company. In the post, Kačmarčík describes "new capabilities" in the OS which "will also enable you to access legacy PC applications right within the browser."

Sadly for anyone hoping to see a demo of the procedure in action, Kačmarčík has stated that the company isn't looking to release any firm details regarding the feature until "the coming month."

So far speculation has offered two possibilities for how 'chromoting' might work, with one more likely than the other. The most likely explanation is that the feature offers a simple web-based remote desktop client, allowing users to log in to their home PC and access installed applications - requiring the user to leave their PC switched on and connected to the Internet at all times. The more impressive, and significantly less likely, option is that Google would provide a virtual host which can run Windows applications on their cloud computing platform, accessible from within Chrome OS - but that would likely be a licensing nightmare.

However 'chromoting' works, it's another string to the Chrome OS bow - and another tickbox in the 'pro' list for OEMs looking to make smartbooks and netbooks that differentiate themselves from the Wintel masses.

Do you think that Chrome OS's 'chromoting' feature could spell success, or do you think that anyone who has a need to run Windows applications on their netbooks will just buy one that runs Windows in the first place? Share your thoughts over in the forums.


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docodine 14th June 2010, 10:37 Quote
People use Chrome OS?
crazyceo 14th June 2010, 12:20 Quote
I don't really know how to react to this. On one hand, yes it should drive down the price for new netbooks but I can't see Microsoft sitting too kindly to this supposed love-in. I'm sure there is some kind of user-license issue even for virtualisation in the "Cloud". I would agree with the last question though "do you think that anyone who has a need to run Windows applications on their netbooks will just buy one that runs Windows in the first place?" As long as the price is low they will still keep buying the Windows version since they will using windows heavy apps.
SteveU 14th June 2010, 13:37 Quote
Originally Posted by docodine
People use Chrome OS?

I've been using Hexxeh's build of Chrome OS on my Dell mini9 and am impressed with it so far. The netbook literally only gets used for short periods of Internet access (just to have a quick browse, usually by the missus) so it's great for that.

I've been having some wifi trouble with it this last week though so have gone back to using Ubuntu 10.04 UNR for now but as soon as Chrome OS is released I will be using it as my only OS on the netbook.

I do agree with what's been said though, I think that if I needed to use a netbook for office work then I'd want one that runs Windows well in the first place (the mini9 like many other single core Atom netbooks runs much better on Linux OS's like Ubuntu and Chrome OS).
Shagbag 14th June 2010, 17:55 Quote
I see the advantage of this is the effectively chroot of any WinApps that are run.
If a process crashes it won't bring down your whole netbook.
The downside is that you won't get native performance for those apps.
wuyanxu 14th June 2010, 18:47 Quote
no native performance, on a netbook?
yougotkicked 14th June 2010, 22:04 Quote
I think this could end up being a big hit with enthusiasts like us, especially the remote desktop idea. more and more of us are choosing to have a powerful desktop at home for gaming and such, and a small ultra-portable computer for mobile Internet and simple tasks. I think most people would agree that there is always something you want to do while out and about that your netbook just isn't equipped to do. Personally, I frequently find myself at a buddies house wanting to stream some movies i have on my home computer, but didn't move to my netbook. Many of us choose to get a lower-capacity SSD over a HDD so storage becomes and issue, and nobody wants to haul a external drive with them all the time. So an improved relationship between your mobile computer and your home system would be nice for many reasons.

though I wouldn't rule out the possibility of Google supprising us all with an approach no one thought of. We wont know how this works until Google reveals it completely.
Tulatin 15th June 2010, 00:39 Quote
Being able to remotely access a much more powerful system is a godsend.

It's a good thing if I can run a few intensive apps, download what I need to, process, and compile it all on a much more powerful system hundreds of miles away in a fraction of the time. Even as it stands, I'll remotely control my media server to do a lot of the tasks that my laptop takes far too long for.
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