It’s still in early development, but Google has released a version of its Chrome OS operating system, called Flex, that allows users to install the software on PCs and Macs.
Aimed mainly at computers that are nearing end of life, or users who simply want to try something other than Windows or macOS – and who are perhaps intimidated by Linux – the “cloud-first” Chrome OS Flex is now available for download.
The release of Chrome OS Flex comes after Google acquired a company called Neverware in 2020 that developed an OS called CloudReady, build on top of Chromium OS, the open-source version of Chrome OS. CloudReady, Google said in a statement, has allowed businesses and schools to modernise old PCs and Macs. It’s now being brought into the Google fold and integrated into the Chrome OS project.
“Since [the acquisition], we have been hard at work integrating the benefits of CloudReady into a new version of Chrome OS,” Google said. This has led to the introduction of Chrome OS Flex for Windows PCs and Macs. The free-to-download software is built for businesses and education and is fully compatible with Google’s cloud-based management systems.
“Chrome OS Flex boots up in seconds and doesn’t slow down over time. And with system updates that happen in the background, there’s less downtime for users,” Google said.
The company claimed there’s no need for antivirus software either, since Flex offers regular security updates and offers protection against viruses, ransomware and phishing.
“Sandboxing technology keeps threats contained to a specific tab or application, the read-only OS blocks executables where threats often hide, and Google Safe Browsing proactively warns users before navigating to malicious sites.”
Same code base
Chrome OS Flex shares the same code base and release cadence as Chrome OS. It incorporates the Chrome Web browser, the Google Assistant and cross-device features in the same user interface as Chrome OS.
Google emphasised that users can try Flex without installing it to their hard drives. Like many Linux distributions, Flex can be booted from a USB thumb drive and tested before users make a commitment to install it on their machine, replacing Windows or macOS.
“It’s important to know that Chrome OS Flex is still in early access and available on the developer channel. It’s constantly improving, but you should expect bugs,” Google said. A stable version is expected “in the coming months”. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media