In Short

Chrome is yet another Google software platform, much like Android, only different. It's a desktop browser, a mobile app, and the operating system for Google's series of laptops and mini desktops.

Chrome means several different things, but they all center around one main component — Google’s Chrome framework.

On the traditional computer side — that’d be your desktop or your laptop — the Chrome browser is just a download away no matter what brand of computer you have. It’s available for Microsoft Windows, Apple’s macOS, and most flavors of Linux as an easy-to-install prebuilt package. Hardcore Unix types can also build the open-source version — dubbed Chromium — for just about any modern machine. The Chrome browser is easy to install, and that’s just the way Google likes it.

That brings us to Chrome OS, and the machines that run it. Google has partnered with companies like HP and Acer to build inexpensive laptops, mini desktop Chromeboxes, and HDMI sticks called Chromebits that run Chrome OS. It is basically a very stripped down version of Linux, where the user-space tools and applications — those are the programs and user interface that we see when we turn it on — are about the same Chrome experience you'd find on your computer. This gives you an easy-to-use machine that’s always up to date. The latest security and feature releases are downloaded automatically and installed when you reboot. It's a machine that’s perfect for the Internet. If you mostly use your computer for Facebooking, watching YouTube, or surfing the web, you’re the target audience for a Chrome OS device.

Now that Chrome OS also runs Android apps and has access to Google Play, they can do a lot more. Most of your favorite apps (that you've already paid for) will run great in their own window on your Chromebook. Everything is sandboxed using Chrome's security features and now you have access to just about anything you would want to do through Chrome.

We love everything Chrome around these parts, and Android Central is the right place to find out more about all things Chrome and Google.