All About Chrome: How Google's browser got everywhere

ASUS Chromebook lid
ASUS Chromebook lid

Here at Android Central, we like to talk about more than phones and tablets that use Android. Google news, carrier news and even huge mega-corporations we're familiar with buying other huge mega-corporations for obscene amounts of money are all things we find interesting and think you will, too. One of those things that are poised smack dab in the middle of Google's plans for the future is Chrome.

Long time readers — and we appreciate you being here — might know that I like Chrome. In fact, I'm more interested in Chrome than I am with Android, and I really like Android. Let's just say I'm a fan. I know I'm not the only fan because Chrome keeps getting better and things that use it are being developed and sold every day. Companies don't pour money into something that doesn't offer a return for very long. But what is Chrome? When Android Central (and Mobile Nations as a whole) talks about Chrome here's what we think and how we're going forward.

Chrome is a web browser

Chrome browser

There is a good chance you use Chrome if you have a computer you use to get online with. Windows, Mac and Linux all have official builds of Chrome from Google and it's pretty popular on all three platforms. If you have a recently built Android phone, you have Chrome on your phone, too. Even people using an iPhone can use the Chrome browser.

All these different versions of Chrome are built on the same code base. They all have similar features and the same basic user interface. For all intents and purposes, the Chrome browser is the Chrome browser.

We'll talk about Chrome the browser when something important or cool happens. If it's something platform specific, you might find it at Windows Central or iMore. We're not going to focus on Chrome the browser, but we're not ignoring it.

Chrome is an operating system

Chrome is also an operating system that powers a whole lot of laptops, minicomputers and "stick" PCs. It follows the familiar design language we know from Chrome the web browser on other devices, and it even has a browser window that's almost exactly like Chrome for Windows, Mac or Linux. But it's more than a browser.

Chrome the operating system is also a complete application platform.

Chrome the operating system is also a complete application platform. It supports hardware-accelerated 3D graphics, rich audio and media playback, a full array of input devices and some of the highest resolution displays available on a laptop. It's also very lightweight and designed to run well on the most inexpensive hardware so value-conscious shoppers can find a computer that's worth buying. And unlike Android, none of these "cheap" devices get left behind.

The things that run Chrome OS

ASUS Chroembit

Chrome's low system requirements make all of this fascinating. Whether you're using a cheap and portable Chromebit or a high-end Chromebook like a Pixel or one of HP's tricked-out models, Chrome is Chrome. You have the same UI, the same application platform, and the same code base. We're going to talk a lot about the things that run on Chrome.

There are a ton of apps to talk about. Apps that are apps and run in their own space without any internet-powered code, apps that are extensions that are used to make your web browsing experience better and apps that are wrappers for an online experience like a code compiler or Microsoft's Office suite. There's something here for everyone, and we want to sort through it all.

More: The Best Chromebook apps

Some Chromebooks run Android apps. Android is now part of Chrome OS, and there is a lengthy list of Chromebooks, Chromeboxes and even a Chromebit or two that will be getting Android app support in the very near future. Google is taking their time here because businesses and schools depend on usable and worry-free Chromebooks. Android apps on Chrome was vetted very well and will continue to be vetted as it gradually rolls out to more devices.

Chrome is a lot of things but some will get more attention than others.

We expect all future Chromebooks and Chromeboxes will be built with Android support in mind. That's going to influence our recommendations for apps and devices. We think that any new Chromebook you buy should have all the hardware features needed to support Google Play integration, and we'll make our recommendations accordingly. As for apps, if the best app that fills a certain need is an Android app, so be it. As mentioned earlier, Android is now part of Chrome. We think pretending otherwise would be a disservice to you and to the people building the apps and hardware to run them.

It's going to be great

We're still an Android site. If I'm knee deep in something Chrome and I'm needed to look at something for Android, I'll switch gears. We won't be taking time away from Android phones so we can play with Chromebooks. We will still tell you how awesome Android can be and what you can do with it and let you know everything we think you want to know. We won't be scaling anything back when it comes to Android.

It's also OK if you're not at all interested in Chrome. When you visit, you'll find plenty of other content to go over, and once you've read everything there is to read we have a huge group of users in the forums who probably enjoy Android as much as you do. If you're not participating there, you're really missing out.

I like to be open and on the level. Maybe more than my bosses like, maybe not. I'm just letting everyone know what to expect now that I have more time to do the thing I've wanted to do for a long time. Trust me, it's going to be great.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.