Google has officially unveiled its Google Chrome OS - an operating system that the search engine giant hopes will get more people on the web as well as offering an alternative to Microsoft's Windows 7 and Apple's Snow Leopard OS. There are plenty of advantages to the new OS, not least the fact that it will be completely free, although it will only work on products approved and launched by Google.
As with many things these days, it's all about the apps. Google's OS will be offering a wide selection of web apps for you to choose from in the future, although the current selection is still relatively limited. We've put together a list of 10 Chrome OS apps to get you started. It's worth noting that a lot of the apps are currently US-only, as we found out when we tried to install them, so it's possible that you may have to wait a while before you can get them.
Amazon WindowShop (Free)
Window shoppers are going to love this free app from Amazon that offers a new, interactive way to shop. The interface looks a little similar to iTunes, using a largely pictorial menu, with very little text. The home page includes columns for various categories including Bestsellers and New Releases & Pre-orders for each major category.
You can drag the screen around with the cursor (with the column headers moving along with it), making browsing a doddle. You can also login using your Amazon account details to get recommendations and save items to your wishlist in the usual way. It looks as though this one is currently US only, although we can't imagine that international versions will be too far behind.
The old saying goes that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", and that's clearly what the developers of YouTube had in mind when coming up with the YouTube app for Chrome.
The reassuringly familiar app is more or less identical to the layout that you get with all other browsers, so you'll be able to do all the usual stuff like browsing videos, embedding and keeping track of your favourite users' videos. As a result, we found using the app to be slick and totally fuss-free.
You’re either a TweetDeck person or you’re not, if it’s the former then you’ll be pleased to know you can get TweetDeck for Chrome. The app lets you do all the usual stuff that you would on a desktop client without the joys of running Adobe Air but gives you bonuses like flexible browsing, the ability to import all your TweetDeck settings, and an improved interface, design, icons and inline photo previews.
If you already like TweetDeck you’ll love Chrome TweetDeck, those that don’t this is unlikely to change your mind. It’s also worth pointing out that like other versions of TweetDeck even on Chrome we experienced plenty of freezing and performance issues.
Just as Chome OS is an operating system based on a browser, Jolicloud is an operating system designed to run in a browser. Confused? Thought you would be. Bascially Jolicloud is the new computing platform built around your life in the cloud connecting you to all of your favourite online apps, social media, videos, photos and files from any computer in the world.
If you’ve embraced that love, but yet to switch all your computers over to a Jolibook (that’s the dedicated netbook that runs Jolicloud) then the good news is that you can have your Jolicloud way of life on your Chrome browser and enjoy the best of both worlds.
Running an OS inside a browser is a bit weird, but it means you can get all the Jolicloud supported apps. Yep you are running apps within apps within a browser – far out dude. Not surprisingly there are some restrictions like you don’t get to run Chromium – the open source version of the Chrome browser within Google’s approved Chrome browser – that would be too trippy.
Bottom line – if you’re a Jolicloud user this will be for you, if you’re not then it might be worth a try before you do anything major.
Much like many online music streaming services such as Spotify, Listube lets gives you access to free music on demand. As the name of the app suggests, you can make online music playlists that you can then share with your friends.
It's a piece of cake to search for specific tunes or artists or you can simply browse the app's list of the most popular. The quality might not be the best we've heard, but there's plenty of choice on there, including some relatively obscure tracks.
More and more of us are now sharing our snapshots with our mates online, not only on social networking sites, but also on dedicated photo-sharing sites like Google's Picasa. Your account offers 1GB of free storage, which means up to around 4,000 photos.
As this is a Google-developed app, it's not suprise that the user experience is very similar to what you'll already be familiar with if you're existing user of Picasa. It's easy to upload photos using and share links with pals and you can also add name tags and geotag snaps to show where they were taken.
If you're not already familiar with Todo.ly, this handy app lets you create to-do lists and manage them online. You can organise your tasks into projects and sub-projects simply by dragging and dropping, and tasks will automatically pop into your Today list as the Due Date approaches.
This is a great app that's so simple, a child could use it. Having a neatly organised to-do list on a web-based app that can be accessed from anywhere, rather than on a post-it not that will inevitably get lost, is definitely the way forward for us.
SlideRocket (In-app payments)
This is one of the best online presentation systems around and a good news for all those that have ever found themselves suffering Death by PowerPoint.
You can choose from a number of layouts and themes to produce presentations, and you can easily add in videos from your library or YouTube. SlideRocket also supports HTML5 viewer for iPad and iPhone so that you can show off your fancy presentations while on the move, while any content that you produce will look the same on Windows, Mac and Linux. The interface is slick and simple and shouldn't prove problematic for eve the most ardent of technophobes.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online (Free)
Here's one for the gamers among you - a free game from EA Sports which the developer claims is "the most realistic golf simulation on the web".
The game lets you build and customise your pro golfer, equipping them with cutting edge equipment and golfing threads as well as participating in daily and weekly tournaments, which can be played out on some of the world's most famous golf courses (not literally, you understand). You can also chat with fellow players online.
This is one of the best free pieces of editing software around - and now you get it on Chrome. As well as all the usual stuff like cropping and re-sizing snaps and general photo editing wizardry, you can also produce slideshows, collages and greeting cards easily.
You can also connect directly to photo sharing sites like Picasa and Flickr to speed things up. What's more, there's a handy Chrome Extension too that enables you to take screen grabs of entire web pages for editing, so that you can add notes and share them with people.
Seesmic is one the most popular apps around for consolidating all your social networking ramblings into one place, so it's no surprise that this is available for the launch of Chrome OS.
This useful app lets you view all your social networks directly from your browser, so that you can keep up to date with the likes of Foursquare, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It also supports mutiple accounts, which is handy if you have a work Twitter feed or you simply have multiple personalities. Operation is slick and the layout is logical and clear, so you should be up and running in no time.
Google Pacman (Free)
Everyone is familiar with the themed logos that Google puts up from time to time to celebrate national holidays or to commemorate important days in history, but probably the one that caused the most excitement was the Pacman one, complete with a playable version of the classic arcade game.
No surprises with this app - it pretty much does what it says on the tin. Although the logo no longer appears on Google's home page, you can still play it here, but this handy app enables you to play it offline, so you'll be able to fritter hours of your life away without even having to connect to the internet.