Google offered another preview of the upcoming Chrome OS Tuesday in a media event in San Fransisco, introducing a fourth option for operating systems – after Windows, Mac, and Linux – while opening the doors to the new Google Chrome Web Store.
The event also launched the Chrome OS pilot program and highlighted the search giant’s ongoing efforts to build “an operating system that is essentially a browser, (which helps) make computers faster, much simpler, and fundamentally more secure.”
An open-source, lightweight operating system, Google Chrome OS leverages the Internet by delivering a speedy operating system in which all applications are Web applications (instead of hard drive-based). It is scheduled for release in the middle of 2011.

Chrome Web Store and Cr-48 Chrome Notebook

Along with these developments, the company introduced the Google Chrome Web Store, which features apps, extensions, themes, and collections for users of the Google Chrome OS. Developers have already started uploading apps, and one of these include the New York Times Chrome Web App, which delivers content through a newly remodeled online newspaper. (Click on the link to preview the application.)

An exclusive (and unbranded) Chrome test notebook – the Cr-48 – was also released for participants of the Chrome OS pilot program. Built and optimized for the Web, the Cr-48 boots in ten seconds and resumes from Sleep Mode instantly. The 3.8 lb. notebook also comes with built-in Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, flash storage, a webcam, a 12-inch LCD screen, a full-sized keyboard, an oversized touchpad, and a battery life of more than 8 hours (with about a week of standby time).
While the Cr-48 might never go on sale, retail Chrome OS models by Acer and Samsung are scheduled for release next year.