At midnight PST tonight, Google’s application site for the Cr-48 Pilot Program will shut down. Google had 60,000 soft touch, nondescript black notebooks manufactured for the purpose of handing them out to users like you in order to get a better idea of how the public will use their cloud-based operating system, Chrome OS. The pilot program also functions as a large scale bug hunt, and the Chrome browser makes bug submissions extremely quick and easy.
Chrome OS is a GNU/Linux operating system that uses Google’s Chrome browser almost exclusively for the user interface. Saving files on the Cr-48′s 16GB SSD is possible, but the whole purpose of Chrome OS is to keep everything in the cloud, via Google Docs, Gmail, Google Calendar, and various online media services. This limitation can freeing in many ways and if you’re anything like me, once you’ve ditched local apps you’ll find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time in the Chrome Web Store–a rapidly growing library of web applications and browser extensions that bring Chrome OS, and the Cr-48, to life.
Google has reportedly sent out about 14,000 Cr-48s, and will go international in the next wave of shipments. But this one is coming to a close, so snag one while you can. To request your own Cr-48, use the form here.
Check out my Cr-48 unboxing and set up video and stay tuned for more on this interesting little gadget and the software it showcases.