When Google released the Chrome browser for Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system it included a basic version of Chrome OS in the browser.
Whenever you would run Chrome in Windows 8 mode, it would display a Chrome OS-like bar at the bottom of the screen that acts as a taskbar in the operating system.
The developers at Google have added a similar option to Chrome for Windows 7 in the most recent Chrome Canary builds.
I noticed the change in build 39.0.2144.2 and while I did not have time to check, it is likely that Chrome Dev users can access the feature as well.
When you click on the Hamburger menu of the browser you see the entry Relaunch Chrome in Chrome OS mode displayed prominently there.
If you do, Chrome will restart and all other windows that are currently open on the screen are minimized.
As you can see on the screenshot above, the Windows taskbar remains which is different from how things are handled on Windows 8 where Chrome can launch in the system's Metro mode which does not feature a taskbar.
On top of that is the Chrome OS taskbar with its start menu and links to default icons that load the Chrome browser, Gmail, Google Search, Google Docs and YouTube.
The start menu features a search button that displays additional apps and a search option that you can use among other things to add more apps to Chrome OS.
These apps come from the Chrome Web Store and it may be necessary to sign in to a Google account before some of the apps can be installed on the system.
As far as functionality is concerned, it is fairly limited. While you can install apps, most load a website in Chrome that you can interact with then.
To get back, click on Chrome's Hamburger menu once again and select Relaunch Chrome on the desktop this time.
The switching to Chrome OS takes a considerable amount of time. It takes a couple of seconds on a fairly decent Windows 7 Pro system and may take even longer if the system you are using this on is older than that.
Please note that the Chrome OS integration is only available on Windows 7 and not previous versions of the operating system, and that you need Chrome Canary at the point in time to see the new option.
So who is this for? Chrome OS users may notice that they apps get synced across devices provided that they sign in to a Google Account. They may find this useful while everyone else does not really have an advantage here as there is not really anything that you cannot do in Chrome directly as well.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.