Will Chrome be the operating system that eats the world?

Here's why Chrome may eventually run everywhere, on every device and every operating system.

Chrome today may seem a niche-oriented operating system, but one day Chrome and its apps may turn into a world-beater. Here's why.

For now, Chrome is primarily an operating system that powers small, light, low-cost notebooks -- so-called Chromebooks. If you doubt their popularity, just look at the best-selling laptops on Amazon. As I write this, the two top-selling laptops are Chromebooks: the Acer C720 Chromebook, and the Samsung Chromebook.

Chrome is making its way onto desktops as well. LG Electronics, for example, has introduced an all-in-one desktop computer called Chromebase. It's a 21.5-inch widescreen PC with Intel Haswell Celeron CPU, 2GB of RAM, a 16GB SSD, 1.3-megapixel 720 HD webcam, and the usual assortment of speakers, keyboard, and mouse. There's also plenty of ports, including USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and Ethernet.

But even there isn't where Chrome may gain most of its popularity. Google is using guerilla warfare to get Chrome apps working on other operating systems. And that's where Chrome's greatest strength may be. With this model, you won't need to switch you operating system to use Chrome apps. You'll be able to run them right on whatever device you're currently using.

Right now you can already do that with Windows. You use the Chrome browser and the Chrome App Launcher to run all of Chrome's most important features right inside Windows -- and use Chrome apps as well. If you're looking for instructions, here's how to do it. Google is working on doing the same for Mac OS X and Linux.

That's just the beginning, though. Google is hard at work on doing the same thing for Android and iOS. You'll soon be able to run Chrome apps on those operating systems. At the moment, developers are doing this, using a preview release.

This means that eventually, no matter what device and operating system you're running -- desktop, laptop, tablet, Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android or iOS -- you'll also be able to run either Chrome or Chrome apps. Stay tuned for more info, including details about how to do it when it happens.

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