A brave employee of a company that provides parts for Acer laptops has risked his career to provide us with our first grainy photos of Google's new Chrome OS in action. He's also brought us a detailed description of how smoothly the OS is running right now.
Google's promised us speed with this new OS, and so far it sounds like they are delivering. The tipster says that installation from Vista to Chrome took only 10 minutes. Only one restart was required, and the whole process was described as 'elegant', which is not generally a word one hears applied to OS installations.
Chrome OS is still in beta, of course, and the tipster notes that the version he saw was very bare bones. In its current form, at least, the new OS appears to be blazingly fast, with desktop-to-desktop restart times of about 25 seconds. A lot of this shocking speed probably comes from the fact that the leaker only saw a very stripped-down version of Chrome. We'll be able to judge it fairly when we hear speed reports from a full version of the OS.
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You can read a full description of the UI in the tipster's blog entry. From the sound of it, Google's borrowed the icon placement and design from Win 7, the dock set-up from Snow Leopard, and a few developer tools from various Linux builds. The screenshots we have show us a very empty looking main screen, with just the bottom icon bar and not much else. There is elegance in simplicity, or at least that's what Google's betting on. UPDATE: The Leak was a fraud.