What is Chrome?

Google Chrome, developed and controlled by Google, may refer to either the web browser or the OS that uses the latter web browser as its GUI. Chrome OS is intended for laptops (not intended for desktops), which Google markets under the name Chromebook. Just like Google's portable OS, Android, it is also based on Linux.

Chrome OS 21.0.1172
          Aura Dev

Although the OS is open source, users only have access to personal files and no access to system files, especially the kernel. Chrome OS mostly runs web applications making it basically a thin client — except for multimedia with several (if not all) codecs, camera and daemons.

Running Chrome OS (stable channel only) demands the user to completely trust Google as it controls all aspects of the OS including and perhaps not limited to updates, which is perfect for users. As a matter of fact, all applications are only accessible through the Chrome Web Store and there is little to no risk of viruses or other malware.

As of version 53 of the OS released on September 2016 (beta channel depending on the Chromebook), Google Chrome can run a beta version of Google Play, which allows users install and run Android apps.

Chrome OS has a limited shell in user mode by the name of crosh.

The latter was taken from help_advanced.