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Sergey Brin: Only 20% of Googlers still on Windows

The march to Chrome OS

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Google I/O Google co-founder Sergey Brin has said that only about 20 per cent of Google's employees are still using Microsoft Windows, and that all of those users are on Windows 7.

He stressed, however, that he is not sure of the exact percentage.

Rumors had indicated that within the company, Google had almost entirely banned Windows. Speaking at Google's annual developer conference on Wednesday, where and when the company announced that it will offer Chrome OS notebook for a subscription fee, Brin said that Google hopes to move most of its employees to Google's Chrome OS, an operating system that puts all applications inside the browser.

A year ago, The Financial Times reported that Google was "phasing out" use of Windows in an effort to improve security, and that this would "effectively end" use of the Microsoft OS inside the company. An employee told the FT that Googlers who wished to use Windows would have to get approval from the company CIO. The report came four months after Google said that Chinese hackers had pilfered unspecified intellectual property from the company's systems.

Brin was careful to say that he does not see Windows as an insecure operating system, but that he prefers Chrome OS. "I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with Windows," he said. "It has a lot of great security features. But I think this [Chrome OS] software-hardware model ... that eliminates complexity – that's what we're in the process of deploying throughout the company."

Chrome OS is basically Google's Chrome browser running atop a Linux kernel. The browser is the only local application, and all other apps run inside the browser – although you can install browser extensions. The OS is, in part, an effort to improve security. Each online app is run in its own sandbox, and the OS attempts to identify malware at startup using a verified boot.

It should be noted that regardless of its design, Windows is targeted far more often that other operating systems because it is used on far more machines. ®

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