Google has announced the arrival of Chrome 20 to the stable channel for Chrome OS, the company's browser-based operating system for Chromebooks. The update brings Google Drive front and center, adds offline Google Docs support and also manages to stamp out a variety of bugs and security flaws.

Early Chrome OS adopters who still own one of the original, pilot program-issued Chromebooks may also be pleased to know that Google will be shoe-horning Aura UI onto Cr-48 models. Aura UI offered Chrome OS a significant facelift, changing the user interface to mimic a familiar desktop OS experience. With the visual redesign, it appears Google is focused on moving Chrome OS somewhere between its radical "browser with a keyboard" concept and a traditional desktop operating system.

Some of the most significant changes are:

  • Support for Google Drive -- tighter Google Drive integration is a potentially exciting change for Chrome OS users
  • Offline support of Google Docs
  • Firmware update for Chromebook Series 5 550.
    Note: A screen with Chrome Logo and a critical update notification will show after update restarts. It will reboot by itself after firmware update completes.
  • Updates to the sandboxed Pepper Flash module
  • Aura UI for Cr-48 Chromebooks
  • Switched to open source touchpad driver on Cr-48 systems
  • Crash fixes

The change to an open source touchpad driver is expected to solve the Cr-48's touchpad responsiveness issues -- a common complaint during the pilot program. The Cr-48 came equipped with a multi-touch capable trackpad made by Synaptics.

This latest installment of Chrome OS is expected to complete its rollout over the next several days.