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Hands on: What it's actually like to use Windows apps on Chrome OS

Hi. I’m writing this in the Microsoft Word app for Windows…on a Chromebook. I’ve got Microsoft Edge open, too, all within the standard Chrome OS interface — complete with my usual set of web apps, Android apps, and even Linux apps in the mix.

Worlds are colliding, in other words. And if my first official taste of this wild new reality tells me anything, it’s that the traditional boundaries we tend to think about with platforms and operating systems no longer apply. At least, not when you’re using a Chromebook.

Let me back up a sec and set the stage for my surreal little experiment here: Back in June, Google announced it was working with a company called Parallels to bring Windows app support into the Chrome OS environment. The magic works via a virtual machine that’s installed on the Chromebook and then made to run locally on the device, which means you can use virtually any Windows program as if it were a local app — whether you’re online with an active internet connection or not.

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