Google Touts Chrome OS

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Google has released some details on Chrome OS, confirming some suspicions about just what its upcoming operating system might actually do, a topic on which it’s been fairly quiet until now.

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Eweek is reporting on Google’s VP of product management, Sundar Pichai’s speech at the Web 2.0 Summit yesterday, where he essentially said that in a world where people are using web-based applications like Google’s office suite, Gmail and Google Wave then the browser practically becomes an OS in itself. He then went on to talk about Chrome OS in a little detail, saying of users,

“… they don’t manage software, they don’t manage data, everything is in the cloud.”

It’s certainly an intriguing point. The idea that users won’t be able to install things on Google Chrome is something that’s been suggested before, but the suggestion that users won’t be managing their own data certainly starts to raise eyebrows. While we’re sure that users will be able to save their own data to a disc under Chrome OS (because let’s face it, if not, they’re in trouble), the idea of situating everything in the cloud is… risky.

The fact is that Google gets a lot of good press for offering so very many of its services for free (or at the very least, free at the point of use, which is a considerably difference), and as a result people tend to jump on anyone who goes against the grain… but the fact is that nobody’s infallible.

During Gmail’s now infamous downtime of six-weeks-or-so ago, thousands of users were left scratching their heads as the day passed them by. In a world where all of our data and applications are in the cloud, that risk becomes massive. Microsoft’s Sidekick debacle is probably the best example going of what happens when a service like that collapses.

If you’d like to read more about Chrome OS then you should check out the eWeek article on it, where there’s an awful lot more detail on Google’s strategy and how it thinks web use is going to be in the future.

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5 Responses to “Google Touts Chrome OS”

  1. Rob Allen Says:

    More FUD from Google. So they are , and let me see if I got this right, supporting not one, but 2 operating systems, one on the mobile market and one on a desktop PC. So what we see so far is that Chrome OS, or whatever it is , is going to boot you into a Web browser and give you other functions in the “cloud”, such as , hmm Google apps perhaps.

    I dont spend my life in a browser , I do heavy spreadsheet analysis , programming , Gaming. so do a lot of other people, however all I hear is more and more talk about Googles cloudy vapourware. Show us something already dammit. It annoys me that the people who Game and do heavy PC work start getting all wobbly legged over this. What we back to now, dual boot ?

    • komplettie Says:

      Your point about tech people (who game and use apps that are utterly impractical for cloud use) getting weak at the knees for a cloud OS is very well made.

      I think a big part of it is that people are obsessed with newness, and a cloud-based OS isn’t just the next big thing, it has the potential to get all subsequent new things to you faster. It’s an attractive idea, but I have a healthy dose of “cloud fear.”

      • Rob Allen Says:

        The problem for me is that I cant crunch numbers and write my thesis in a browser. Hell, I dont even write blog posts in a browser, I use windows live writer. So I still need the grunt. I am in the final parts of beefing up my netbook until it runs like I want, that will warrant a blog post in itself, but the netbook alone is more powerful than a web browser 🙂

      • komplettie Says:

        I totally understand the writing into a blog comment, everything I do for both this blog and my own blog is typed up in Mircosoft Word, with HTML done as best I can off the top of my head. Moving it into the browser is when the editing gets done. In-browser writing is a very visceral experience… it’s strange, but I don’t appreciate it. I’ve been forced to do it once or twice.

  2. bigpicture Says:

    For those of you who have been in on the ground floor of computing, might remember at the very start it was dumb terminals (no computing power) for interface and all the grunt work was done by the mainframe to present the information on the screen, and new inputs were more or less immediately available to other terminals hooked to this mainframe. (phase 1) Then along came PCs that eventually got fairly powerful computing capabilities, and did all the grunt work on the interface box, but did not share the information with other terminals. (phase 2) Then eventually the PCs were hooked together into a network, and information was both stored on the servers, and on the PCs, some information shared and some not, and programs resided on the servers but ran on the PCs. (phase 3) The PCs will again be close to dumb terminals, hooked together by GLOBAL server networks, personal/private/public information will be saved on the servers and available from anywhere in the world. The programs will reside on the servers and run on the servers. The PC will only have to be powerful enough to run hardware and back-up save locally which will require very little computing power. (phase 4)

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