Google Chrome OS: The Next Digital Revolution

With the advent of Windows 7, many users have been scrambling to compare the OS to Apple’s leading product, OS X Snow Leopard. However, in the midst of the competition concerning the two products, Google’s new Chrome OS has been relatively ignored. Even so, this new player in the market may very well follow the same path as the netbook itself, the platform that Google is aiming for with the Chrome OS, set to be finished and released in the second half of 2010.

So, in the wake of the battle between Apple and Microsoft, what exactly is Google’s Chrome OS? It’s a new, lightweight, open source OS produced by Google which is almost entirely dependent on the cloud, to the point where the entire OS is composed of almost nothing but the Chrome browser. Instead of attempting to produce a fully fledged OS (operating system), Google and the free software community are working to produce an OS that focuses on being as lightweight as possible, yet can handle all of the basic needs of the average user, relying on the growing success of web applications such as Google Apps, YouTube, Facebook, Gmail, and much more.

It’s already been shown that convenience, simplicity, and instant access can easily trump alternatives in the computer industry, demonstrated by the striking popularity of the smartphone, netbook, Craigslist, and similar products. This is where Chrome OS shines and where Windows 7 and Snow Leopard do not: providing a cheap, small, fast alternative to Windows 7 and Snow Leopard, potentially even overcoming the two with an always-on, lasting, secure, and cheap computer that is more than capable of handling quick computer tasks.

Why wait for your MacBook or laptop to boot up and finish loading when you can press a button on your netbook and be almost instantly greeted with a login screen, or, depending on your security settings, a browser? Although you may not be able to play Crysis or run Visual Studio, the average user tends to access social networking or business applications far more often and for shorter periods of time than the previous two. And the user did meet a need to access such applications, then they can turn to their occasionally more powerful alternative to satisfy that need.

With this in mind, that’s also another one of the powerful benefits of the OS: it’s not meant to become your primary PC, similar to a smartphone. For those of you that own a device such as the iPhone, Droid, or the Palm Pre, how many times have you decided to simply reach for your phone to update your Twitter status or your MySpace/Facebook instead of getting up and walking over to your computer? What if you also had a device with the same ease of access that could also edit photos, produce videos, manage passwords, access the Bittorrent network, provide a complete office suite, transfer large files, convert files, or do just about anything else?

Google Chrome OS may finally provide something similar to a smartphone 2.0, a more powerful and feature complete sister product that is just a little larger in size. Just as the iPhone completely redefined the market, Google’s Chrome OS may turn out to achieve a similar milestone in the personal computer industry. Not only that, but if the OS is popular among the general population, then it will only help to strengthen Google’s status as a major player in the market, all the way from a basic search engine to a powerful threat to Microsoft and its Windows products, while also helping to spread the success and familiarity of the Linux kernel that the Google Chrome OS is based on.

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9 Responses to Google Chrome OS: The Next Digital Revolution

  1. Vinicius December 29, 2009 at 10:39 pm #

    it can’t even be called an OS. all it does is open the web browser(Google Chrome, of course). It’s nothing but a linux with chrome on autostart

  2. Sgt Moo December 30, 2009 at 4:57 am #

    from the screenie provided there it looks to be taking a leaf out of the Windows 7 “Superbar” and using that for app navigation and a simple interface…I would prefer a full Gnome interface but I’m sure that can be enabled just like with the original Eee PCs you could access a full KDE interface with a few minor tweaks. But who am I to complain, if Google make their own *nix based OS and I can stick a Gnome interface on it I’m happy to give it a go

  3. jon December 30, 2009 at 5:44 am #

    If they are going to have Chrome OS they need to find a way existing windows programs can be installed onto the cloud and run from the cloud, even 3D games.

    Then I will be first in line to buy it

  4. Robert December 30, 2009 at 8:17 am #

    Looks like Google is trying to build stuff they shouldn’t. Just leave the OS market alone for Windows, or kick Apple’s butt with something that beats the iPhone.

  5. Daniel D. December 30, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    I think this could have a sure market as a kiosk OS.
    I believe that web apps still have a long way to replace the traditional ones.
    But innovation is always welcome!

    • ChromeMagnon December 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

      It is a great kiosk desktop – I can see this rather than Windows as the standard OS in public libraries, Internet cafes, and other public kiosks. It is also probably going to be even more popular as a go anywhere portable communications device which gives you instant Internet to go – in other words the netbook paradigm – except that Google is pushing bigger screens and keyboards for a better user experience (and perhaps because they don’t want it to compete with Android based devices which are designed for small screens and keyboards). You are still going to need Windows to run AutoCAD, Photoshop, or Sage Accounts, but for 90% of the time, you will end up using your Chrome OS netbook.

  6. Anonymous December 30, 2009 at 10:41 pm #

    I have been thinking… that the lack of local access was a mistake, but that is backward thinking, along the lines of “what will anyone need more than 64k for?”… But Google has been mum on this. Perhaps for several reasons. One it keeps MS from seeing exactly where Google is headed, the misdirection of a “webtop” that sits atop windows, mac, linux, whatever is certainly something that all of us can either remember or relate to.

    In addition, the younger generation isn’t like ours. They are less concerned about firing up a full fledged word processor or a cad-cam design program on a day to day basis. Perhaps in the workplace of course, perhaps for term papers or business presentations.
    But the netbook revolution has shown me one thing. The younger people use these devices for most if not all of their interactions on pc’s. I was soooo convinced that heck would freeze over before anyone found a way to beat MS at their game.

    I was wrong on several counts. Playing MS’s game isn’t the way to beat them. New generation computer users don’t even think like I do. Why should they? They get to the things they need, do the things they want and are happy and productive, in a student/web using way. And there are more of them, than us. haha, :) Any old mainframe people feel this way you think when the first “micro” computers came along?

    So first the distraction, the “I’m only doing this…” wave, an appeal to a larger market that does almost everything online anyway. And then when 2010 slips into 2011 or so, when its not just netbooks, but laptops and desktops as well… (I mean who wouldn’t want a pc you don’t have to install updates on? Or worry about viruses or spyware? or oh, i forgot my term-paper on my pc at home, or what do you mean the pc in the office doesn’t like my flashdrive? I mean really… unless I’m a business storing confidential files, all my emails and business communications come over email anyway.

    Lastly of course, just as we are seeing chrome os hit the market, there will be a little tab accessed browser window of course, that will run “local” apps, in a sandbox isolated from the browser and hence the os itself. Games anyone? Or that famous Adobe Photoshop arguement? Or that intensive cad-cam program that designers use?

    But oh my! what if those are on my work pc? Or the mac at my house?
    Well… :)
    that is where a Google branded “pc connect” will come in, a vpn to your home pc (server, right?) or to the work pc with all the “local” apps stored on it.

    Or… and this may be the oh my!! Dorothy’s red slippers and all… what if storage was sooooo cheap that Google could back up your complete pc? Bytes in the background uploading into the cloud? Then I wouldn’t even need a vpn connection at all, no server at my house, or what if I forgot to leave the work pc on, just in case? Well then… it wouldn’t even matter would it. :)

    And all of this is not even future tech, or vaporware that MS talks up whenever they have someone else get the spotlight for a bit. It’s all off the shelf tech that can be done now. And how much will this cost me per month? Well, let me see… Internet access used to be what? $19.99? some places went for $9.99, some for $21.99 (anyone remember AOL?) So what does DSL or cable cost now? Do you get a tv channel/internet package for $100 and think its a good deal?

    And if you don’t do you still pay $49.99 or $59.99 or $79.99 a month and think its fine for that broadband access you find you want so much so you don’t have to wait?

    So, what does Google charge? Or anyone else for that matter, what if Google partners, so they are the one’s holding the whole bag? Like MS was and still wants? $19.99 anyone? Especially when there are “millions” of netbooks, laptops and desktops now running Google’s Chrome OS?
    $79.99 plus $19.99 for a spyware free, safe and backed up version of my programs and apps and web bookmarks is rather cheap, considering that no one has been able to give us that no matter what we have paid before.

    :)
    Sounds like an interesting future, stick around, 2010 + looks to be very very interesting.
    :)

    -Teal

  7. Anonymous December 30, 2009 at 11:49 pm #

    Just a quick thought to all those who wonder… “what do i want a os that is just a browser…?” It can’t do all the “important stuff” right?

    Well… just unplug your pc from the net for a bit, what can you do?
    Well… a few things… i can write a novel in a word processor, i can fire up my cad-cam program and design some things, i can fire up my favorite code maker and write programs…

    But what else?
    Well…
    Not much really.
    If you want access to “most of the things you do most everyday, and mostly all day” you need a browser. It is the “one” application you are in the most. And the one you spend most of your time in, like hours and hours even.

    So why is Chrome OS such a big deal?

    It lets us do most of what we do, all the time, and it will only be a little while til we access the things on our local pc, less and less. We are doing the less and less right now.

    That is why Chrome is a big deal.

    :)

    -Teal

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