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Google previews Chrome OS

Earlier today, Google gave a detailed presentation about Chrome OS, the open-source, Web-centric operating system -- built around its Chrome browser -- that it announced in July to general excitement among tech types.

During an event at their Mountain View, Calif., campus, Google developers and executives outlined the basic structure of this operating system, intended for use on small, lightweight netbooks:

* It will, in fact, feature only one conventional program, Google's Chrome browser (plus a few browser plug-ins, such as Adobe's Flash and Acrobat).

* It's built to boot up as quickly as possible, going from a cold start to online in about 10 seconds.

* From then on, you'll be able to run any Web-based program you want. The browser will also be able to play or display your own music, movies, photos and e-books.

* Chrome OS will synchronize your Web-hosted data to flash memory, then encrypt that local copy to prevent a laptop thief from getting to your information.

* The operating system will restrict the access of every other program on the system to prevent malware attacks and will verify its own integrity every time it boots up.

* You won't be able to install Chrome OS on a current netbooks; Chrome netbooks will need to meet some hardware requirements, such as only using flash memory instead of hard drives, then they ship about a year from now.

For more details, see the reporting of MG Siegler, who live-blogged the event for TechCrunch, and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, who provided a more technically oriented writeup of the Webcast for Computerworld .

You can also listen to the whole thing in Real or Windows Media at Google's site. Or check out its introductory videos, technical documentation, and full source-code downloads.

Does this sound like an appealing concept as described, or do you have enough Google in your life already?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  November 19, 2009; 2:51 PM ET
Categories:  The Web  
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Next: Augmenting my 'augmented reality' review (updated)

Comments

So what programs will be available for these netbooks other than what's on the Web and those offered by Google? That's the most important question as far as I'm concerned. Since I don't use Google Docs I would not be interested in a machine that couldn't run MS Office or even OpenOffice.org.

Posted by: bokamba | November 19, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

It sounds great, except for times like tonight, when we have a storm and I lose the Internet. I see many technical advantages in Google's model, but my ISP infrastructure isn't ready for it.

Posted by: pundito | November 20, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

The machine would have to AT LEAST run the OpenOffice suite?

Does it ??????????

I've booked marked it for later review.

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | November 20, 2009 4:02 AM | Report abuse

Requiescat in pace, Microsoft.

Posted by: jimward21 | November 20, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

IT is a new OS and has special (expensive) hardware requirements). . .

MS charges a netbook manufacturer something like $25 a license for XP. Linux is free. Will the hardware requirements of Google's OS exceed that $25? If so, will computer makers view Google's OS as saving them money and thereby increasing profit margin? And if the new OS actually limits consumers choices of software to web based while increasing manufacturing costs and thereby decreasing profits, does it even stand a chance?

Posted by: chrisp339 | November 20, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I think the gist is that there would be zero programs loaded locally. All programs would be web-based, but since MS Office and OO are headed in that direction that would meet your criteria, no?

Imagine the joy of never having to download and install resource hogging software like iTunes!

Posted by: Corn_Laden | November 20, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

re: Corn_Laden
"

I think the gist is that there would be zero programs loaded locally. All programs would be web-based, but since MS Office and OO are headed in that direction that would meet your criteria, no?

Imagine the joy of never having to download and install resource hogging software like iTunes!"

Think not being able to do a thing with your computer unless you have web access. The cloud is not such a great idea. Ask the Sidekick users about having all their data in "the cloud".

No, I like the idea of local programs and local data.

Posted by: blasher | November 20, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Someone tell me if I'm wrong. It seems to me that, initially, the market would be for a netbook as a second computer, not an only computer. The real advantage would be that one's conventional, old-style machine, the one with the hard drive, could then be insulated from the Web, would be safe against all intrusive attacks, (including MS's irritating weekly updates that, over time, will cumulatively slow any computer to a tortoise's pace), and would never need to be "upgraded".

Posted by: VieuxDeLaMontagne | November 20, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"Imagine the joy of never having to download and install resource hogging software like iTunes!""

Imagine the pain of paying a (micro-)subscription fee every time you open a document, edit it, save it, e-mail it, etc.

Once your computer can only work with the cloud, they have a captive audience for either ads or fees, or both.

Maybe those fees would total less than you pay for the software now (well not iTunes, that's free). But since the fees could change daily, hourly, even minute-by-minute you'd be hard pressed to determine the total cost ahead of time.

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Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | November 21, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

I am skeptical of The Cloud.

As Wired reported, part of Microsoft's motivation to push the cloud concept is precisely the idea of subscription fees. If they can't make people pay for software (i.e. stop cracking it), then they can turn software into a service that you pay for over time.

FOSS for me, wherever possible.

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Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | November 21, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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