Google Chrome OS?
Very amusing! Read about it here on Ars Technica. Google is basically planning a slimmed-down OS that boots right into Chrome. Sounds good for a simple device. Chrome is a great browser*, I use it everywhere.
As per usual, the comments are where the story is most interesting. There seems to be a divide between people who think this is a great idea, the next big thing, etc and those who are taking a more rational viewpoint. “ZOMG! MICRO$OFT IS DEAD NOW!” Yeah, okay. Heard that one before, where’s the moron that said it last time? Hiding, I’m sure.
I don’t think it’ll be the next ‘big thing’, but I’m sure it’ll find itself a place in the ecosystem. A computing platform that only browses the web still has it’s place. For example, I can’t wait for the CrunchPad. Sleek, sexy and functional… I’ll buy one the first day I can.
Interestingly, the comments also went in another direction: netbooks. The usual array of completely uninformed comments are present as well. Most notably the “netbooks are slow” argument. This is simply untrue. They boot quickly, they run Office and browser tasks quite decently. No delays running applications, nor are the apps themselves slow. Some things need to be experienced before one can render a valid opinion on them (unlike say… oh, I dunno… any Apple product).
My final post on the comments was that we already have PC’s equivalent to what Google is proposing. They’re called netbooks with Linux on them. Boot up, go into Firefox, tada… just ignore the OS and everything that comes with it. It’s not like you paid anything for it.
It should be noted the number of people that believe that everything will ‘shift to the cloud’ is relatively low. Many more vehemently state the complete opposite. I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Some applications will lend themselves to a web-only paradigm whereas many will not.
A couple of commenters also pointed out the perfectly rational fear of leaving your data on a server located god-knows-where rather than on your own PC. With the recent and rather lengthy outages, I think the last couple of months have clearly demonstrated why you don’t want your data and apps hosted by Google. You may not be able to get to them when you need them. This doesn’t just go for Google either, it goes for any web-based application. Any poorly hosted app is vulnerable… for example, the app may be hosted by amateurs -- and you won’t know to be wary until it’s down.