Google Chrome OS: All Quiet on the Western Front

That said, I wanted to see for myself what could be this new Google concept. So I downloaded the Chrome OS VMWare image (also available for Sun's VirtualBox) from engadget web site and ran it on my PC.

Google Chrome logoYou can always count on Google for creating a buzz  on the internet with its innovative applications, such as Google Wave for example.   In November, Google  released its first preview of its new operating system: Google Chrome OS.

Google said that this new operating system targets  netbooks that use on-line applications only, without local storage support. The entire system is stored on SDD disks - and nothing else.

That said, I wanted to see for myself what could be this new Google concept. So I downloaded the Chrome OS VMWare image (also available for Sun's VirtualBox) from engadget web site and ran it on my PC.

Chrome OS screenshot

Actually, Chrome OS is built on a Linux kernel with an enhanced Chrome browser as the user interface. Only on-line and some off-line (based on HTML 5 off-line access features) applications can be used. Chrome OS does not handle local storage systems such as hard drives or USB keys. So, no way to use your netbook as a video or music player, except for on-line resources (YouTube, Deezer, ...).

This new Google operating system left me skeptical. This OS is based on a linux kernel but restricted by Google specifications. I do not think I would ever pay for a netbook that will only work if I can access the internet, on which I cannot store my music and video library, without any way to store my files on a local device or handle external devices (at the time being, Google has not announced any solution to handle printers for instance :( ). It reminds me of the  Sun's Network PC concept,  a comeback of  the old passive terminal, applied to the Cloud. Google seems to target the iPad-like devices, but the restrictions are so drastic that I think that Apple can sleep on both ears ;)

But we will see, as Google always surprises us ...

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About the author

Jacques Desmazières
Jacques Desmazières

J2EE/Java senior consultant. Expert in Software architecture and technical design, and involved in the b-i quality commitee. Before working for blue-infinity he was the technical director of a banking software editor on the French Riviera and also spend some years as a system integration consultant.