You 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.
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 ...
- Engadget Chrome OS image download: http://www.engadget.com/2009/11/20/google-chrome-os-available-as-free-vmware-download/
- PCWorld's Chrome OS FAQ: http://www.pcworld.com/article/168080/faq_google_chrome_os.html?loomia_ow=t0:s0:a38:g26:r4:c0.002918:b26258934:z0