Google Chrome is a hot piece of software that is getting all sorts of reviews. Some say it’ll be a hit, others are convinced its destined to fail. So what’s Chrome OS all about, and what could do it for you? Here are some answers.
- What is Google Chrome OS?
Google Chrome OS is a lightweight, cloud-based operating system.
- How’s it different from Windows 7?
The primary difference is that Google Chrome OS is designed to operate entirely off of the Internet. That means you won’t store data or run programs on the computer itself; rather, everything will Web-driven.
- So, what’s the advantage?
Speed is one big plus: Because of the cloud-based configuration, Chrome OS can boot within as little as three seconds. That instant-on capability is a large reason why Google describes the Chrome OS experience as more like using a TV than using a Computer: You press a button, and seconds later, you’re doing your thing.
Security is another expected advantage. Since you aren’t storing data or running applications locally, the odds of contracting a virus are significantly reduced. In fact, the Chrome OS won’t even allow applications to make changes to the operating system if they want to -- and, on top of that, the OS will continually update itself and correct any corrupted modules automatically. The critical pieces of the OS will also be stored in read-only memory.
- Do you actually save any data
Not much. Chrome OS will store a small amount of data locally, such as your system preferences. Even that data will be encrypted, though -- and synched with an online storage center, too. The idea, as Google explains it, is that you could lose your Chrome OS system, go get another one, and have everything back exactly the way it was within a matter of seconds.
- Will you be able to work offline?
A toughie question ! Since Google Chrome OS runs cloud-based applications, your options will be limited when you aren’t connected. Developers, however, may be able to build in a small amount of offline functionality for their programs.
- What’s the Chrome OS interface like?
It’s just like the interface of the Chrome browser. All of your applications run in tabs, and all of the tabs reside in windows.
You can drag and drop tabs between windows at will. And there’s a permanent tab called the application menu that shows you new and noteworthy apps for your system. I love Chrome so this is awesome news !
- Will you be able to run any
Technically, any Web-based application will work, so long as it’s able to operate in a standards-compliant browser. Even Microsoft’s Office Live will run on a Chrome OS computer -- in fact, it’s the software’s default program for opening files such as Excel documents.
- Does that mean you couldn’t install your own browser, like Firefox?
More or less. Chrome is the default browser in the Chrome OS, and you can’t install software onto a Chrome OS system. The only way around it would be if a developer such as Mozilla were to take Google’s open source code, create its own version of the Chrome operating system, and then sell its own Chrome OS devices with the Firefox browser built in.
- What kind of computers will run Google Chrome OS?
Google Chrome OS will run on netbooks and mobile tablets . They’ll be fairly scaled-down systems, since they won’t need much functionality besides USB and Wi-Fi. Google is already working with manufacturers to come up with a list of hardware components that’ll be allowed within the Chrome OS machines.
Google expects to have the OS shipped and ready by late 2011. I for one, can’t wait for it !!