Google Chrome OS: The Operating System of The Future?
Google’s new operating system Google Chrome OS has been receiving a great deal of press lately. At a press conference on November 19, 2009, Sundar Pichai, Google’s Vice President of Project Management announced that despite many rumors, Google would not be releasing a beta version of the operating system (OS). Instead, they announced that they were open sourcing, or making available to outside developers for modification, their code for the Chrome OS project. While that may have been a disappointment for those waiting to tryout the new operating system, Google hopes it will mean a better operating system when it is finally released.
Google Chrome was first introduced as a web browser in 2008. Using their browser as the foundation, Google began building it into an operating system. As Pichai said at the press conference, “Chrome is Chrome OS.”
How It Works
Chrome is a linux-based program that relies on cloud computing. Cloud computing refers to any program that is accessed remotely on the Internet with a web browser. Chrome OS allows the user to take any favorite application and “pin it” to the application tab. There is also an application menu that allows the user to access favorite applications such a Gmail, Google Doc, Google Books, etc. According to Pichai, any application created for the web is accessible in Chrome OS.
What Chrome OS Offers Users
Google’s web blog boasts that Chrome OS offers users “speed, simplicity, and security” as well as stability.
Chrome boots up in seven seconds and compared to many other operating systems that can take up to 45 seconds, that is a big difference. The Google staff is still working to reduce that time even more, if possible. Chrome loads web pages fast allowing the user to browse the Internet quickly.
Because Chrome is basically a web browser it handles easily. Users can open a new tab to view their favorite websites and create web application shortcuts. Chrome OS automatically and unobtrusively updates so that the user is always up to date. All of the user’s information is stored in the “cloud.”
Because Chrome only works with web applications, and because web applications can’t make changes to your hard drive, Google claims that Chrome will be more secure than other traditional operating systems. In addition, Chrome OS automatically updates itself everyday so that the user is running the correct version with all of the updated security patches. Matt Papakipos, Google’s Engineering Director, explained that if there were a virus outbreak on your computer, Chrome would repair itself and ask the user to reboot. It is similar to rerunning your operating system software, but because all of your data is stored in the cloud, you won’t lose any of your saved files. Chrome OS also offers the user Security Sandboxing. Sandboxing is where each application tab runs separately from each other and your OS system, so each application can’t infect another application. Finally, the file system OS partition, which on traditional operating systems is located in a writeable partition, is located in a locked down read-only partition. Also, user data is always encrypted and data is always synced back to the cloud. If your computer were to ever be stolen, your data would be safely stored in the cloud and any personal data located on your computer would be encrypted.
Each tab runs independently of the other tab, so if one tab becomes unstable and crashes, it doesn’t cause the entire browser to go down losing any of your unsaved data.
As with any new program, there appear to be some cons to Chrome OS:
- It is made to run only web applications. That means that it cannot run any applications that you have installed on your hard drive.
- Chrome OS assumes that the user has a main computer with a standard operating system. Chrome OS is meant to work with a supplemental device such as a netbook only.
- The trial version has not been easy for users, who were hoping to tryout Chrome OS, to download and get up and running. As Pichai said at the conference, Google is working with partners to create hardware that works specifically with Chrome OS in order to create a Chrome OS device.
Google has only released a trial version for Windows in hopes of getting feedback and suggestions before the official release of Chrome at the end of 2010. The operating system will probably change a great deal before it is finally released. While Google has many good ideas for Chrome OS, it does not appear to be any major competition for Windows 7 or Mac’s Snow Leopard as it is only meant for supplemental devices. We’ll all just have to wait and see what happens next year at this time.
Content by Managed Services Provider University