What to expect from Google Chrome OS

Speed

Chrome OS is going to pretty much be a web browser that acts as an operating system. There will be added functionality to the traditional web browser such as a file system and hardware support that will help it function as a true operating system, but at it’s heart Chrome OS is going to be just a web browser.

This will allow Google Chrome to be lightning fast compared to other operating systems like Windows or Mac OS X because Chrome will not have to worry about much of the overhead that the other operating systems have to deal with. All of the applications on the system will be web based out in Google’s cloud and should not be processor intensive on the machine.

The majority of processing should take place in the cloud.

Security

With most if not all of the operating systems applications residing on the cloud along with the majority of the files, security becomes much easier for Google to maintain. They can insure that applications are constantly up to date and files are free of viruses by checking for them in the cloud itself. The downside here is that Google is going to insure all applications are up to date, you probably won’t have a choice of keeping an older version of a product you prefer instead of updating.

A New Computer

This operating system is a brand new take on what a computer should be, and for now if you want to run it you are most likely going to have to buy a system built to run this operating system. There are most likely going to be several system requirements for this operating system, the one I know of for sure is the requirement of a solid state drive for a hard drive. This isn’t really Google’s fault because you can’t expect them to write drivers for every bit of hardware imaginable to allow it to run on their operating system.

The good news is that Google is releasing Chrome OS to be open source, so if the operating system takes off the hardware producers can write the drivers themselves. You won’t be locked in to specific hardware as much as you are with Mac systems, but won’t have the same extent of freedom you do with Windows machines.

Several PC manufacturers have already begun developing hardware for Chrome OS, including HP, Acer, Asus, Lenovo, Qualcomm, TI, and Intel. So I won’t be too worried about being price gouged on a new Chrome OS machine as there will be plenty of competition out there.

A Greater Dependency on the Internet

As you can imagine with an operating system that is built upon a web browser the Internet is going to be very important to any machine running it. The majority of applications and files used by the operating system will exist only on the Internet. This means if you don’t have an active Internet connection your machine will most likely be a brick. However, this already seems to be the case for most people. When I’m without Internet on my computer it seems the only thing I ever do is play solitaire or listen to music, things I’m sure you’ll be able to find ways to do on Google Chrome without the internet as well.

I also foresee Google partnering with one or more wireless carrier to allow users to be able to use a wireless data connection easily with Chrome OS to access files and applications on the cloud.

I even believe we’ll see wireless carrier branded machines running Chrome OS natively. Wireless data isn’t just for cell phones anymore.

Editor’s note: our friends at 40tech.com recently discussed their own experience with Google Chrome OS.

Editor’s second note: Did you skip The Soap Boxers last due to Thanksgiving? Obviously, many of you did – we missed you! We kept a full schedule – here is what you missed.

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James Bathgate writes a monthly technology column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in Reality Bytes.

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