Google Chrome – the operating system of the future?

Due to the widespread coverage of the Wikileaks fiasco you might not have noticed the launch by Google of its Chrome OS.

It was broadcast live on YouTube lasting 2+ hours during which new features for the browser and background to Chrome OS were outlined.

According to Google the Chrome browser has seen a 300% increase since January 2010 and Chrome OS builds on the browser as the interface for the future of computing.

From browser to OS

Google OS desktop

The concept builds on the Chrome browser turning it into the actual operating system. The main claims were that it will be faster, in all respects, more secure with automatic updates relieving the user of the mundane and often overlooked but necessary activity and able to be ‘connected’ 24/7 wirelessly or by World-mode 3G.

Whatever the standard the process will be transparent and seamlessly integrated into its normal operation.

Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, calls the concept behind the product “something computer scientists have been dreaming about for a very, very long time…The kind of magic that we could imagine 20 years ago, but couldn’t make real because we lacked the technology.”

Magic or not, for anyone old enough to remember, it takes the traditional mainframe client/server technology model and transfers it to the Cloud. This is not a complete surprise as the principle has been trialled with the Google Docs platform with central storage on Google’s servers and remote access and shared working from the desktop.

At the event a pilot the OS was promoted as the preferred environment for large enterprises due to its easy of use, security, ease of installation, updating and support together with the high level of encryption employed.

Looks impressive with many attractive features

After the impressive demonstration of the OS by both Google and a number of major players eg New York Times, a pilot scheme was announced with Google announcing,

“We’re not done yet, but Chrome OS is at the stage where we need feedback from real users. Some of the features of Chrome OS require new hardware, but we didn’t want to sell pre-beta computers. Instead we’re launching a pilot program where we will give test notebooks to qualified users, developers, schools and businesses. We’re starting with the U.S. and will expand to other countries once we get the necessary certifications. To participate in the pilot program, visit the Chrome notebook website.”

But, there are a good many issues relating to the Cloud computing model.

Could it be Orwell’s Big Brother by the back door?

Do we all really want to relinquish control and all our storage requirements to an unknown power and become dependent on internet access for all our needs?

No doubt it will be adopted by a number of larger organisations for the TCO (total cost of ownership) reasons and security it offers but whether it will universally catch on only time will tell.

The Google OS device will be available sometime in 2011! Will you be standing first in line when the store opens?

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