Originally posted at Youthpad.
The tech news that got everybody’s attention today was Google’s announcement of a new operating system called Google Chrome OS. Google is the 500-pound gorilla in the field of web applications and every single move they make is bound to generate a lot of excitement. Throughout the day major news outlets, tech blogs, Twitter – all were abuzz with discussions on Google Chrome OS.
Google Chrome OS (not the browser) is based on the concept of having a minimal interface with every work being done using a web application. Want to create/edit documents? Use Google Docs. Want to edit a picture? Do it online. Chrome OS is definitely not a challenger to Windows XP / Vista / 7. It’s an operating system restricted only to ‘netbooks’ – small-sized laptops such as the Asus Eee PC which are mainly used for browsing the Internet.
My thoughts on this news is that Chrome OS will be a big failure. Just because the devices on which it run are called ‘netbooks‘ doesn’t mean that they are always connected to the Internet. It doesn’t mean that a web interface is the magical solution to every problem. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be fast. Agreed that Chrome OS will start within seconds, but performance after that will be your-mileage-may-vary depending on how good your Internet connection is.
Say you want to listen to music. Is a web-based player the ideal solution for a situation like this? Definitely not. Or say you want to use your netbook to check some documents when you’re travelling – on a train or a plane. You can’t! Something as simple as thing will be impossible with Chrome OS. 24×7 net connectivity is all well and good if you’re in a developed country. Simply walk into a Starbucks or roam around public places and you’ll find Wi-Fi hotspots. But say someone comes over from there to…India. Now his netbook is nothing but an extremely expensive paperweight. And even then, connectivity issues can be a problem abroad too.
I know that some of you are going to bring up Google Gears now. Google Gears allows web applications to work in ‘offline mode’ and then synchronize it later with a web server. But then why bother making an OS which is a glorified browser running web apps and then create workarounds to make them work offline? Why not simply make a native lightweight operating system with option to sync with your stuff stored online when there’s connectivity? Surely that makes more sense.
In order to provide a boot-up time in seconds, Google gave no thought to common sense. However, nobody has seen Chrome OS till now of course. We can only go by what Google has told us about it. RMS will be shitting bricks when Chrome OS comes out saying ‘web applications aren’t free enough‘ (they aren’t). Time will tell how good it is and whether people bother to buy devices using this.
Let’s throw that open as a question. Would you buy a laptop on which you can work only if you’re connected to the Internet, but can start up within seconds? Leave your two cents below on this topic.