Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My thoughts on Google's Chrome OS

Unless you've been living under a rock, you have heard that last week Google demonstrated their Chrome OS for the first time in public. They also open-sourced what they have so far as the Chromium OS project. You can watch an overview video here:

I followed the event, watched the YouTube videos and even played with a copy of Chromium OS via gdgt.

So here are my thoughts on my limited experience so far. It seems like a perfect fit for the netbook market. "Living in the cloud" seems like a great idea for the ability to access your data anywhere. A verified boot system will be a godsend to anyone who has ever had reinstall an OS because it just got 'crufty'.

But I don't understand why they have, so far, omitted the concept of a desktop. One of the coolest features of Chrome is its ability to turn a web app into a 'desktop' app, which prompted me to to find Fluid for the Mac. Why force new users of Chrome OS to live in a browser when they could have still kept the concepts of a desktop with 'desktop' applications? There is also a nearly direct analogy in Chrome OS between its tabs and the Windows task bar or Mac Dock. So why make it feel so different instead of trying to fit into the conventions every other GUI-based OS already established?

I know it is fun to "rock the boat" and "shake the tree", but I'm just not finding the benefits to tying so closely to existing browser paradigms instead of reusing some of the desktop conventions for this new 'web' OS.
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