As I read report after report on Google’s Chrome OS, I have to say I feel a little let down. But most importantly, I’m hesitant to call it a real Operating System.
[Google Chrome OS is] an open source operating system for people who spend most of their time on the web.
Don’t we all spend most of our time nowadays on the web? What is not to love?
The problem is the rest of the time when we are not on the web.
You see, Chrome OS doesn’t write anything locally, it leverages the cloud for all write operations.
I haven’t read the specs closely, but I assume ChromeOS will have Gears enabled, so that when I’m on the subway, I can still work on my Google Docs.
But there’s been more than one time when syncing failed and I was able to copy and paste the contents of the document in a notepad file and save it locally.
Then there’s the fact that you can’t run any applications that require hard drive installations. If you see my desktop right now, Chrome is handling most of the stuff I do on a daily basis (Gmail, Twitter, Google Reader, Blogs, FriendFeed, WordPress) but if you look at my taskbar, you’ll see Outlook (and I need it, because the web-based Outlook sucks), and I am running XAMPP, because I develop web applications locally, specially without needing to have internet connectivity (again, the subway is my second office). I also use Fireworks often, which would have to be replaced with a cloud-based image editing system.
And this is all running on an MSI Netbook which is never turned off.
My point is that it’s awesome that we can do more and more on the cloud. But there are situations when we’re going to need to work locally, and installing an OS that has been striped of that functionality is like tearing the back seats of my car just because it makes it lighter. At some point I’m going to need those seats.
See the video below to get a better idea of what ChromeOS is in a nutshell.