For those of you who do not follow Google as closely as some of us here on the SOLIS team, you may not have heard yet that Google is making a new operating system (OS). What’s an OS? The operating system at is basic level is what runs your computer. Windows, Macintosh, and Linux are all popular operating systems currently. Google wants to offer its own service to this list, and it is going to do so in a completely different way.
Google released a new web browser about a year ago, called Google Chrome. Out of the box it was already faster than most existing web browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera. That was impressive enough, but then it got even faster. Google also focused on browser security, and worked to keep different web-based applications from interfering with or hijacking each other. This is also a valuable feature. So, with speed and security, what do you get? A new web browser that lets you do the kinds of things you want to do, and it allows you to spend less time to do it.
Let’s take a look at the currently available operating systems. For the most part, Macintosh and Linux have a much safer OS than Windows. Part of this is due to the fact that Windows is such a big target for malicious programmers, and part of it is just the way Windows does business. Anti-virus programs and mal-ware detectors do a lot to make computers safer, but the risk involved is inherent in the way an OS performs.
An OS allows programs you install to take control of various portions of your computer. This is what makes it possible for mal-ware to do what it does. Once it is granted access, it does what it does. This ends up causing havoc and pandemonium and ultimately we end up having to go out and buy a new computer with the same vulnerabilities as the one that was hacked.
Google is trying to rethink the way operating systems work. When Google began looking into the idea of an OS, a number of things came to light. Today’s computer users are spending a lot of time on the internet. We use it for email, chatting, Facebook, watching videos, listening to music, banking, shopping, and more. A lot of users simply hop on the internet when they turn on the computer, and when they are done browsing the web, they turn the computer off. In light of this, Google decided to extend the idea of its Chrome browser to an OS.
The Chrome OS was discussed today at a special event. The official launch date is still unknown, but it is likely to be early next year. They discussed some of the features of the new OS, including the way it handles web applications. Gmail, Youtube, and Picassa are all examples of web applications. Essentially, while using the Chrome OS, it will be a very similar experience as using the Chrome browser. Different tabs will be opened for different applications. They even pointed out that the new web-based Microsoft Office 2010 is perfectly suited to this new way of doing things. Anything you can do online, you can do on the Chrome OS.
It looks like Chrome OS will be able to do quite a bit when it launches. There are still a number of other questions about it though. Fellow SOLIS blogger David Dickens asks how will the OS handle files? Can a cloud-based service transfer a file to another cloud-based service without using the OS as an intermediary tool? These questions are important to think about. There are many more unanswered questions at this point as well, but this is simply meant to introduce the idea of the Chrome OS.
Now that we have covered some of the basics, lets take a look at this short video about the new Chrome OS.
This video was a basic introduction to what Google has in store for us and the reasons we would want Google’s new OS. Those who want to learn more can view the related videos displayed at the end of this introductory video.
Is this OS going to be for everyone? Probably not. Certain types of computer use will be better suited for a traditional OS. For most personal use though, Chrome OS has potential to be very beneficial. As more information becomes available, the SOLIS team will keep you posted.