I remember shooting the breeze with a couple of the staff members at my alma mater’s IT department, where I was previously employed, and asking “whatever happened to the Google Chrome OS?” This conversation happened over the past summer. We collectively thought that Android was replacing what Google Chrome was supposed to be.
However, Google officially unveiled the Google Chrome Operating System and even launched a pilot program for users to get a free Chrome notebook. As a technology trends reporter, I decided to sign up for the program (cross your fingers). I am interested in trying it out first hand as there is a lot of dissonance among the other reviewers about the OS.
One major assumption I had was that the notebook would be completely useless without an active internet connection. Some bloggers have even reported that you can’t do anything without being connected to the internet. However, I have found this to not be (entirely) true.
I downloaded a podcast from CNET, the Reporter’s Roundtable which originally aired on Friday, December, 10. They mentioned that some applications have the ability to work locally such as Google Docs. If the notebook happens to be offline, anything done on Google Docs is cached locally and then synced with the Cloud once an internet connection is reinstated.
The base system software is rooted in Linux which allows the system to boot, and search for a wireless connection as well as hosts some applications while off-line. However, the notebook has no file system meaning there is no way to access drives or even folders.
As I haven’t used the system yet (hint hint Google) I am apprehensive about using a Cloud-based OS. What do you do if you can’t get an internet connection? (GASP). The bus you’re on has Wi-Fi but it isn’t working. Or you are on vacation out in the boonies and cell service is non-existence. At least with a standard operating system, you can access your music, photos, videos, and use all of your installed applications.
Also, the system processing speed is based on your internet connection. I would hate to try to edit videos or use a program like Photoshop on the internet. If my internet connection is lagging, it is going to take me longer to work on any project.
Do I think that there should be a hybridized operating system? Yes, I do – something that has local storage and file mapping, that when connected to the internet, syncs instantaneously. However, I wouldn’t want to rely solely on the internet for all of my computing needs.
Check out an overview of the Chrome OS here.