What is Chrome OS?

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Old 15-Jan-2011
What is Chrome OS?

Looking back, it was just about a year ago that I first heard about Chrome OS. It wasnít in any official capacity, just something I heard in conversation. The Google Operating System was said to be something where everything worked around Chrome, their browser. At the time, Chrome was this neat thing I would play with crash two or three times in an hour. In other words, I hadnít really started taking it seriously as a browser. Fast forward to today, and Chrome is the first thing I install on any new machine. Itís more than just my daily driver, itís the only browser I need, and I find that my workflow has wrapped so far around it that other browsers just feel tired and old, somehow less useful. So, if I already have this computer with Chrome on it, all setup the way I want it, why would I need Chrome OS? What exactly IS Chrome OS?
Iím going to take a stab in the dark and say that off the top of your head, you know of at lease five people who only use their web browser, or applications that require the web, 100% of the time. They donít code, they donít edit video, and they probably donít even use their CD/DVD drive. We are web creatures, and Google has noticed. They noticed that users have more productive time if they didnít have to worry about things like antivirus updates, drivers, and waiting for their programs to install yet another update. Chrome accomplished this in browser form. Itís always up-to-date, you never have to maintain it, and it comes with the stuff you actually use on the internet like Flash, Silverlight, and a PDF viewer already installed. It doesnít need you to take care of it. Chrome OS pushes this same functionality into the whole computer. Itís an environment where maintenance is a foreign concept, rather than the first thing you do when you sit down to your computer.
Itís not just maintenance that theyíve done away with, but waiting as well. You shouldnít have to wait to use your computer. Pressing the power button shouldnít be the indicator that itís time to refill that cup of coffee. It should start, and be ready for you to give it instructions. Installing a program shouldnít involve repeating the ďclick nextĒ step until itís time to play. You should be able to click install, and the application should be ready for you to use. Chrome OS has accomplished this by deploying the Google Web Store, where developers can cater their applications to your needs, and to your workflow, rather than you changing to theirs. Itís also already full of apps and has many more being developed every day.
Chrome OS wonít be for everyone. It wonít work for the ďfesktop userĒ by which I mean people who edit video, or develop games, or even play very graphically intensive games. Chrome OS is a solution for the web user. The user who does little other than use Facebook, email, IM, Twitter, and read news. Chrome OS is a solution for the writer, the student, and the traveller. Chrome OS is the operating system that was built for the netbook user, the mobile businessman, and the busy soccer mom.
Laptops running Chrome OS will be coming out in mid-2011. Every Chrome OS notebook will run silently, have around 8 hours of battery life, and be available from multiple hardware partners. Google themselves have no plans to release their own Chrome OS device right now, but they will have a pilot program using the Cr-48 laptop.
Being internet focused, each notebook will also come with a mobile internet connection, and have a 100mb/month free data connection from Verizon Wireless. This data, as well as the additional plans to be announced later, will be offered at no contract, and be available for the first two years of owning the device.
So that is Chrome OS, based on my research, beta testing, and experience with the product. What do you think? Will you be one of the bold, willing to test a new concept, or are you happy with your current solution?

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