I’m not excited by Google Chrome OS. And the majority of the reason for that stems from the following paragraph posted on the Official Google Blog:
Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.
They keep mentioning simplicity, lightweight and ‘back to the basics’. have you ever used an OS designed to be extremely simple? Have you ever tried SplashTop, HyperSpace, Latitude ON or even gOS? They may be fast to start up, but you’ll curse just as much when the one thing you want to do is only possible on the actual OS you have installed, requiring a reboot. My opinion is that these lightweight OSes actually make my life harder. Lets see one use case.
I’m at home and I need to check my email. This can be done in ExpressGate so I boot it up (really fast) open up a browser and browse to my Gmail. So far the experience is relatively smooth, until I discover that somebody has sent me an attachment that I need to see. Of course this requires an application installed in my OS so I have to close my browser and any other sites I had open and wait for a reboot into my OS. This is the inherent problem, if I need to use something that isn’t part of my lightweight distribution then I have to stop everything and wait.
Now I understand Google Chrome OS is going to be the actual OS, except most of the applications will be based in the cloud. This presents another problem, especially on netbooks. Netbooks are portable, and designed to be used in places where there is no internet connection. See the problem? Sure you could use a 3G modem but then you have to fork out a fortune for data (especially excess usage).
Unless Google can find a creative way to solve these problems I don’t think that Chrome OS will be anything exciting. It should be noted though that if I were to pick a company that would be able to take on this challenge I would pick Google. I suppose in the end there is only one way to find out, and that would be to wait until the end product is released.
Random thought: If you use a Live CD of another distribution, but don’t install it, is it still cheating?