As some of you may know, Google has been working on making a new operating system (like Windows XP or Mac OS X) that doesn’t run anything except a web browser. In December, they announced a pilot program in which they would give away computers (called the CR-48) running this new operating system (“Chrome OS”) to people who “live on the web.” I was lucky enough to get one of these computers. I’ve been using it for a little over a week, and I’ve found very few things I dislike about it.
So, what is Chrome OS, exactly? How minimal is this operating system? To log in, I use my Google account. There also aren’t any files stored on the computer; I use Google Docs for word processing and spreadsheets, Gmail for email, etc.; it’s all online. There is pretty much no concept of “windows,” other than the ability to have multiple browser windows open and using keyboard shortcuts to move between them. Behind the browser windows, there is no “desktop” and there isn’t a screensaver beyond the screen going black after a few minutes of idling.
It’s a pretty neat concept for future computers: a cheap device with a keyboard, a mouse, a screen and a web browser. And, in typical Google style, it all works fast.