Chrome 5 Advantages

                              Chrome OS, Google’s newly announced computer operating system, is coming this autumn and promises to revolutionize netbooks and other underpowered machines. Essentially, the OS is a small, fast-booting platform whose purpose is to run a browser, and from there all the Google apps and other web services you know and love. But why bother? Your netbook already has a browser and access to Google’s applications. What could Chrome do for you and your netbook?

Netbooks are cheap. So cheap that a disproportionately large chunk of the cost is made up of a Windows license. Ever wondered why the Linux versions of netbooks cost around $50 less? Microsoft tax. Chrome OS is based on Linux and will, like most Google products, be free, bringing the price of a $500 netbook down by 10 percent.

Windows 7 runs faster than Vista on a netbook. Scratch that. Windows 7 runs on a netbook, period. But Chrome OS is designed to run on low-powered Atom and ARM processors, and web-based applications don’t require that much horsepower on the client end so it should be faster still. Better, it will be small. Google is promising boot times measured in seconds, not minutes, so battery life should also get a boost — it will be possible to cold boot instead of sleeping or hibernating the machine, saving precious juice.

Google says that “[Users] don’t want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates.” One of the big problems with using anything but Windows XP on a netbook has been drivers. Try installing OS X on one if you don’t believe us, or any version of Linux not specifically designed for your model. If Google can come up with an OS that can be downloaded, dropped onto any machine and then “just works,” we might just have the ultimate portable OS.

Netbooks are meant for the road. At home, a bigger computer is almost always better but when traveling, a netbook shines. Swapping between the two is a pain, though. With Chrome, you can bet that all of Google’s service — Gmail, Google Docs, Picasa and so on — will be built-in and have offline access via Google Gears. If you are a good Google Citizen and use all these services, you’ll never have to worry about having all your latest data with you, whether you have a net connection or not.

New Applications
With its web services, Google has been slowly duplicating everything that we can do locally on our computers. Almost. There are a few things that Google doesn’t do yet, most notably a video player and a music jukebox. Sure, there’s YouTube, but what happens when you want to watch something other than a skateboarding dog in a blender? There are open-source options: The awesome VLC video player has just reached v1.0, for example, and the Songbird music player, based on Firefox, can even sync with an iPod. Both already run on some flavors of Linux.
Google may use these, buy them or even roll its own. One thing is sure, though: If Google can put out a whole OS that is as clean, fast and focused as its individual web products, the Chrome OS could be a revolution. A free revolution that could be making Microsoft extremely uncomfortable right now.

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