Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pig in the sky or surfing on a cloud?

With traditional computing you switch on your machine and it boots up. This is quite a complex routine and it can take quite a time before your machine is ready for your input. With your television set, you switch it on and very quickly you have sound and vision. With your mobile telephone, you switch it on and very quickly you are connected to your mobile telephone service. Can you see where my argument is going? Why can we not have computers that quickly connect to the internet in the same fashion and time scale as mobile telephones? This is because of how computer operating systems run, there is no other reason.

I as an internet user live in the cloud. The information that I read and write is out there on the internet and not stored on my home computer. This way of working is known as cloud computing. I do not need a bloated operating system to run my home computer but only a thin client. I am not alone in my computing use and Google is developing it's own operating system which is based on it's Chrome browser.

"We want Chrome OS to be blazingly fast," said Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google. "We want it to be like a TV - turn it on and you're in your web application." Google demonstrated the OS booting on an Eee PC in around seven seconds. "We're working very, very, very hard to make this time shorter," Pichai said. All user data will be stored in the cloud, with the operating system only using local flash memory for caching data such as settings. "If I lose my Chrome OS machine, I should be able to buy a new one, log in, and within a few seconds get all my applications back," Pichai claimed. Google said it's currently concentrating on the clamshell netbook form-factor, but wouldn't rule out moving to full-scale laptops and desktop PCs over time. Google wouldn't give any indication of what price it expects Chrome OS netbooks to sell for, although it seems likely they will be at the low-budget end of the netbook market.

So, will we see pigs fly in the sky or will using a netbook become as user friendly and efficient as a mobile telephone? I place my bet on the mighty Google and I think they will have a winner over Microsoft with their thin client that should be a really usable device rather than an over-specified home computer.
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