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Keeping Google's Consumer OS Options Straight

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the who-would-ever-want-local-storage dept.

Cellphones 97

According to Engadget, among others, Google is expected to show off the state of the Chrome OS on Tuesday of this week, and perhaps even to show off a netbook running the cloud-centric system. Since many of the things that Chrome OS does are also within the scope of Google's other consumer OS, Android, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has written a guide to the differences, as he sees them, between Android and Chrome OS.

cancel ×

97 comments

Straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34458770)

It shouldn't be hard to keep them straighter than the competion. iOS is fa-bu-lous!

Re:Straight (3, Insightful)

psergiu (67614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34458810)

ChromeOS vs Android - same as OS X vs iOS - the same Unix OS with a different interface and GUI libraries.

Re:Straight (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459082)

Rather more than that. Android is largely Dalvik VM with some native access to the underlying stock-but-pretty-spartan-linux. ChromeOS offers sandboxed web pages as a sort of "VM" with as yet unknown levels of native access via NaCl, and likely support for certain other applications(PDF reader, Flash, etc.) running natively on what is likely to be the underlying stock-but-pretty-spartan-linux.

Substantially more architectural difference.

Re:Straight (2)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34460682)

I sounds like the "chrome OS" that users see is really running remotely at Google, with only enough OS locally to support the browser. Basically, they've reinvented the thin client.

Re:Straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34479734)

Chrome (the Browser) can already display PDFs without any help so I doubt they will use a plug-in. The Adobe Flash player will be included (but per-tab sandboxed and auto-updated like the rest of Chrome).

Re:Straight (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34461952)

No, not the same. OS X and iOS share most of the same frameworks and the same programming language, with the primary difference being the use of AppKit for standard apps and UIKit for touchscreen apps. Most non-interface code can run on both without modification.

Android, on the other hand, doesn't derive from Chrome OS, which is itself based around a web browser. They're totally different.

WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (3, Interesting)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34458796)

FTFA:

As for Android applications, where all the applications are Java-based and depend on Dalvik, I don’t see any way that those applications will run on Chrome OS.

Yes because putting a Java JIT engine in a browser is easy; putting a Dalvik JIT engine in a browser is impossible! Google has NO WAY to leverage the base of tools and programs already created for their first OS, they will have to start from scratch...

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (2)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34458838)

What would the point in that be anyway? Why not just use Android?

The only use I see for Chrome OS is for dual boot to quickly check something online.

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (4, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459010)

Quickly checking something online does actually cover most of the functionality of my netbook.

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34464016)

That's what I use my Droid for. The netbook sits on the nightstand collecting dust these days.

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (3, Insightful)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459220)

Because Google understands the importance of a good UI that does what it's meant to do, easily. Android is designed around a touch screen concept. Chrome OS is designed around a standard mouse/touch pad and keyboard input combination. It's one of the reasons why Win Mobile failed all these years. They tried to force a desktop interface onto a device that most definitely could not be used as a desktop. It's also the reason why tablets didn't become popular when they were first introduced 5-6 years ago running Windows XP.

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459574)

which when you think about it is odd. ChromeOS is perfect for touch devices. a very simple, interface that has primarily one purpose and that is to surf the web.

keyboards are only so useful for that. The most data entry one does on the web is a quick email, or forms for ordering stuff.

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34461936)

The most data entry one does on the web is a quick email, or forms for ordering stuff.

I'm not sure that Google -- a company that, after all, maintains a web-based office suite with a continuously-expanding feature set -- views the role of "what people will do on the web" the same way your comment suggests.

Google's current online offerings -- coupled with technology like Native Client that is a key technology for the Chrome browser and Chrome OS and which enables native code to be run in a browser sandbox -- suggest that Google has a much more expansive view of what can be done with "web apps", and that that expansive view is a major factor in the design of Chrome OS.

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34462498)

The way i increasingly see Android is as a external project that happens to piggy back on the Google brand recognition. It seems to break the goodwill that Google have been able to build up, any chance it gets.

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (1)

dwinks616 (1536791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34463380)

I have a Droid and let me tell you, trying to click on links on a touch interface is a pain. I very much do not ever want to attempt to do my main web browsing on a touch interface, ever.

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465062)

This is honestly not meant as an Android vs iOS statement. However, on my iPhone, I *rarely* open the wrong link. Once in a while (maybe once a week at most, and I use the browser many times a day) it happens, and I have to zoom the page to hit the correct link, when it's surrounded by a bunch of other links. But the vast majority of the time, it gets the right one. I wonder if Android uses a different heuristic for finding the touch point when your finger hits a big area.

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34465784)

As the other poster said on iOS touching the wrong link is difficult. Maybe google should set some standards for touch resolution, as browsing the web on the iphone is a snap.

The only feature that I want is the send to my device (to send url's images, clipboard data to and from my phone. I can buy it for the iphone but then i have to use a third party to host the data.

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34459746)

Because Google understands the importance of a good UI that does what it's meant to do, easily.

While I would have agreed with you previously, after seeing what they've done with GoogleTV, I'm not so sure this holds true anymore.

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34458868)

Yes because putting a Java JIT engine in a browser is easy; putting a Dalvik JIT engine in a browser is impossible!

Why? Its the same basic concept, all you need is something to run dalvic bytecode and render the output in an on-screen area.

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34458918)

*WHOOSH*

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459528)

THANK YOU...;)

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (3, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34460414)

Yes because putting a Java JIT engine in a browser is easy; putting a Dalvik JIT engine in a browser is impossible!

First, Google can include things in Chrome OS that aren't part of the browser, and can allow the browser to provide access to them, so it wouldn't have to put the JIT engine in the browser.

Second, there is no reason that Google couldn't build a Dalvik engine into the browser if they chose to. Heck, Chrome already includes facilities to run sandboxed arbitrary native code (Native Client), so certainly Google doesn't show any signs of conforming to conventional ideas of what "can't" be done in the browser.

Google already has a Dalvik engine, building hooks for it into Chrome -- whether specific to Chrome OS or more generally -- is certainly not impossible.

Google has NO WAY to leverage the base of tools and programs already created for their first OS, they will have to start from scratch...

Google explicitly stated a long time ago that their long-term plan was to converge the two platforms. I doubt that they have that plan and no vision of how to accomplish that, and "throw everything out and start over" is probably not the course to convergence they have in mind.

Re:WARNING: Tech writer needs to learn tech! (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34460752)

See this post [slashdot.org] .

Why Chrome OS now? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34458834)

Now that Chrome browser renders pdf files ridiculously fast, what else can Chrome OS do that Chrome Browser can't?

Re:Why Chrome OS now? (3, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34458908)

Single signon to google apps in thirty seconds from cold boot.

Re:Why Chrome OS now? (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34462158)

Single signon to google apps in thirty seconds from cold boot.

I already get this on my Macbook Pro with SSD (Sandforce). If I disable login prompt and have it auto-launch Safari, it takes literally 20 seconds to get to Gmail from boot.

I bet boot times are similar for say, a new Macbook Air which is a retail product.

OK so with high end hardware (2)

Sits (117492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464524)

you can do quite a bit better than a Chrome OS netbook can. The question becomes - how much did it cost to buy the Macbook Pro and then put a 3rd party SSD in it? Is a Chrome OS netbook without such power going to cost less (it certainly going to DO less than your setup so I can't imagine it would be as expensive)?

Re:Why Chrome OS now? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34466262)

Oh, then in that case, you get an extra $800 in your pocket. You may like your purchase, but there's definitely a market for this (hint: Schmidt's a big fan of SunRays).

Re:Why Chrome OS now? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464870)

30 seconds seems a bit long compared to my macbook pro with its SSD.

Re:Why Chrome OS now? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34466360)

It could be less than 30 secs. I don't know. It will certainly cost over $800 less. Schmidt intends these to be appliances for enterprises running Google Apps (a.k.a. thin clients, a la SunRays, which he worked with).

Re:Why Chrome OS now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471706)

30 secods? Ur doing it wong.

Re:Why Chrome OS now? (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34458914)

It's not a replacement, Chrome OS uses the Chrome Browser. It's a replacement for Windows/MacOSX/Ubuntu/etc, for people who just use web apps anyway, or to have a faster OS for dual-boot and access some site.

Re:Why Chrome OS now? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459182)

run without MS windows nor Linux

Re:Why Chrome OS now? (1)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 3 years ago | (#34460490)

Chrome OS is a Linux-based OS. Maybe you meant without a full Linux desktop environment like KDE or Gnome?

Re:Why Chrome OS now? (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34461128)

what else can Chrome OS do that Chrome Browser can't?

Force the user to maintain a google account. From 'the three differences link':

It's not a traditional fat-client...all of it's "applications" will be cloud-based.

Re:Why Chrome OS now? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34461654)

Wait, how would it force a specifically Google account?

Presumably, you can associate different local files with different web applications, which is about the only thing Chrome OS does other than show you webpages. Although Google has a spreadsheet offering, one of their Chrome OS demos was sticking a USB thumb drive into the netbook, clicking on an Excel document, and having it open in Microsoft's own Office Live.

So if you're that fucking paranoid, there's absolutely nothing about Chrome OS which forces you to use a Google account. Or, technically, any account -- nothing's stopping you from using your own server, or, y'know, just using it for the Internet -- I doubt it was ever meant to replace a desktop OS. Even if their was, Chromium OS exists.

Re:Why Chrome OS now? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34461872)

Now that Chrome browser renders pdf files ridiculously fast, what else can Chrome OS do that Chrome Browser can't?

It can be used by the user without going through the hoops of booting up another operating system and clicking through whatever desktop UI that presents to get to the browser.

Chrome OS is essentially the Chrome browser with a specialized Linux distribution underneath designed to get out of the way with the browser as the main UI paradigm. Many of the features of Chrome browser are were developed to support Chrome OS's planned model of an OS where everything the user does is done through the browser; Flash and PDF integration are part of that, Native Client to run native code in a sandbox (and, thereby, not be constrained by the performance constraints of typical web apps), the app store that is being developed, etc., are all part of that model.

But almost all of it is available in Chrome browser on other operating systems, but the idea is to make Chrome browser powerful enough that you don't need the rest of the OS (at least, the user facing parts) so that the user experience is cleaner and simpler.

Invitation to the Chrome-lined Cloud (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34458844)

"It's a bit odd that we still haven't received an invite to this planned event"

Yeah, seriously Google? Where's MY invite? I want to be there so I can then get paid to blog about it!

Keeping it straight-ish (4, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34458846)

I don't know how to reconcile these differences with Sergey Brin's assertion that "Android and Chrome will likely converge over time" [cnet.com] . Does this mean that all we can say us:
  1. 1) Android is for Phones & Tablets; Chrome OS is for Netbooks for now but they may converge into a universal system
  2. 2) Chrome OS won’t run Linux desktop or Android Apps ... yet
  3. 3) Chrome OS Constantly Updated, but may go into a release cycle later as its capability expands [this isn't really an OS difference anyway]

Or was the likely convergence prediction premature?

Re:Keeping it straight-ish (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34461722)

The differences in TFA seem largely arbitrary to me.

1) Android is for touch devices (despite the fact it works great with a keyboard, as demonstrated on netbooks), while ChromeOS will have no touch-screen capabilities (despite the fact there are no obstacles to implementing the relatively light-weight Android solution in ChromeOS as an option).

2) ChromeOS won't have compatibility with Linux apps (despite being Linux based and running on the same hardware) or Android apps (despite them being Java-on-Linux based, and therefore shouldn't pose a challenge to compatibility if it were desired).

3) Chrome will get more version updates than Android (a policy decision; nothing Ubuntu hasn't already dealt with with their LTS/non-LTS releases).

In other words, no differences that aren't artificially enforced.

ChromeOS seems like basically a thin client OS. I can't see why you'd want a thin client OS on full-fat hardware; it seems like such a waste of good resources. ChromeOS might make sense on special, ultra-cheap hardware (will we see a new age in £50 "thin" netbooks? I hope so), but not on what I would understand as a "desktop" or a traditional "notebook".

For conventional netbook hardware, the Android model seems to make vastly more sense.

The simpler OS on the more powerful hardware? (2)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34458854)

He claims that Android is for the smaller formats, and Chrome OS for the netbooks. It's funny if this is Google's goal, since the netbooks use to have much more flexibility in offering better hardware and performance, not being tied to a small form factor, and then give it the OS that offer only a subset of Android's functionality. Android offers a full OS running native applications, along with the Chrone web browser -- where the latter is the *only* thing Chrome OS offers.

I always found this aspect of Google's new operating systems weird. If Google were serious about Chrome OS, shouldn't that one have been aimed for the phones and tablets, with Android for the netbooks? Chrome OS is at least the OS that does less, and is more simple to the end user. It can basically only run a web browser (and all underlying stuff that's necessary to run that web browser compiled for Linux, of course).

Re:The simpler OS on the more powerful hardware? (2)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34458960)

Chrome OS is Google's enterprise push on top of Apps. it need a lot of bandwidth. the mobile world hasn't gotten there yet. expect Android to become more like Chrome OS over time.

Re:The simpler OS on the more powerful hardware? (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459606)

If Google is going this route, they may be a bit presumptuous. Bandwidth is not going to increase with cellphones that much, and where you see it increase, large fees are tacked on (like VZW's LTE offering, or Sprint's WiMax.)

If Google can get providers to get 20Mbps LTE Advanced without charging $10 a gig, this might be a workable solution. However, as of now where the going rate for bandwidth is $10 a gig, it just won't fly presently.

Re:The simpler OS on the more powerful hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34459988)

There are large swathes of the world where mobile data is much cheaper/free. Maybe Google are after a different market - these figures [adestra.com] tell an interesting story (remember, that's the US and Canada lumped together and even then it's less than Europe and considerably less than Asia Pacific).

Re:The simpler OS on the more powerful hardware? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34460324)

There are large swathes of the world where mobile data is much cheaper/free.

For one thing, Google's headquarters is not located in such a country. For another, such countries also have far fewer people per spoken language, which affects the time=money needed to prepare localized versions of user interface, and far fewer people per jurisdiction, which affects the time=money needed to vet applications against national laws.

Re:The simpler OS on the more powerful hardware? (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34461030)

IIRC, the 4G standards call for a peak downstream rate of 1 Gb/s, which is multiple times what my cable provider gives me. If such speeds start rolling out within the next decade, this will be workable many times over.

Re:The simpler OS on the more powerful hardware? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459118)

It remains to be seen how expansive Google's interpretation of "web app" is...

With their NaCl project, it could include entire native binaries, "installed" just by going to a web page, cached via HTML5 methods, sandboxed for security. Such a model wouldn't be very "web" of them; but it would mean that ChromeOS can do basically everything except run legacy applications not designed for it.

Re:The simpler OS on the more powerful hardware? (3, Interesting)

joh (27088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459124)

If Google were serious about Chrome OS, shouldn't that one have been aimed for the phones and tablets, with Android for the netbooks? Chrome OS is at least the OS that does less, and is more simple to the end user. It can basically only run a web browser (and all underlying stuff that's necessary to run that web browser compiled for Linux, of course).

I think Google was somewhat surprised by the success of Android. As so often Google threw lots of things at the wall and then looked what kept sticking. Android stuck extremely good and then Google looked at it and noticed they can't profit that much from it.

Google is all about the Web and Chrome OS is nothing than a web browser. Use Chrome and you use the web and nothing else, which means you're bound to get served ads by Google and that's what Google wants. Use Android with lots of apps and the browser being just one app among others is not helping Google much.

Google has never been really excited about Android being used on tablets, they actually tried very hard to convince everyone to use it only on smartphones. And now they still try to get Chrome OS at least onto netbooks.

I don't think anyone will care much about what Google wants. Smartphone, tablet, netbook... running nothing but webapps sucks on all of them.

Re:The simpler OS on the more powerful hardware? (1)

whoop (194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459822)

That is why they bought Admob and then pursued Rovio to make Angry Birds free on Android with those ads. So now, Android is profitable.

Re:The simpler OS on the more powerful hardware? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34460474)

He claims that Android is for the smaller formats, and Chrome OS for the netbooks. It's funny if this is Google's goal, since the netbooks use to have much more flexibility in offering better hardware and performance, not being tied to a small form factor, and then give it the OS that offer only a subset of Android's functionality. Android offers a full OS running native applications, along with the Chrone web browser -- where the latter is the *only* thing Chrome OS offers.

Google developed Native Client for the Google Chrome browser to run native code in Chrome on x86 and ARM. That's always been cited by Google as one of the key enabling technologies for Chrome OS.

So it is inaccurate to say that Android is superior to Chrome OS because it can run native code.

Just putting my 2 cents in (3, Interesting)

MorpheousMarty (1094907) | more than 3 years ago | (#34458948)

IMHO the only way Chrome OS is interesting is if it is released on netbooks that cost 150-200$ less than their Windows counterparts. Sure, it won't do everything a full OS does, but at a $250-300 price point, it would be very compelling for the same reasons netbooks were popular in the first place. If Chrome OS can bring netbooks back to their bare bones, dirt cheap, linux roots, they may have a hit on their hands. If they offer this for about the same price as a Win7 netbook, they shouldn't even bother.

Anyone else have any ideas how this could be an interesting/successful product?

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (1)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34458972)

Isn't Windows XP licensed for netbooks at around $40? I doubt you will see much of a price decrease.

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459044)

Isn't Windows XP licensed for netbooks at around $40? I doubt you will see much of a price decrease.

There could be other factors like reduced need for local storage, (maybe) running better on a lower spec. processor and with less memory.

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459152)

I suspect this is tactical. If it's a lot better than XP on the same resources, and has a decent selection of apps, and is no more expensive it may well gain a following. That could allow Google entry into the desktop/full size laptop market/

CACHE MANIFEST and localStorage (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459206)

There could be other factors like reduced need for local storage

Chrome OS runs web applications, and web applications that can work offline must make heavy use of CACHE MANIFEST [w3.org] and localStorage [w3.org] , both of which can be big if someone tries to implement photo management (from your Android-powered camera?) as an offline web app.

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459272)

reduced need for local storage is counterbalanced by the increased need for a permanent connection, which in the end is a lot more expensive and cumbersome than local storage.

i doubt running apps as javascript within a browser requires less power than stand-alone, compiled apps.

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34459556)

Besides, since when did the average PC buyer, comparing two systems, take into account the OS performance and determine that a lower spec machine with a faster OS would be a net gain? For most users it's all about how many RAMs or gigglehurtz they get for their buck.

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34460214)

Besides, since when did the average PC buyer, comparing two systems, take into account the OS performance and determine that a lower spec machine with a faster OS would be a net gain? For most users it's all about how many RAMs or gigglehurtz they get for their buck.

Very interesting point. Say ChromeOS did perform better on a lower spec machine then people appreciating it would be the most technical users, who would understand this and the least technical who wouldn't bother about GBs and GHz but just saw that it worked reasonably quickly.

The "middle" users would say "This has only 1GB of memory and a 1Ghz arm processor ... it can't be as good as the 2GB 2.2Ghz Intel machine" and reject it. The question is where does the average user come - in the bottom or middle group?

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (1)

MorpheousMarty (1094907) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459792)

reduced need for local storage is counterbalanced by the increased need for a permanent connection, which in the end is a lot more expensive and cumbersome than local storage.

That is not the usagecase for Chrome OS. Although Chrome OS will allow you to work off-line, it expects you to do that only as a last resort. If you don't plan to spend the vast majority of your time on-line, then don't use Chrome OS.

If you are buying internet just for your Chrome OS computer, it will be more expensive than local storage, but more likely you already have the connection, so it is not an additional cost of the OS.

Mobile broadband vs. relying on Wi-Fi (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34460374)

If you are buying internet just for your Chrome OS computer, it will be more expensive than local storage, but more likely you already have the connection

In some parts of the world, it's common to have a Wi-Fi connection inside some buildings (which have a public hotspot) but not others (which lack one), or to have a Wi-Fi connection inside buildings but nothing while riding public transit. In the United States, Google's home country, mobile phone service plans allowing tethering are uncommon, so one must purchase separate data plans for a phone and a PC.

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (1)

MorpheousMarty (1094907) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459694)

Isn't Windows XP licensed for netbooks at around $40? I doubt you will see much of a price decrease.

I think they could save a lot on hardware, for example local storage needs would be next to nil, so a 8gb flash drive could replace the hard drive. The system overhead should be much lower, so you could use a cheaper processor. All that would take some load off the battery, so you could trim that as well. In the end you could have a system which is just as fast as windows, but significantly cheaper.

But all that is speculation, there is a lot that remains to be seen, Chrome OS may have severe issues, especially at the beginning.

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34466468)

A large amount of the savings should come from hardware.
Windows must use and X86 while Chrome can run on ARM or maybe even MIPS

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34458980)

ChromeOS is compelling because netbooks are slow running native applications. With the underpowered CPU and lack of memory, it makes a lot more sense to run web apps. Just boot up to a quick and efficient browser and you have everything you need.

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (2)

vikisonline (1917814) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459028)

Yes, because running JavaScript and Ajax applications is so much faster than running native ones. /sarcasm/ And yes really how often are you without internet. Ooh can't connect to a wifi/my internet is out , I guess I wont do my homework...

Aiming for the mobile-broadband demographic? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459232)

And yes really how often are you without internet.

There's a reason that Android Market officially works on smartphones and not PDAs or "smart MP3 players". Most of the popular phones can buy apps, but Archos 5 and Archos 43, which are the closest thing to an iPod touch, don't come with the Market app. Though Chrome supports HTML5's proposed offline app mechanisms (CACHE MANIFEST and localStorage), I imagine that Google is trying to target people who pay $$ per month for 3G cellular data. These people are more likely to use other Google services and look at Google ads, and they're more likely to be able to afford to buy something advertised on Google.

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459608)

It depends on the app. If you're doing heavy duty number crunching, it may well be better to have a JavaScript interface and have the heavy lifting done on some dedicated server in the cloud, but I suspect for most people who just want to write up the odd essay, you're likely correct (besides, I suspect what we'll really see is the people behind the apps pushing all the data down onto the machine using HTML5 mechanisms so the client is still stuck doing the donkey work, just less efficiently, but maybe I'm just being too cynical).

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34461992)

And yes really how often are you without internet.

Never.

No, seriously, absolutely fucking never. Disregarding the possibility of mobile connections, which would also give me Internet as a passenger on a road trip, I currently have Internet at every building on campus, including large swaths of central campus. Also pretty much every coffee shop or restaurant, even the cheap pizza joints have wifi now. Two of the last three times I've flown, there's been in-flight wifi.

And that's disregarding mobile connections.

A better question might be, when are you without power? I think you'll find a similar answer. Internet is a utility, as plentiful as power, heat, and running water.

Ooh can't connect to a wifi/my internet is out , I guess I wont do my homework...

Yes, because all homework necessarily requires a computer.

I find that most of my homework falls neatly into two categories -- either it practically (or actually) requires an Internet connection, or it doesn't require a computer at all.

Programming assignment -- if I can use the standard libs, and I haven't memorized them, having multiple online references is helpful. Even if I were to download them, pasting a particular error into Google is invaluable, not to mention blog entries and such covering things that might not be obvious from the reference.

Example: How do I make a string lowercase in C++? Does std::string have anything like java.lang.String.toLowerCase()? I'd have to read the entire reference for std::string, and then start searching for a way to make a character lowercase... Or I can just Google "lowercase string C++" and find some examples to get me started.

Then, since this is C++, for consistency, we have to verify that our code works on a particular machine we have ssh access to, in order to ensure that architectural differences don't make the program work for us but not for the TA who grades it.

It's also common that the homework isn't sufficiently specified, so I go to the discussion boards and ask. Even when I think I understand what's going on, there are often useful insights there.

My English projects can be pretty neatly broken into three parts: Preliminary research, reading, and actual writing. The preliminary research pretty much _needs_ Internet access. The actual reading either needs Internet access (because it's a Web article), or doesn't need a computer at all (a physical book from the library). The actual writing is the only step which would benefit from a computer without Internet, and that's a minority of it.

Math? Physical textbook, homework is best done on pencil and paper.

Physics? Physical textbook. Relatively small amounts require a computer. I do most of it on a computer by choice, but most of my classmates just print out the assignments and do everything except the plots on pencil and paper. The plots take maybe five minutes once the preliminary work is done.

That's with the exception of the online homework, and the online English quizzes, both of which must be taken in a browser, and, of course, online.

So for the roughly ten hours per year I don't have Internet, I would be able to do exactly as much homework with something like Chrome OS that I can do with my current OS -- which is still a considerable amount.

I'm not saying I would use Chrome OS, or that I never use native applications, but even the native apps I use at least benefit from Internet access, so I'm really getting sick of this argument. Mount Fucking Everest has 3G -- Google it if you don't believe me. This is roughly like arguing you shouldn't use a computer at all because the power might go out.

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34459042)

It's odd, I used to do much of what people do on their netbooks in 1997 with a Pentium 100 with 16MB of ram.....

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469736)

To me, ARM powered netbooks with some of those fancy higher-end ARM chips, a decent mobile GPU and maybe a hardware chip to decode video is what Chrome OS should be aiming for. If ARM is good enough for web apps on an iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, Android handset etc, it should be good enough for the same web apps on Chrome OS (and such a setup should get better battery life than any of the x86 ATOM Win7 laptops out there)

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34459184)

The only problem with that price point is I bought a $250 laptop last spring. Granted the windows 7 it came with ran like a dog, but it runs Ubuntu quite nicely. Why would I pay more, for a less functional device?

Warranty of OS compatibility (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34460454)

Granted the windows 7 it came with ran like a dog, but it runs Ubuntu quite nicely.

Was your $250 laptop warranted to work with a Free operating system? Most laptops I've seen are only warranted to work with the operating system that came on them. You don't want to buy a laptop and install a Free operating system only to find that the video is unaccelerated, the sound doesn't work, the webcam doesn't work, the Wi-Fi doesn't work, etc.

Why would I pay more, for a less functional device?

Because more vs. less functionality is in the eye of the beholder, and functionalities that may not be important to one customer, such as compatibility with free software, may be important to others.

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34460958)

The obvious other way it could be an interesting/successful product is by doing what a large number of users want more cleanly and with less distractions than Windows. Which, after all, is largely the point of using the browser as the central UI paradigm.

Its the same model that made the iPod a success -- and, for that matter, did the same for Google's clean-interface, good-results search engine in the era of search engines trying to be portals and everything else at the same time.

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (1)

goltzc (1284524) | more than 3 years ago | (#34461454)

I really would like chrome OS on a tablet device. Seems like the perfect place to use it IMHO.

Re:Just putting my 2 cents in (1)

Volvogga (867092) | more than 3 years ago | (#34463368)

From the concept reading/videos that I have looked at, it seems that Google is looking to boot this thing straight from ROM. They state they are bypassing a lot of standard startup procedures and skipping any boot-loader; instead they are going to a kernel load and letting their OS do all that lifting (not because they can do it better than the hardware manufactures, but because, I would think, they don't actually want all that hardware there that you could do something with that isn't on the cloud). This means that you pretty much have to have a board with the ability to flash in Chrome OS, or be buying a machine that can do it. If you are getting a new netbook with Chrome OS on it, then yes, you are going to be getting back to bare bones. It sounds like, however, that is then all you are getting.

A comment from the engadget article made a really good point. To quote Dave95 about a cloud OS on a netbook:

That sounds an awful lot like what we do with our smart phones and iPads today. Sorry just don't see the need for such an OS on Netbooks. And with it being web based (web apps and services), you most likely will need a constant data connection anyway. So yet another device tied to carriers with contracts paying yet another data fee (my guess).

I think this is a very good point. If everything has to be done online, then don't you need constant, reliable connection to the internet?

Is a bare-bones, web only OS what people really want out of a netbook? I don't believe they do. I think people want an ultra-portable laptop that they can pull out and do a few things on at a moments notice. Yes, most (all with a few outliers) of those things are online. As Dave says though, how much of that can't be done on a smartphone or at least a tablet?

Google isn't exactly breaking into new territory here either. ASUS has played with this in the past, and Splashtop (http://www.splashtop.com/) is a popular product that ASUS and other board manufactures have bought into on some of their models. You have an instant on OS that gets you some internet goodies, and when you are ready you boot into a full-blown (arguable I suppose) OS if necessary.

Chrome OS, as I understand it, is not useful for netbooks in my mind. I don't even see netbooks being useful in the next few years. Small and ultra-portable... get a tablet. If you really need that keyboard, should be a nice market for a tablet with a kickstand and a pull out keyboard or detachable keyboard built into the back of the device (may already be one... haven't looked). I see Chrome OS being a much nicer fit for laptops and even desktops. I actually think that on a laptop or desktop, if Chrome OS had the ability to boot into Windows or Linux out of it, the platform would fair much better. Quick boot into your web-surfing -slash- half-production environment, and then when/if you need to, go to your full-production environment. Google, however, will probably not do this as they want all your internet needs through their services and their web-enable OS.

Therefor, I don't see Chrome OS going anywhere till we have cheap motherboards with that new BIOS-replacement flashable ROM running it (or BIOS that are extended to use *flashable* ROMs like Splashtop or Chrome OS) and with built in Type-1 hypervisors for local virtualization. That way you can choose to have one or both of your quick, web-only OS load and your full production environment OS load at the same time. You do your morning coffee ritual reading on Chrome OS (or whatever) and when it is time to do actual work for the day, you flash over to the production OS that is all loaded up and waiting (secure logins may need some work to get this running smoothly, but that is a minor glitch to work out). Then I can see Chrome OS really taking off, especially in the consumer market (big business, maybe not so much).

That's my 2 for you.

e-peer review :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34459046)

2) Chrome OS won’t run Linux desktop or Android Apps

I use quotes around “desktop” with good reason.

Except that you did not use quotes around "desktop". I long for the days where serious articles were actually cross-checked by somebody. Gasp, perhaps even an "editor".

This baseless flame was partly fueled by: Slashdot and kdawson.

Re:e-peer review :( (1)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459432)

He did us quotes around "desktop" just 3 sentences earlier:

Google also took its time getting even a Chrome beta out the door. Now that Chrome OS is about to be unveiled, we know that it is going to be Google’s “desktop” operating system, while Android is for smart phones and tablets.

And this is progress? (2)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459186)

I'm closer to being a Google fan than most probably, but after seeing the video, they intend to abolish the desktop, and nothing (yes none of your own files) will be stored on your own computer. I'm sorry, but ignoring everything else, I dread the amount of lag if everything ran off the internet. Programs such as Photoshop or Visual Studio would download every time instead of run immediately? No thanks.

In a perfect world with infinite bandwidth, and no lag, maybe it's doable.

What would make me truly respect them is if they came up with something like BeOS, or QNX (Haiku), but which also had a metadata/database file system [skytopia.com] where everything is searched for, and folders become less of an issue (or not needed at all). Encouraging programs to be more self-contained would also be a step forwards too.

Re:And this is progress? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459566)

See, I don't think that's entirely impossible. Google for Domains already provides Docs, and while that's no competitor to Microsoft Office yet, the key word here is "yet". For basic tasks, it's a perfectly competent office suite, it works perfectly well over a plain ADSL connection today and it's included automatically with Google for Domains. Which costs rather less per user than Exchange.

There is a reason Microsoft are terrified of Google, a reason why Steve Ballmer throws chairs. It has nothing to do with Search.

Re:And this is progress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34460016)

Google docs, apart from sharing/collaboration, is total and utter shite. The "word processor" is an abomination. Google may be great at search and email, but when it comes to HTML5 applications I think they're lacking quite a lot.

Re:And this is progress? (2)

yelvington (8169) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459576)

I dread the amount of lag if everything ran off the internet. Programs such as Photoshop or Visual Studio would download every time instead of run immediately?

That's now how it works. [google.com]

Re:And this is progress? (2)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34459688)

I think the intention is that either the app would run on the server side and you'd just have an in-browser JavaScript GUI (so instead of downloading that 60MB PSD you're working on, you'd get a 200k PNG represenation or whatever), OR the libraries etc required to run the app would be cached client side (using HTML5) so the app can run almost entirely locally. I suspect Google would like the first approach, since it puts everything in "the cloud" - their domain - but in reality I think companies will like the second approach, since it means they don't need to provide dedicated servers capable of running all these apps.

Re:And this is progress? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34459718)

they intend to abolish the desktop

FINALLY!!!! Linux on the desktop once the desktop is abolished. Oh, the irony.

Re:And this is progress? (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 3 years ago | (#34462132)

+11 Funny!

Re:And this is progress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34459748)

Programs such as Photoshop or Visual Studio would download every time instead of run immediately?

No [google.com] they won't [w3.org] necessarily. BTW, yelvington's above link (installable web apps) covers hosted and packages apps... most apps will be hosted (a hosted .crx app only contains icons, metadata, et cetera-- not HTML).

Re:And this is progress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34460202)

I think it has to do with control. You can't control leaked information if it's on our own disconnected harddrives.

Imagine waking up in the morning, logging in, only to find half your files gone or deemed "illegal".

How can you pirate if you have no where to store the data? How can you really do anything bad at all? Imagine if wikileaks came 15 years in the future when people ran on this.... those files would all be gone.

It's about control, otherwise they would allow offsite storage with awesome syncing abilities.... but clearly that is not allowed with no good reason why....

Re:And this is progress? (1)

rmcd (53236) | more than 3 years ago | (#34460482)

I agree with you that this makes no sense, which makes me hope that the "nothing stored on the local computer" is a bit of an exaggeration. *Some* of the time, you are going to be without an internet connection and you may still want to work on that document or read/write e-mail.

We're a long way from people asking "Off-line? What does that mean?"

Re:And this is progress? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34461070)

I agree with you that this makes no sense, which makes me hope that the "nothing stored on the local computer" is a bit of an exaggeration.

I think its a bit of a simplification. From everything else I've seen from them on Chrome OS, I think its perhaps more accurate to say that the real intent is nothing stored directly on the local filesystem by applications (other than basic OS components.) Things might be cached in the browser cache, stored using HTML5 local storage APIs, and so forth, and by those means "stored on the local computer" in a physical sense.

Re:And this is progress? (1)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 3 years ago | (#34460662)

Can't watch the video ATM, but unless they have radically changed their goals I don't think the point is to completely replace the desktop. Programs such as Photoshop and Visual Studio are not run by the masses and I don't believe they intend to kill those off. Most people use their computer for email, web browsing, web video, and maybe some light document editing. All of these are completely possible with just a web browser and google apps. This type of usage on netbooks and nettops are the target market for Google here. Until broadband is universally much faster and cheaper I don't think we will see a replacement for powerful desktop apps for video editing, photo editing, and programming.

Personally, I just hope someone makes a good OS based on Chromium OS but for dual-booting. It would be nice to have quick access to the net when I don't want to wait several minutes to come out of hibernation or longer for full boot.

Re:And this is progress? (1)

asvravi (1236558) | more than 3 years ago | (#34462448)

Paint Shop Pro was 2MB in size, it would take a few seconds to download at today's speeds. Not everything has to be as bloated as Photoshop or Visual Studio.

Re:And this is progress? (1)

bornagainpenguin (1209106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464448)

What would make me truly respect them is if they came up with something like BeOS, or QNX (Haiku)

I'm sorry but Haiku and QNX have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Haiku is a clean room implementation of BeOS. Two entirely different things. The only thing Haiku and QNX have in common is that they are both alternative Operating Systems.

Re:And this is progress? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464824)

Yes, I realised that after posting it. Slashdot doesn't have an editing facility though as you know.

Unless this enables a 99$ netbook why bother? (1)

mikeabbott420 (744514) | more than 3 years ago | (#34460654)

What does this give us except perhaps security in a less is more sense? Moving processing/storage etc to the cloud and eliminating the microsoft tax might allow cut rate hardware though.

ChromeOS will be DOA (1)

judeancodersfront (1760122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34460688)

while Android will continue to be popular. That is the real difference.

Of *course* ChromeOS will run Android apps (1)

thisisauniqueid (825395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464218)

Of *course* ChromeOS will eventually run Android apps. There is no good reason not to. And Dalvik runs on both ARM and x86 today. Also Android phones will be able to use Chrome OS apps because they are HTML5 or Flash.

Cameras, Printers, flash drives, etc? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34464488)

Anyone know if this thing is going to have even limited support for USB peripherals/drives? With the browser being the OS (at least it sounds like), would you even be able to load up photos from a camera hooked up via a USB cable, to view on the (relatively) larger screen of the netbook? Will you be able to do any sort of printing to a USB or network printer? Will it support reading and writing files from/to USB flash drives, SD cards (i.e. the types used in most cameras and phones)? I wouldn't expect to run a full-blown photoshop-like program, or even Picassa, on ChromeOS, but will it come with some sort of basic photo editing software (e.g. brightness/contrast/color, resizing, remove red-eye, crop, convert file format, sharp/blur, etc)? Will it have a PDF reader and e-book reader? Will it have a media player app (I suppose, if the Chrome browser bundled in to the ChromeOS supports HTML5 and Flash, they could use one of those two technologies to implement a media player, and I would guess ChromeOS will support Flash)?

For a netbook, I wouldn't necessarily expect it to have a full-featured OS, but I would expect ChromeOS to be able to do some of these fairly basic tasks. I suppose it might be possible to implement almost all of those features as web-apps (not sure about photo-editting, but perhaps some javascript + html5 could take care of that). Printing and storage device management would require native OS/driver support, and perhaps extensions to JavaScript APIs to expose that functionality to web-apps.

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