Google Chrome OS and Netbooks. The future?

by Christian Brucculeri

I remember when I used to get processor envy.

Every time one of my music studio friends bought a new MAC tower, we talked about processor speed, hard drive space, etc. before anything else. Why? We were running Pro Tools. For anyone who is familiar with recording music, it requires extremely fast processing power and a ton of memory; because all of that sound needs to be converted into ones and zeros in real-time. With 16 tracks recording, this is no small task for a computer to handle. Anyone who works in media production (music, graphics, film, etc) understands the need for a workhorse computer.

But nowadays, I don’t record as much as I used to. Now I spend the vast majority of my computing time on less draining applications (word processing, presentations, email, etc). I’d go so far as to say that I spend 90% of my time on applications that can be run through a web browser, thanks to the incredibly useful Google Docs. This is starting to make the $2,500 I spent on a new laptop feel like a waste of money. I mean, I LOVE my Mac, but $2,500 for a laptop? eh…..

So back to my point. With the release of the new Chrome OS from Google, I am seriously considering moving from a MAC to a netbook and just doing everything in my life from there. Here’s my rationale:

1. As an open source OS, I’m picturing some next-level integration with the web. Am I reaching? I already use Google for my contacts, personal email and document sharing. Why not try their OS? Will my DVD application run like YouTube? Hopefully not- but I’m willing to give it a go. This is straight from Google’s announcement, and it seems like it’s exactly what I’m looking for:

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.

2. Windows Live doesn’t cut it. Frankly, it sucks. However, with Google Docs, I can create and share “Word”, “Excel” or (to a lesser extent) “Powerpoint” Documents right in my account. I can update them easily and I can share them with co-conspirators. By adding a Google OS into the picture, I believe I can fully integrate my online and offline work. I wont be thrilled if I start getting served AdWords on my desktop, but I think I can manage.

3. Media storage. This is a huge demand driver for buying a big laptop, or a desktop. No one likes storing their media on external drives. But if I can store my media in the cloud, I can access it anywhere, from any number of computers. An decent example of this is the Zumo Drive here

I’m interested to see where this goes. At a minimum, I’m sure Chrome will give Windows a run for its money.

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