Google has revealed a new Google Chrome OS which is designed to take on Windows in a cloud computing environment. Notebooks that run the OS and are capable of booting in 60 seconds were not shown with several vendors set to use CES in January to reveal their new Chrome OS devices.Asus, Acer, LG, Toshiba and Samsung are among vendors who are looking at launching Google Chrome OS devices in 2011. The preliminary look at the OS came after Google admitted that “they were not quite there yet”
The first feature that you notice is instant boot which makes Windows powered devices look downright slow.
In a demonstration this morning Google showed their ‘instant boot’ running on a notebook which fully booted in 60 seconds. They also demonstrated how easy it was to sync across multiple devices, seamless sharing content.
Engadget said that it took just takes four steps and less than a minute to set up a brand-new Chrome OS machine which downloads all your Chrome themes and settings from the cloud, so it’s ready to go almost right away, and changes can propagate in less than a second in some cases.
At today’s demonstration in San Francisco Google showed how easy it was to bring a notebook back up from sleep mode almost instantly — Google says the limiting factor is actually how fast the user can move their hand.
The OS also supports multiple accounts with a guest account that runs in Incognito mode, and all user data is encrypted by default. The OS itself is loaded on read-only memory that can’t be altered without physical access.
There’s also offline capability — Google Docs was demoed running offline, with changes synced when the machine reconnects. Engadget said that it appears that apps on the Chrome Web Store have to be built for HTML5 offline to work. (See separate Web Store story).
Google also demoed Google Cloud Print, which allows you to print on your home printer from anywhere. Chrome OS devices will also be able to use new Telstra, Vodafone and Optus 3G plans for offline access. In the USA Verizon is set to give users 100MB of free data per month for two years, and then plans start at $9.99 for a day of “unlimited access” with no contracts required. (There will eventually be international options, but those weren’t detailed.)
Every Chrome notebook will ship with built-in mobile data connectivity meaning that, providing you’re in mobile range you can always be connected.
Google’s concept of an operating system is based around the browser, and the Linux-based Chrome OS looks much more like a browser than a traditional OS.
Using its popular Chrome browser as its base, Google is uniting its sweet of online products – like Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendar and others from the Chrome Web Store – to offer software and services that are based online rather than locally.