The theory behind Google Chrome OS—and what makes it truly unique—is that it is the first attempt by a major technology developer to develop an operating system designed solely for an online interface. Chrome OS is designed to be an extension of the Chrome browser, basically taking the computing desktop experience online.
Technology buffs will be familiar with the theory of “cloud computing.” Google’s future operating system is basically an element of the developing cloud. There is a trend in Internet technology to take everything online, including services that have traditionally belonged on a computer. For instance, almost everyone uses Microsoft Word on their computer. However, there are a growing number of free online applications that mimic the functionality of Word. What incentive does a user have to pay hundreds of dollars for a product that they can only use on one machine when they can instead use the product on any machine, anywhere, for free?
Google is embracing the theory of cloud computing by releasing the first operating system designed to integrate with the Internet. Rather than featuring installed software like Microsoft Office, Chrome OS will make use of online software such as their Google Apps or GMail. Chrome OS will integrate with these online services and make their use seamless and non-differentiable from the desktop computing experience.
There is also a rumor that Chrome OS will encourage user-developed applications, such as the ones that have been wildly popular with Apple’s iPhone. By fostering a native environment for developers to create applications and users to make use of them for free (or for a nominal fee), Google will basically put the computing experience in the user’s hand. Rather than software monopolies controlling the market with their multi-million dollar projects, do-it-yourself home developers will be able to capture massive markets with simple applications that they made from the comfort of their bedroom.
Because details on Chrome OS are still few and far between, it is not entirely clear how Google will go about making Chrome OS the first cloud-integrated operating system. However, rumors are everywhere on the Internet and it is possible that Google will collect some of the user speculation and actually implement certain ideas that prove to be popular with the public. This is another great advantage of the open source nature of Chrome OS.
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