A few of you non-geeks may have heard by now of Google Chrome and maybe
even of the OS that Google is coding based upon it. But with such similar names and so many other things flooding the market nowadays, who can keep track? Well hopefully I can shed a bit of light on them for you.

Let’s start with Google Chrome. First off, do we all know what a browser
is? Yes? No? I could go find the video of people on the street being asked by Google representatives what a browser is. But it’s painful to
watch. So we’re all on the same page, a browser is the program that decodes and displays web pages received through your Internet
connection. MOST people are still using Internet Explorer (IE, for short) for this particular task. This is partially out of a desire for the familiar, and partially out of laziness to do some research. IE is by far the simplest and easiest browser to use. I’m not going to argue against those 2 basic facts. For we happy Microsoft customers, it’s the default browser that comes pre-packaged with our computer. But most experts don’t think it’s the most secure. Nor is it the fastest at the job. Nor is it customizable to the same degree as others. Nor is it friendly when it crashes. Nor is it portable. Even downloading the newest version of IE8, you would STILL be better off in my opinion with Firefox or Chrome. Firefox is open source and HIGHLY customizable. Geeks worldwide have been working for years to make every pretty Theme and clever add-on they can think of for Firefox. But Chrome has been getting a lot of converts lately, and I’ll tell you why. It’s simple. Out of the box it has the most minimalistic layout one can think of. Also every TAB gets it’s own process. Huh? Remember when you went to a page that IE didn’t like, and a window popped up that said IE had to close now and you lost ALL your tabs because they were in the same window? Well Chrome’s answer to this is, give every page it’s own process. So now when you go to a mean page, THAT tab closes. The other tabs are fine. You can keep working and only have to worry about navigating back to the one mean page (maybe) instead of all 5 or more tabs you had going. They recently rolled out Themes for Chrome, so you can get it in your favorite color or pattern to match whatever tweaking you may have given your Start bar and your background. But overall it’s a young browser.
Yes, it’s well thought out and my personal default, but it’s still young.

So what does Google do? Well as they see the netbook market exploding in
popularity, they ask themselves what people are doing on these tiny
laptops with minimalist horsepower? They’re surfing the web and checking
e-mail. Well most everyone is using web-based mail nowadays instead of a
desktop client. So that means about 99% of the time, people on netbooks
are in a browser window. So Google decided, why not make the browser window the operating system? BAM. Here comes Chrome OS, basically taking their browser and trying to amp it up to be a complete OS.

“What’s so spiffy about that?” you might be asking. Well basically when you turn on your computer, it starts doing a bunch of work behind the scenes. It loads a BIOS and starts a system check. It checks the speakers, the disc drives, the hard drives, the peripherals, the memory sticks, the webcams, the monitors. It makes sure all its bells and whistles are ready to ring. Then when all is well, it kicks up the operating system. The OS loads and brings you to a login screen. You choose an account, and it loads all your preferences. So from pushing
the power button to being able to click on the browser link on your desktop takes the average user over 45 seconds. OMG, that’s 75% of a minute! Wars have started and ended in that amount of time. You could solve a Wheel of Fortune puzzle faster than that (if those dang people would spin the wheel a little faster). So Google said we’re all impatient people, and wanted to whittle that time down. Their goal? 7 seconds. Their hope is that with this very simple operating system that runs and controls everything from a browser window, you can go from power button to updating Facebook in 7 seconds.
Yes, yet again Google has redefined ambitious goals for themselves. I hope they succeed. I think they have a great idea here. Some people who have used netbooks for longer than I have HATE how all Microsoft OSes run on them. They take a bunch of space on an already small hard drive, they boot very slowly, and are usually preparing to do way more than that little netbook could actually do anyway. While people love that Microsoft works so hard to support backwards compatibility, sometimes the paradigm should be rethought. Maybe Microsoft should’ve started from scratch and said “okay, what is NECESSARY for a netbook to do? Let’s support that out of the box and nothing else.” I guarantee they could boot this fast if they wanted to, but they’re bogged down by their own idea that your computer has to be ready for everything at the drop of a hat. And in honesty, they don’t exactly do that one wonderfully either. My one personal hang-up with this whole thing? From what I’ve read,

Chrome OS is requiring your netbook have a solid-state drive instead of a hard drive. Why? Because they’re way faster. Unfortunately they usually cost a couple hundred dollars more too. When I bought my netbook, I was looking for a little mini-computer to take around the house when my desktop was otherwise occupied. I didn’t want to break the bank getting it. So here’s a deal I propose for Google: don’t code your OS to where it blocks out people like me who would love to put it on their old netbook, and I promise not to whine when it takes me 12 seconds instead of 7 to boot up.