Google Chrome OS: speed, simplicity, security

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Well kids, Google has just released some serious information about the much anticipated Chrome OS at today’s webcast, so grab some popcorn and buckle up, ’cause here we go. Google Chrome OS has a radically different approach to computing, and assumes that most of what you want to do on your computer involves your web browser and internet connectivity — and when we think about it, are they so wrong? Those of you who were expecting an Android type interface are going to be sorely disappointed, as the Chrome browser, in a nutshell, is Chrome OS. So let’s just get this out there right now: this isn’t going to be an OS designed for video editing, Photoshopping, or 3D modeling. This is a lightweight conduit for access to online information and utilities. No doubt all of this has piqued your interest, so hit the jump to check out the full story.

Main UI

Google has said flat out they designed the Chrome OS with three things in mind: speed, simplicity, and security, so we are going break down some of the finer points they touched upon under these pretenses.

Speed

Several times Google engineers stated that turning on your Chrome OS powered netbook should be like turning on a television; hit the power button and within a couple seconds you should be browsing. They have been focusing on this and working hard to improve upon it. Currently Chrome OS’ cold boot time is 7 seconds to the login window, with an additional 3 seconds for user login making for a total boot time of 10 seconds. Not bad. Google is hoping to have that time shaved down even further by the time they are ready for release.

Simplicity

Your information is stored in the cloud. No user bits are going to be stored on the modest solid state hard drive that all Chrome OS netbooks are going to come with. While this may be a terrifying prospect to some, it does afford Google some flexibility to rework the traditional computing work flow. There are no application updates to be installed, no backup solutions needed, and no maintenance operations to perform. When you login to the could you can be sure that your Chrome OS netbook is up to date, patched, and ready to go. The main interface, to the shagrin of many we’re sure, is also very simple in that it’s a Chrome browser window. You can customize shortcuts and favorites, but the foundation UI isn’t going to blow anyone’s socks off with eye candy.

Security

This was really getting hammered upon. Security is accomplished in two main ways: architecture setup and the cloud. First and foremost there are three partitions setup on the Chrome OS’ SSD drive, a root partition (which is read-only and holds the OS), a user partition (which by default is encrypted), and a swap partition. When you boot Chrome OS it checks the integrity of the OS and if it finds that your OS has somehow been corrupted or compromised by maleware, it simply re-downloads a fresh copy of the OS from the intertubes. All on its own. Again, your information is in the cloud and the system is technically stateless, so the OS can be restored at point in time without any detriment to user data.

We know that a lot of you have some burning questions and want to see the UI in action, so have a couple videos queued up. Go ahead, we know you’re curious.

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