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SHIFT: Google Chrome signals the death of the Operating System

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http://dvice.com/archives/2008/09/shift_chrome_si.php

Someday soon, you may not even notice which operating system your computer is using. That broadband-connected machine may not have an operating system on board at all, at least not like Windows and Mac OS X are today. That's because there's a new kid on the block, but he's not even on your block at all, but storing your data and running applications based somewhere else, out there, on the Internet — or as it's more commonly referred to, "in the cloud."

Google's doing all it can to expedite that exodus, pounding its latest nail into the coffin of conventional earth-bound operating systems with a web browser called Chrome. With architecture that runs Javascript web applications as separate services, it's fast, and primed to make it easier to compute in the cloud. This could be the beginning of the end of the operating system as we know it, and that won't come a moment too soon.

Head in the clouds

Some applications are tailor-made for cloud computing, and the best, most popular example of that is Gmail. You access Gmail's interface in any browser, and all your email is stored on Google's servers, giving you 7GB of free storage for all your messages and their associated attachments. Using Google's renowned search prowess, you can easily find important info in those emails using simple keywords. Even better, you don't need to worry about backing up anything, and you can access your email from just about any connected computer, as long as it has a browser.

The best part of Gmail's cloud computing: tapping into the wisdom of crowds. With Gmail, you'll never have to deal with spam again, because Gmail's millions of users each have the ability to report spam, instantly inoculating all the other users from it. The downside: there are ads running down the right side of every email you receive, but it gets to the point where you never even notice them.

Enter Chrome

The benefits of cloud computing are extending far beyond Gmail, with useful apps such as entire Microsoft Office-like application suites Zoho Office Suite and ThinkFree Office, a free online version of Adobe Photoshop, powerful FitDay weight loss software, Quicken Online for personal finance, and a whole lot more mostly free choices. Here's where Google Chrome comes in. With its ultra-fast compartmentalized approach to running Javascript, the programming language that makes all this neato stuff happen, Chrome makes Javascript a much more attractive platform. Chrome is so powerful, even in its infancy, it breathes new life into Javascript, maybe even pushing aside Adobe Flash and its nascent competitor, Microsoft's Silverlight.

But wait just a second here. Javascript and its streamlined underpinnings in Chrome (and also in upcoming versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer) is not going to completely render operating systems such as Mac OS X, Windows XP, Vista, and Linux obsolete. When running many office-like apps, it'll just make the OS invisible, and some users will stop caring which OS they're running. But that's true only to a point.

Down to Earth

Some applications need to stay close to the hardware, right there on the desktop because of the current impracticality of moving huge amounts of data over the Internet. Games with huge graphics files that must be processed quickly will stay on the desktop for now, high-def video editing applications need to stay local because the gigantic file sizes involved, and for now, processor-intensive apps such as speech recognition do best on the desktop.

Mind your own business

Then there are the security issues. A large number of users aren't comfortable with all their most sensitive data residing on a far-away server that's beyond their control. What if a hacker breaks into a server farm and steals all their data, or what if the government insists on Google giving up that data? The IT departments in many corporations will never submit to a loss of control as significant as this. But for me, I trust Google, am not a vice-presidential candidate, and figure that if the government wants any of my personal data, it can grab it from me at home easier than it can extract it from Google's servers.

Cloud wins in the end

Given all that, the cloud still wins in the end, and Chrome leads the way. I don't think Chrome will be loaded onto PCs without an operating system underneath, at least not for a long while. But someday soon, it'll be available cross-platform, and then you could have a Mac in one room, a PC in another, and another machine running Ubuntu in your vacation chalet in the Swiss Alps, and most of your same apps and data could be available on all of them. Beyond that, when U.S. broadband speed and freedom catches up with the rest of the world, we might be able to do all our computing online. Maybe the OS won't die tomorrow, but its importance is already starting to shrink so much, that soon it won't even matter anymore.

Has anyone tried the new google browser yet? I think I'll pass on trying it until its out of beta, but heres the download link if anyone is interested:

http://www.google.com/chrome/index.html?hl=en&brand=CHMI&utm_source=en-et&utm_medium=et&utm_campaign=en

And if you have used it, what do you think of it? Is is competition for firefox and explorer?


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I don't like trying things in Beta. Mainly because they find a way to screw up my PC. But I did try FireFox & decided to stick with IE7 since FireFox messed up real bad with spell check.


Municipal Broadband > Title II Net Neutrality

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The Chrome is 'ok', I'm kinda used to Firefox now ... and, the Chrome's more tailored to say frequent users of Youtube/ Gmail/ Googlemaps, and other Google products.


I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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I don't like the idea of my data stored on someone else's server. Apps, I'm fine with. But what happens if you have a problem with your internet connection? You'd have no access to ANYTHING, and that would really bug me.

I haven't tried chrome, I might when it's out of beta for a while, but I personally prefer Firefox. I don't actually use the spellcheck feature, so it's not a big deal for me.


Yesterday was the deadline for all complaints!

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Yeah, now that you mention it, it sure is a bad idea to store all your data on another server, especially if there's gonna be a hack on a larger scale. Hackers like to target happy puppies, and Google is one. As far as Spam goes, I get hit with 50+ Spam emails every day, and they go straight into the Junk Folder (at least), but that's not solving the problem of receiving them in the first place. Spellcheck's weak!


I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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I've been using Chrome and I have to say the speed is amazing. I love how things are managed and I hope they finish up the plug in system so people can start making plug-ins like firefox's extensions.

As for the original thread starting post, No. The future is not the web. People have been spewing this nonsense since 2000. Like Dubird already mentioned, this causes problems for people that don't have Internet, have slow speeds, or just don't want their data shared over the web. Sure, you will start seeing more web based services pop up in the future but the web will never replace your desktop fully. That would be silly to assume.


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All hail piggy, king of bacon ^)^

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Actually, Microsoft's next-gen OS is supposed to be completly web-based, though I think actual data is stored on your computer. Not the data for the OS, your personal data.

I dunno, that just doesn't seem like it'd work. I'm sure they're trying to work something out so that they can crack down on pirated software, but I don't see how a fully internet based OS will be a good idea, espically since you can't really make one that would work over ALL internet connections.


Yesterday was the deadline for all complaints!

acsig2016.jpg

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Actually, Microsoft's next-gen OS is supposed to be completly web-based, though I think actual data is stored on your computer. Not the data for the OS, your personal data.

I dunno, that just doesn't seem like it'd work. I'm sure they're trying to work something out so that they can crack down on pirated software, but I don't see how a fully internet based OS will be a good idea, espically since you can't really make one that would work over ALL internet connections.

ummm are you sure your not mixing it up with a Linux distro? The next two OS's coming out from Microsoft are still using the same methodology Microsoft has always used. Windows 7, targeted to be released sometime in 2012, is a more advanced version of Vista (Supposedly the XP of the future) and Midori is a total different OS Microsoft is planning for the far far off future that is also using the traditional method of computing. The only difference in Midori will be the OS wont be as bloated with crap programs that normal people wont ever use and the file system will be more sorted out and organized to prevent system wide crashes and whatnot (think linux).

The only OS I've seen attempt to get users to use web apps for almost every program was on gOS Linux distro and a few other Linux Distros.

I've also seen several "full web OS's" that where basically just web2.0 ajax driven sites and they never gained any popularity because of the lack of speed and snappiness you get when using a real OS.

It's unrealistic to believe a leader in the OS market would risk making a full web OS or an OS that relays heavily on web widgets that could potently be from competitors. Not to mention ISP's now are starting to throttle or cap traffic and whatnot. This can only lead to more headaches if a web OS was created. Don't get me wrong, OS's that use web widgets are fine (Vista, Mac, And linux all have them) I just don't see it getting any bigger then this. Not unless a lot changes in the way the Internet works.

Just to summarize the downfalls to a web OS or OS that uses nothing but web programs.

1) Slower and less snappy when "starting programs" or doing tasks in them.

2) People on slow speeds will have a hard time using these "new programs" especially when needing to use more then one at a time.

3) OS makers would ultimately be allowing competitors to venture in their turf (ie. a Windows OS with nothing but Mac made web programs with Mac ads). This happens with normal programs but it's not as devastating. You don't see open office or Firefox taking 90% of MS's share overnight.

4) You lose Internet, you're left with a $800 computer that cant write excel or do complex things until the Internet comes back.

5) A web service goes down, your left with no "program". Try telling 100,000+ 50 year olds that they cant send e-mail because gmail or hotmail is being updated and wont be back for an hour. Missing your clock? Well the web service that offers the clock widget got hacked so all the clocks where replaced with a huge flash animation of a dancing cock.

6) Gaming....I cant see them making then a full web supported thing. Not unless your into flash games.

Web OS's the future? No.

Web apps like gmail, google word processor getting used by older people? Probably

Killing off normal computer programs? No


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All hail piggy, king of bacon ^)^

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I don't like chrome in the least. One of my classmates downloaded it and tried it out (and I tried it out on his). It's just not for me (don't like the look or the way it works), hell I don't even like Firefox 3 (I regret dling it on my personal laptop). I'll stick with 2 on my school laptop till Firefox 3 gets some of it's problems fixed and the majority of the plug-ins I used get updated for it.


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I love Chrome, So far the above posts are right on. Its fast and smart. Im a google/gmail person anyway, so this works for me. I dont know how secure it is, but they ask ya if you want to share information from browser with google, I clicked no, but you never know. Ill try it for a few weeks, I really liked IE7 but Im impressed and will keep with chrome for now. PS Its out of Beta.

If youre a firefox fan why quit something that works for you.

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