Five reasons why Chrome OS will rule netbooks

24 Nov 2009

Windows 7 may kick XP’s butt when it comes to running on a netbook, but if you’re talking zippy boot time coupled with a pared-down web-specific operating system, Google’s Chrome OS, which was confirmed for consumer release this time next year, has its eyes on the netbook prize.

1.   Netbooks are all about the web

Without an internet connection, the majority of us probably wouldn’t have any use for our netbooks. Do you really use yours to type up Word documents, watch converted DVDs, tweak work or college projects or do other offline activities?

No. Chances are, as a smaller portable secondary computing device, everything you do on your netbook, from listening to music to shopping to chatting with friends, is conducted online.

The Chrome OS is an operating system designed using the web browser as the central component and making sure that all the things you do use your netbook for – email, YouTube, music, calendar, games – are at the forefront, and you sign in using your Google Mail username.

All applications on Google’s Chrome OS are web applications.

2.   Netbooks hate bulk

The Windows 7 and UNIX operating systems are full operating systems designed for a wide range of computing needs and as such there are a lot of the nuts and bolts that must be checked for correct functioning during system boot-up. This takes around 45 seconds for most machines to boot up, whereas Google claims Chrome will boot up in a mere seven seconds.

“We have improved boot performance by removing a lot of complexity that is normally found in PC firmware,” says Google.

Why all the bulk then, when netbooks, which are essentially dumb terminals, can be booted up and ready to go quicker than you can say: “That’s perfectly cromulent”?

3.   Storage in the cloud is the future

All of Google’s existing services – Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar, Analytics, YouTube, Reader, Books, etc, store our data in the cloud for us. We don’t need to store lots of data on our desktops and we don’t need to install any software to speak of.

This is an ideal situation for the evolving netbook, whose strength lies in how light, fast and internet connected it is. Chrome will naturally extend this advantage as it draws on Google’s cloud services.

Chrome OS will mean no software installation, no software management and no software updates.

4.   We’re already used to Google

The netbook market is not the same as the desktop or laptop one. While they are purchased as secondary computing devices, they have also increasingly been purchased as first-time computers for children, teens, young adults and those without heavy computing requirements.

Most of these customers will already be familiar with Gmail, YouTube and the Google search engine even if they don’t know their OS from their DOS or CMOS. Google Chrome will already seem familiar and easy for them to adopt.

5.   Chrome OS is open source

Chrome OS may not be out for another year but Chromium – Google’s open-source project for both the browser and the OS – will ensure that developers, partners and the open-source community come up with great new ideas, including what the user interface could look like, security features and software architecture.

“Chromium OS makes it possible for any interested developer to contribute code, ideas and designs to help shape the future of personal computing,” said Glen Murphy, Martin Bligh and Will Drewry, software engineers at Google.

By Marie Boran, via

Photo: Google claims its Chrome operating system will boot up in just seven seconds.