Earlier this week, Google gave the world a first look at the Chrome OS. The press event confirmed what was suspected when Google announced it was working on a netbook operating system four months ago -- it would emphasize speed and simplicity. As the tech world tests versions of the operating system that were compiled from Google's source code it is looking like the project's priorities may be weaknesses.
Chromium OS is simple; so simple that most hands-on impressions are calling it the Chrome browser with a few add-ons. The OS adds features such as a battery life indicator and window management, but lacks a few standards -- such as a way to shut down the OS.
A big advantage to Chrome is that the cloud-based model has the potential for extremely fast computing, including a boot time as short as three seconds. Right now, Chrome OS is getting mixed speed results, which is probably because it is running through virtual machines.
Vladislav Savov of Engadget reports his install booted to the login screen in fewer than ten seconds and was able to browse the Web in another five.
Sean Kalinich from Tweaktown had a far more underwhelming experience. His machine was booting about as fast as a laptop running Windows 7 off a SSD. Here's what he had to say:
"Boot up - From pressing the start (power) link until we hit the log in screen was 14.8 seconds. After typing in our log in information (which HAS to be a Gmail account), it took a further 4.4 seconds to get to the "Desktop", so total boot up time is about 20-25 . . . "
It seems that it is too early to tell if the Chrome OS will be a hit or a flop. To be fair, this is a very early version of the OS that wasn't ever meant to be much more than a browser. As Harry McCracken of Technologizer points out, Google said the OS is subject to quite a bit of change before an official release next year, and critiquing the OS is premature until a close-to-final build is available.
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