Google Operating System to Compete With Windows 7

Chrome OS takes fight to Windows 7 on netbooks

Since you’re here, I can assume at least one of these things:

  1. You are intrigued by the Google Operating System.
  2. You need a payday loan (or payday loans) to help with a short-term budget snafu.
  3. You look to Personal Money Store for news and views on finance, politics, entertainment and the generally bizarre.
  4. You wish to be a member of Tarlow’s Army, a club I’m starting… right… now.

Tarlow’s Army?

More on the Army thing later. What I want to know is this: If you are a faithful Windows OS user, whether it be XP or Vista, will you automatically stick with Windows 7 after it is officially released later this year, or will you consider switching to the newly announced Google OS (aka the Chrome OS). People are making a lot of noise about Google’s latest plan to control your computing experience, and I’m curious as to whether the trip will be one I’ll want to undertake.

Open source pricing

Saul Hansell blogs for the New York Times that by the second half of 2010, netbooks on the shelves of your favorite computer store will be sporting the new Google operating system, called the Chrome OS. This will be entirely separate from the Android OS found in T-Mobile and other cell phones (and coincidentally on some netbooks). The new OS will be based upon Ubuntu Linux. And like that open source OS, the Google OS for PC will also be free.

Microsoft’s Windows 7 is far from free

Weight that with Microsoft’s Windows 7 cost of at least $45 per netbook, writes Hansell. Even if netbooks retain the older Windows XP OS (Vista is too fat to work in netbooks), that cost is still $25. The Google operating system will have it beat hands down on price.

What about performance?

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According to Hansell, Chrome OS is claimed to be faster-starting, simpler and riddled with fewer security holes than Windows 7. There have been no official side-by-side tests thus far, so that could just be marketing hype. Considering that the Google operating system is based on Linux, it may not be as big a hit with the casual user as Google would like, considering that installing software or making system changes on Linux is more involved than it is with Windows or even Mac OS. Netbooks appear to be all about on-the-go convenience, and it remains to be seen if Google has tamed Ubuntu to fit in that small box.

Raring to go…

When it comes to World Wide Web access, however, Chrome OS is raring to go. Reading E-mail, writing documents and playing browser-based games are all things the average computer Joe wants to do, and this Google operating system is geared up to run.

Here’s how Google describes it

The user experience, as Google sees it, should be as follows:

People want to get to their e-mail instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files. Even more importantly, they don’t want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates.

There is a tiny little downside here: no local software. Browsers don’t yet do everything, and there are two decades of Windows applications that have been written, performing functions that can’t yet be replicated in a browser. If you want to load music onto your iPod, for example, you need a computer that runs iTunes. Web sites often require programs to run alongside the browser, like Adobe’s Acrobat viewer. Even Google writes Windows programs for its Picasa photo editing product and Google Earth 3-D mapping system.

But over time, more and more functions can be moved onto Web sites.

When will the browser-based revolution fully arrive?

If all the third-party software developers have anything to say about it, never. Well, that’s not right. Almost never. But let’s step back and look at the big computing picture. On convenience and software compatibility alone, a Windows 7 netbook could have the upper hand over the Linux-based Google operating system. But many Windows users are really fans of how “Windoze” works. It’s bloated, it’s insecure and it dumbs down too many features power users want. Windows 7 appears to address at least the first two of those problems, but I can’t say for certain, as I wasn’t one of the beta testers.

My choice

What I do know is that the only reason I’d buy a netbook is to have a portable Internet tool that’s more powerful than my iPhone. Considering that once the Flash for iPhone matter is fully taken care of, the browsing experience there will be rather seamless and enjoyable. If I did buy a netbook, I wouldn’t want to hassle with Linux-style installations much. If I used Linux more often, perhaps I’d be singing a different tune. Yet as it stands, I’ll go with Windows 7, even if it means I would need a payday loan or payday loans to finance the purchase.

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