So Google is releasing an OS. For those of you who don’t know what that is it’s an Operating System (like Windows or OSX Snow Leopard). And for those of you who are really stupid Google is the very popular search engine who have produced other things such as Google earth and Google Chrome (a web browser). Incidentally Google’s OS is going to be based on their web browser Chrome. Now at the moment I’m trying to get an early free to download build to run in Virtual Machine but it doesn’t like it. The point is whilst I’m reserving judgment some of the features that Google is proposing are a tad worrying and inconvenient. For example the idea behind the browser is that it is an entirely internet based browser. It all relies on the web applications that Google already offers to anyone with a Google account. So that’s Google mail, calendar, docs etc. Now whilst you can do things like word processing and PowerPoint creation on Google docs the quality of the interface is simply lacking. Now there in lies another problem. All of the things that Google prides itself on naturally come from/exist on the internet and are not native applications. The only way to access those things is to be connected to the internet. And the problem with that is that people aren’t always connected to the internet. We like to think that we are but really we aren’t. Someone is at school; not connected to the internet on their own machine because the admins won’t let them know what the password is. You’re at the office, you step outside to get a coffee; not connected to the internet unless you want to pay £5 or more per hour. So we begin to see the cracks emerge. Now Google may do something amazing and give free 3G coverage to all Google Chrome OS users. Oh and of course they could do that because to use it you’re going to have to buy a new net book that Google has made and authorized to run their OS. So there is another problem. Also all of the docs and other things that you ‘store’ on the device will not be stored on the device at all but will all be held courtesy of Google in the ‘cloud’. Now the idea of cloud computing and its implementation in this way in particular holds some benefits. For example say that you lose your Google Net book or it gets stolen or broken. Instead of crapping yourself and hoping that you remembered to back it up all you have to do is sign into your net book using your Google ID and all of your documents and other files will be there just as they were on your old net book. Assuming that Google sticks to its £180-£250 price tag then this could be an affordable idea for schools and perhaps journalists or something but there are downsides to cloud computing. For example you don’t actually ever have the files really. You have a password which allows you to access them but then again so do the people who are running the server where your stuff is stored. Internet accounts aren’t hack proof and as your net book isn’t the only way on to your files (Google ID work with Google/ I Google already) they aren’t exactly safe. Now I know normal laptops running normal OSs aren’t safe either but comparatively its easier to hack an internet account than it is a laptop. Also like I mentioned before what if you are away from an internet connection or your wireless goes down? You can’t get your documents or in fact anything. Now Google might launch and offline version of Google docs that syncs when an internet connection is accessed in which case great but until then will remain largely critical of it. I have to say though I’ve had a play around with the stuff they released on the 19th and it does look quite sleek if a little bit slow.
The Writer feels he is largely too cynical for his own good. But that’s probably him trying to show some underlying meaning that doesn’t exist. Probably just a plot.


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