Google has been demonstrating its Chrome operating system, which is specially aimed at netbook users, although it won’t be available for purchase for about another year.
The OS will use Web-based applications, meaning users won’t have to load large amounts of software on their hard drive. Netbook computers are designed to be lightweight, quick to start up and energy-efficient, with information stored on separate devices or in the cloud.
The Chrome OS bears some resemblance to Google’s Chrome Web browser, and Google intends issuing hardware specifications for netbook makers, so they can design computers that can use the OS.
Google envisages that netbooks using the Chrome OS will have the latest wi-fi connectivity. It also claims they will be more secure, as information moving from the computer to online storage will be encrypted, and the applications will be ‘sandboxed’ – operated within a virtual environment that deletes itself and reboots if malware is detected, protecting the computer.
The Chrome OS will be free and will come factory-installed on new netbooks, rather than being downloaded onto existing computers.
Chrome-based netbooks are likely to have larger screens and keyboards than the rather titchy netbooks currently on sale. For more information, see tinyurl.com/chromevid