Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chrome OS

Chrome. Have you heard of it before? Not as a shiny part of an automobile, but as something related to Google. That's right--Google, the company that seems to have its finger in just about every pie out there these days. It's got YouTube, it's got Google Maps, it's got Picasa--and it has not only its own web browser (Chrome), but now its own operating system (Chrome OS). Allow me to explain.

First of all, Chrome.

You've no doubt used Internet Explorer at some point in your life. Maybe you use Firefox these days, because you don't like Microsoft. But there are other web browsers out there. If you're a Mac user, you probably use Safari. Maybe you use Opera. Google put its own flavor out a while ago. Chrome prides itself on being one of the speediest browsers out there (meaning it loads pages more quickly than other browsers). In fact, it's my current browser of choice, and I heartily endorse it. Why do I like it? For one thing, Firefox had started to seem kind of bogged down on my machine. I switched to Chrome, and I'm zipping along again. There are some pages out there that just don't like Chrome, and now and then I have to go over to Firefox or even (gasp!) Internet Explorer, but for the most part, I stay in Chrome. This makes sense, since much of what I do on the web is based in Google (Reader, Blogger, Email--that sums up tons of my work right there). In any case, these days it's becoming less and less important which browser you use, so long as you use one that you like. (Although Internet Explorer continues to be the one that leaves you most open to viruses, and I still recommend anything BUT it.)

Now, Chrome OS.

An OS (Operating System) is what you use to use your computer. It's Windows or Max OSX. It's what your computer goes to automatically when you turn it on. It organizes your files and programs so you can use them all. Chrome OS is essentially a computer that goes to Chrome automatically when it's turned on. It uses Chrome, period. Far from mainstream yet, it's only available on a couple of laptops, and its main goal is to create a very slick, light, agile machine that will let you get online fast. No, it won't let you play tons of games like World of Warcraft, and it won't play nice with Office, but if you're looking for something to get you online so you can use email, Blogger, Reader, Google Docs, and anything else you use online (as well as the planned tons o' Apps that Google has planned for Chrome), then Chrome OS might be up your alley.

That said, from what I've read it's still quite buggy, and definitely not ready for prime time. However, technology changes fast these days, and who can say where we will be in a year or five? Much of what we use computers for these days is trending more and more to the cloud (online use). If that trend continues, you might be a Chrome OS user yourself, sooner than you think.

Stay tuned.

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