Google Chromium OS has been on everyone’s lips for a few weeks, and is finally available for download – only as source code, though. The new operating system developed by Google is intended to dramatically change the way we use our computers today, and definitely move on to the Cloud.
I’ve tested this very first version of Chromium OS on VMware, and I have to say that my first impression has been one of disappointment. After reading so much about it I expected something else… at least something more than a web browser! Because that’s exactly what Chromium OS looks like: a simple, standard web browser.
After the initial shock, the truth is that having a web browser as operating system – or viceversa – is quite a revolutionary idea, with a few positive sides to it. First, everything’s done online: you use online apps, you store files online, you work with online documents. Everything is available anytime, anywhere. Second, it makes the system much faster and lighter on resources. Chromium OS hardly takes 10 seconds to boot up, and has been developed with netbooks in mind. Third, the web browser interface saves you the pain of having to learn how to use a new operating system. You’ve probably been using web browsers for a few years now, so you know how they work.
However, Chromium OS is not a bed of roses. When I said my first impression was one of disappointment, I had my reasons for it. To begin with, this first version of Google’s operating system is at an early development stage – so early it’s very unstable and crashes too often. The fact that you have to compile the code in order to test it doesn’t help either; I could have waited for an Alpha standalone version.
But the most important handicap here is us, computer users. When I launched Chromium OS for the first time I was very confused: there was no Start menu, no file explorer, no taskbar… none of those well-known elements you usually find in all other operating systems. It took me a while to get used to the fact that Chromium OS is totally different from everything I’ve seen so far. This change of mindset is going to be the most difficult part in Chromium OS: to move from a traditional computer-based perspective to a revolutionary web-based only operating system. A serious challenge that Google has just started with their operating system and which I think will eventually change the way we use computers.
What about you? Have you tried Google Chromium OS yet? What are your thoughts about it?