Thursday, July 09, 2009

Google Chrome Operating System

Google announced the Google Chrome OS on 7 July 2009. Few details have been released, but this appears to be a version of Linux using a web interface conceptually similar to webOS used on the Palm Pre. It is not clear if Chrome OS will be a scaled up version of the Android operating system
used on the HTC Dream and HTC Magic mobile phones.

The idea seems to create a minimal operating system to support a web browser and then have most of the application provided remotely by web servers. This will not be the first such minimalist version of Linux. The Lenovo IdeaPad S10e netbooks selected for NSW secondary school students come with "Splashtop", an instant on version of Linux with simplified applications, in addition to the Windows operating system.

Google may help popularise such Linux based operating systems. This could make low cost, low power computers more feasible. It should cost less than $50 to add such a computer to an LCD video monitor or TV for example.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Online applications

According to September 2007 PC World, the ability to have web applications which work offline is coming, but not quite here yet. PC World points out that many of the applications don't allow the user to seamlessly switch from offline to online and have more limited features than pure online services (which are themselves much more limited than the typical PC application).

Firefox 3 is planned to have an offlineResources attribute to allow the web designer to tell the browser what should be cached for offline use. The Google Reader feed reader now has an offline options, which requires Google Gears to be installed on the user's PC. Dojo Offline is an toolkit to make Google Gears easier to implement.

The same issue of PC World looked at web based office packages, such as Google Docs and Spreadsheets, ThinkFree and Zoho. Currently these are purely online: you have to have an Internet connection to work on documents, or export the work to a PC based package such as or MS-Office.

Also in PC World were more specialised business applications available online, such as HighRiseHQ and FreeCRM Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs). These are also online only systems at present. Also of interest is the AgoraCart Open Source e-commerce shopping cart software, although this is downloaded software, not an online system hosted on a host web site.

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