Google is making a big deal about its Chrome OS. But, what is Chrome OS? According to The Chromium Projects:
[…] an open-source project that aims to build an operating system that provides a fast, simple, and more secure computing experience for people who spend most of their time on the web.
In other words Google’s Chrome OS is a new Internet-connected operating system. So?
I’m trying to answer that question myself. I spend most of the day and night online. I use Safari to browse, Google Reader for RSS feeds, and WordPress to blog. On the desktop I use Seashore to edit images, Mail for email, and Notational Velocity for text editing. And that’s about it. Chrome OS should appeal to a guy like me.
But it doesn’t.
I need to edit images. Seashore is simple yet efficient and doesn’t require much hardware resources. Is there something online that’s Seashore-equivalent? I haven’t found one yet.
When I want to jot down text I run Notational Velocity and within a couple of seconds I’m putting my thoughts down. Google Docs can probably offer a similar experience, but do I really want to connect first and then start typing? No, I want to start Notational Velocity, start typing right away and let NV cloud-sync in the background (read: Simplest Text Synchronization Between Mac & iPhone). Cloud-syncing should be in the background, and stay there, out of my way. At times I’ll want to access it directly (e.g. DropBox online), but most of the time it is there to keep secure backups.
Chrome OS is not what I want. OS X takes very good care of me, but I want better desktop apps that connect to the cloud in the background.
Here’s what I do want:
- A desktop version of Google Reader but with a more elegant UI. Reeder for Mac Beta is most-promising but there are some problems (read: Touch-to-Desktop Straight Porting Doesn’t Work). For starters it requires too many pixels; it needs to be more optimized.
- A Mac version of Windows Live Writer: This desktop app has been available for Windows for quite some time and many agree it is one of the best blogging apps on any platform. Unfortunately there isn’t a Mac version.
Google’s Chrome OS does not appeal to me because it lacks the tools that I need. Take for instance photographs and videos. There are photographs I share with others but many are just for me and my family and stay on my desktop. The same applies to videos. I don’t want to be forced to put everything online with an OS like Chrome.
When the iPad came out, I was genuinely excited at the thought of doing what I do now but only using a 1.5-pound 9.7-inch multitouch tablet (read: iPad: First Impressions). Once I had the iPad in my hands I quickly realized it was just a pipe dream. The iPad is a fantastic device for certain things but not for the things I needed to do (read: Not Buying iPad). I’m sure Chrome OS will be a dream come true for some but it won’t be for me.