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The top 5 Google Chrome OS myths exposed

We set you straight on the web-based netbook OS

Google's Chrome OS has been surrounded in misconceptions and misinformation. Here we've rounded up the top five Chrome myths, and explain the truth behind them.

3. It's not a Windows killer

If you're chomping at the bit to download the Chrome OS and try it out on your own hardware, don't hold your breath.

Although Google is making the Chrome OS source code available under an open source license, the long-term goal isn't to develop another all-purpose consumer OS to compete with Windows or Mac OS X.

Instead, the Chrome OS will come pre-installed on the unique new devices that Google is now designing with its hardware partners.

"You will have to go and buy a Chrome OS device," says Google's Pichai - not the Chrome OS by itself.

And don't plan on buying a Chrome OS device and then clearing out Chrome OS for Windows, either.

Onboard storage will be limited on Chrome OS devices, and they will lack the traditional PC BIOS. In its place will be a streamlined firmware designed specifically to support Google's web-centric computing model.

On the plus side, tight integration with the hardware means web applications running on the Chrome OS will be able to take advantage of such features as multicore threading and GPU acceleration.

On the minus side, it means Chrome OS isn't just a new take on the same old PCs and laptops. It's a whole new way of doing things, and there's no going halfway: You're either in or you're out.

See also: Google Chrome OS review

4. It won't run your favourite apps

When Google first announced the Chrome OS, it sparked lots of speculation about what applications the new platform would support. Would it ship with OpenOffice.org? What about WINE, the Windows-apps-on-Linux tool?

Surprise! The Chrome OS won't ship with any applications - and users won't be able to install any, either.

"In Chrome OS, every application is a web application," says Google's Pichai. "There are no conventional desktop applications."

With a Chrome OS device, you won't just check your email on the web. You'll also write letters, create spreadsheets, watch videos, listen to music, and chat with your friends using web-based applications.

For most users, that will mean learning new ways of doing things. For example, you will be able to mount a USB drive on a Chrome OS device, but it might not know what to do with the files on it without help from outside applications.

By way of example, Pichai demonstrated how you could open an Excel spreadsheet on a Chrome OS device using Microsoft's forthcoming Excel 2010 Web App.

"It turns out Microsoft launched a killer app for Chrome OS," he said. Sure - just as long as you're content to use the web-based version, rather than the real Excel.

Small business IT advice

NEXT PAGE: It's not coming soon

  1. We set your straight on the web-based netbook OS
  2. It's not a Windows killer
  3. It's not coming soon



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