By now, most of you have probably heard of the release of Google’s new Web Browser called Chrome. You may be thinking… big whup, another browser to account for when designing a site. Well, the big picture is actually much larger than that.
The Following paragraphs will demonstrate how this just isn’t a simple new application in the market place – it’s the tip of the spear in an assault on how we view and interact with a computer.
The Revolution Will be Streamed
Before I can talk about the application itself, I first need to discuss a relatively new concept in the industry called “Cloud Computing”.
Cloud computing is essentially a theory that instead of having your applications, files, and documents all housed on your local computer, these services and storage capabilities are all handled by online SaaS (Software as a Service) applications.
A perfect example of this would be Google Docs. Google Docs is a free online office suite that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, and other business applications. So, instead of creating your documents and storing them on your local machine, it’s all done online.
Over the past few years, Google has been slowly gobbling up startups and creating applications associated with productivity and business needs. Examples of this are Gmail, Google Docs, Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, and many more.
The Browser that will one day become an OS
While Chrome in it’s current release is just another browser… what you may not realize is that it is in fact a new operating system. From the interface design to the back end programming and architecture, everything is set up to run as an operating system.
One can foresee in the not to distant future, hardware created around Google Chrome that consist of essentially a monitor and a modem with limited computing power and local storage.
Essentially, everything you do on a computer would be access through the browser.
OK, But What About Offline Access?
The answer to this question is simple… Google Gears.
Google Gears is an open source application introduced by Google to improve several things:
- Provide offline access to applications such as Gmail, WordPress, and Google Docs.
- Improve performance by storing certain online components to your local machine.
So, if you’re off-line on say an airplane or camping and don’t have access to the internet, Google Gears will allow you to work on your documents and will automatically upload any changes once it detects an Internet access.
In hindsight, this was one of the building blocks of Google Chrome and a component that will be essential to any online operating system.
Security and Reliability
Security and Reliability are major hurdles to overcome. The security aspect is more of a mental barrier than a technical one, but it’s still a concern when important and sensitive information is stored online.
The privacy and security issue is something Google (and every other major online company) has been fighting for years. Right now, the fight is centered around the government wanting access to anonymous search records. But, imagine of the same laws were used to grant the government access to your documents and files without you knowing? It’s a scary prospect to say the least.
Another concern is reliability, because after all… if one component on the cloud fails, it’s not just your local machine that’s down… it’s everyone using the system. Entire companies and even industries can be affected by a single technical error.
In my opinion, this is a very exciting development and one that may change the way we do business, interact with friends, and go about our daily lives in the very near future.
Many people will probably have an issue with this, however if you think about it… many things you do today are already “in the cloud”. We store our photo’s, write novels, and interact with friends online all the time. This is just one more step in a completely connected world.
Any thoughts, concerns, or observations you have, please feel free to comment below.