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Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google says Microsoft is guilty of torture. He says that using Windows is a tortuous experience.  (Source: Russian American Media)
Apparently everyone's favorite internet giant is stepping up rhetoric in the face of Chrome OS launch

Sergey Brin, an outspoken Russian-American computer scientist, gained fame and glory as one of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) "big three".  He co-founded the search firm with Larry Page, who recently took over for the departing Eric Schmidt at CEO.

In the wake of Google's unveil of Chrome OS (Operating System) PCs at its annual I/O developers conference, Mr. Brin unloaded on the world's leading operating systems maker, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).

At a Chrome OS launch event he began friendly enough, stating, "I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with Windows. Windows 7 has some great security features."

From there, though, his critique of his competitor grew more pointed.  

"With Microsoft, and other operating system vendors, I think the complexity of managing your computer is really torturing users.  It's torturing everyone in this room. It's a flawed model fundamentally. Chromebooks are a new model that doesn't put the burden of managing the computer on yourself."

Mr. Brin's rhetoric seems more than a little confusing and contradictory.

He does get one thing right, though -- Chrome OS is certainly a unique take on the operating system experience, though.  The new OS starts off ordinary enough, built on a stripped down Linux environment.

From there the experience veers from past designs, by funneling the user's entire interactions with the system through a web browser -- Chrome -- to be precise.

The technique offers certain challenges -- particularly the difficulty of writing fast applications given that you have to deal with a secondary interface layer (the browser).  Modern web technologies, though, somewhat mitigate these issues.

On the plus side putting applications in the browser allows them to be sandboxed.  This protects against system crashes and certain types of security problems -- e.g. viruses (though some malicious programs like keyloggers could, in theory still work, depending on the precise details of the sandboxing scheme and how clever the malicious app's authors were).

The other unique aspect of the OS is that it will offer online backup of all information on the computer.  This cloud-based system means that if the computer ever suffers physical damage or a malware attack, restoration can be accomplished in a much easier fashion.

Google has partnered with Citrix Systems, Inc. (CTXS) and VMware, Inc. (VMW) to offer in-browser virtualization.  This could eventually allow Chrome users to access common Windows productivity tools like Microsoft Office.  Google claims that in a recent survey of 400 companies that it conducted, 75 percent said they would be able to switch from Windows, given the right mix of internet apps, offline accessible apps, and virtualization.

Microsoft has toyed with the notion of a similar cloud-driven operating system, releasing a test version of Windows dubbed Windows Azure.  While Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 offer some cloud integration, they lack full, automatic backup to the extent of Google's.

Laptops with Chrome OS will be available June 15 from Best Buy Co., Inc. (BBY) and Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN).  Google has announced two models thus far -- a 11.6" from Acer with 6 hours of battery life ($349 for Wi-Fi only, more for the 3G version) and a 12.1" from Samsung with 8.5 hours of battery life ($429 for Wi-Fi only, and $499 for a 3G version).  Both laptops pack dual-core Atom CPUs from Intel Corp. (INTC).

The laptops may be a bit pricy for the curious buyer.  A smaller screen version with an ARM CPU could possibly hit the $200 mark, but at present no such option is available.  Still, some may jump at the opportunity to escape Microsoft's "torture".



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he is right.. to a point
By kattanna on 5/12/2011 3:57:10 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Chromebooks are a new model that doesn't put the burden of managing the computer on yourself


most people really dont need more then what a browser interface can provide. web/email/pics/movies.. etc. that covers the needs for the majority of the people, and actually as a long time IT person, i would actually like to see those people moved away from a computer system they have to manage and maintain. tablets/netbooks are great for that.

will they draw me away from my SLI'd 3 monitor computer.. LOL no. but i also know im not in the majority.




RE: he is right.. to a point
By dani31 on 5/12/2011 4:08:59 PM , Rating: 4
I won't give up my main rig either, but a may just buy a chromebook as a second computer to carry around.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By cjohnson2136 on 5/12/2011 4:23:13 PM , Rating: 4
they are great as a second computer. I have the CR-48 and it makes for a great on the go laptop


RE: he is right.. to a point
By mcnabney on 5/12/2011 6:54:48 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, but would you pay $430 for 12" with dualcore Atom? This isn't Fusion or SB which bring decent graphics. These laptops are going to behave a lot like a netbook, but cost considerably more and break compatibility with Windows too.

Sorry, but Atom = not interested


RE: he is right.. to a point
By acer905 on 5/12/2011 7:26:08 PM , Rating: 2
Just curious, have you seen the actual benchmarks of the new Atoms, or are you basing your dislike on the older chips. Better yet, have you even used one?? From a numbers point of view, the new ones are much better. The old Atom Z10, released back in 2008 has a Passmark CPU rating of 186. The N570 found in the Acer Chromebook has a rating of 642. To compare, a 3.8GHZ P4 has the same rating. This is also higher than the 1.07GHZ ULV Core 2 single core CPU. Yes, its not an i7, but its a lot better than it used to be.

Not to mention, i doubt that ChromeOS will hog as much of system as Windows does. If so, major Google fail.

((all ratings info from http://www.cpubenchmark.net))


RE: he is right.. to a point
By stm1185 on 5/12/2011 9:36:49 PM , Rating: 3
Obviously referring to the absolutely terrible integrated graphics on the atom chips. Not the cpu power. Though how much you could make use of the gpu in a chrome laptop remains to be seen. Its not like you could load up a blu ray or WoW or other old popular games on a Chrome laptop anyway.

The biggest failing of Chrome OS that I see is that it seems to be oriented around consumption rather then creation.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By acer905 on 5/12/2011 11:34:04 PM , Rating: 2
Ahh, but what about Google Docs? While it may not be as fancy as MS Office, it can easily do everything that most users need. For office work, a Chromebook would be able to create content.

Add in another possibility, a little dumb-client style CPU/GPU unloading to a central "server," Google could tie the chromebook to a powerful "supercomputer" to allow video editing, 3D modelling, etc. All that is needed is a robust network, which Google has been pushing for for years.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By Targon on 5/13/2011 6:13:38 AM , Rating: 5
If you are in business, the last thing you should really want is for your documents and ANYTHING that might contain sensitive information to be out there on the Internet. Yes, in concept it is a nice idea, but seriously, there have been so many security breaches that I just wouldn't count on ANY system that people THINK is secure that is out there.

Now, for most home users, sure, you could throw a tablet at them and they will be happy, as long as they can run what they WANT to run. In the same way that Apple likes to talk up the two billion applications available for the iPhone(without mentioning how many different versions of the same thing there are, including fart apps), there will be many people who just won't pick up one of these machines simply because they can't run their apps on them.

As far as the whole Atom processor, I'd rather wait for an AMD Fusion based machine since it is a better overall package.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By Chadder007 on 5/13/2011 11:04:36 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Too many security holes are in clouded services for me to feel comfortable with.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By Smilin on 5/13/2011 9:37:40 AM , Rating: 1
Meh. I'll stick with Office Live. Google Docs is mediocre and I spotted document fidelity issues the very first time I played with it. Office Live is... Office!

Besides (and some may disagree) I simply trust Microsoft more than I trust Google. Those guys *will* search your documents and tie the results to your searched email, search results, DNS queries (if you use that) and someday might very well flub up and just open your stuff wide to your facebook friends.

As far as this whole "managing your PC is torture" thing I don't buy it. Obviously if you strip features from Windows, OSX and Linux distros enough you'll end up with something easier to manage but then you're stuck not being able to do stuff. For it's capabilities Windows is incredibly easy to manage especially in enterprises.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By dark matter on 5/13/11, Rating: -1
RE: he is right.. to a point
By MScrip on 5/13/2011 4:00:50 AM , Rating: 5
3 years with the same Atom-based netbook is not really a selling point! :)

Now that's torture!


RE: he is right.. to a point
By DFranch on 5/13/2011 8:51:51 AM , Rating: 5
so only $1,008 over 3 years for a $500 computer where do I sign? You must work for rent-a-center or something to think that is a good deal.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By Da W on 5/13/2011 9:02:25 AM , Rating: 2
Funny, coming from a company that markets its Android OS as the most customisable phone OS out there.
Well Windows is the most customisable computer OS out there! And if your not an illetrate, you can use it.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By sxr7171 on 5/13/2011 1:18:21 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah. coming from the guy who can't even spell illiterate. Everyone can use spend the time and energy to use and fix and deal with Windows, but really some people don't have the time when they pull $200-500 and hour. They just hire people to fix those pieces of shit. But then there is downtime while they maintain that shithole of an OS. Or you could switch and have no headaches beyond an occasional restart. The last thing people need is to mess with that auto restarting, random freezing bullshit when they want to get an email written or some other actual work. My time is worth too much to be fumbling with an OS like Windows. You on the other hand might have the time and great educational abilities to fumble with it, but why not go make some money with your high levels of literacy?


RE: he is right.. to a point
By Aikouka on 5/12/2011 4:12:34 PM , Rating: 3
I don't disagree with you that a lot of times, computers are almost overly complex compared to what some users truly need. That's actually what makes tablets interesting for some users... it handles all of the simple tasks that they need with little to no required setup.

Although, what does worry me is that attitudes like this will just make the problem of "computer ignorance" even worse. The generations that grew up with computers tend to be a bit more savvy, which is understandable, but computers aren't going to go away anytime soon. In fact, we'll probably see an even great proliferation of processors into every day life over the next few decades (it's already pretty high as it is).

Although, maybe simpler systems are simply the better answer. At least Microsoft has been pushing the idea of "recommended options" for the less savvy user. While some things may have been seen as intrusive (such as User Account Control), they can be helpful to the newer users... as long as they provide proper documentation to their purpose.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By joex444 on 5/12/2011 4:12:49 PM , Rating: 2
As a long time IT person you probably know that a netbook generally comes with Windows though a meaningful group of people will install Ubuntu or similar. My point being that netbooks are still computers that need to be managed and maintained. Tablets, OTOH, would work for most of these people's needs.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By ekv on 5/12/2011 4:22:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
would actually like to see those people moved away from a computer
I can empathize. Those people have other things to think about, I can see that. I'm not quite sure I'm ready foist all their storage onto the 'net (or "cloud"), unless they say they don't care about having their storage mined for keywords. I mean, isn't that how Google works?

Further, Chromebooks is an interesting model, but then who does the managing of the computer? IT? The computer itself?


RE: he is right.. to a point
By Azethoth on 5/13/2011 12:54:22 AM , Rating: 2
Chromebooks + Chrome App Store does the managing. It would be nice if updates happen automagically like with the Chrome browser itself so you don't even have to go into an "update app" app.

The only time a user would need to do anything is if they get compromised they reboot and this restores everything. (According to their security doc at any rate).


RE: he is right.. to a point
By Ammohunt on 5/12/2011 4:25:56 PM , Rating: 2
I am still not sure i would recommend a system that is wholly dependent on an internet connection with little to no local storage. To me ChromeOS notebooks are Gimmicky Toys.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By SoCalBoomer on 5/12/2011 6:13:52 PM , Rating: 2
Here's another issue. Our wireless network is authentication based (you have to open a browser and sign on in order to . . . well, sign on. . . LOL) - you don't get a connection until you enter your username/password.

Uh-oh, you can't LOG ON to Chrome unless you are connected to the Internet (yes, sometimes logging on as a guest works, but not always) so if you can't get an Internet connection, you can't sign on. . .

So it's a catch-22 situation. You can't log on to the computer unless you have an Internet connection; but you can't get an Internet connection unless you're logged on. . .

Yes, this situation came up. We had to find an alternate way for him to get a basic connection - one that's being deprecated so it won't work next year. . .


RE: he is right.. to a point
By AkuPyro on 5/13/2011 11:55:57 AM , Rating: 2
I figured this issue would be popping up myself. I run an iPrism web filter that required authenication before accessing the web. I went to log on for the first time and it went through just fine. So dependant on the web utility and/or firewall, the first auth might be done over something other than port 80. Just my exp with ChromeOS so far...


RE: he is right.. to a point
By AkuPyro on 5/13/2011 11:58:57 AM , Rating: 2
err...port 80 for the initial connection. The auth might as well be 443 which my filter still monitors/blocks.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By Nutzo on 5/12/2011 5:09:56 PM , Rating: 3
If all you are doing is browsing the web or basic email, then a goggle laptop might be ok.

However, storing pictures and videos, editing video (including hi-def), remoting into the office, games, school apps that only work under windows, etc. means that I still need a PC for the other 95%.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By jonmcc33 on 5/12/2011 10:14:42 PM , Rating: 4
Actually, any Linux distro (Ubuntu, JoliCloud, Linux Mint) would be fine for that. No need to get something twisted and pooped out by Google.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By Omega215D on 5/12/2011 6:38:51 PM , Rating: 5
The problem is the data caps that come with almost every ISP.

What happens when you want to retrieve stuff from the cloud, things like music and videos. Wouldn't this cause people to reach their data cap pretty quickly?

I'd rather have my stuff stored locally, that way any issues with my internet connection won't disrupt me as much.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By bwrl on 5/13/2011 3:39:19 AM , Rating: 3
Nonsense!

Pair Windows 7 with suitable hardware and it flies. Even more, it's a pleasure to use. There's no way I'd trade my various rigs with an OS that allows virtually no flexibility, cannot run powerful applications and relies on dodgy network connectivity in order to work.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By KoolAidMan1 on 5/13/2011 5:05:05 AM , Rating: 2
Absolutely. This is why things like the Chromebook and iPad make so much sense. I know Windows and OS X like the back of my hand and I love my SLI rig with dual displays, but like you I also know that I'm in the minority of users.


RE: he is right.. to a point
By frobizzle on 5/13/2011 8:58:54 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Chrome OS is certainly a unique take on the operating system experience, though.

There's very little new here. The idea of thin clients is older than dirt. It didn't work then. Now add in the vast majority of ISPs trying to strangle bandwidth with usage caps and it won't work now, either.

Exciting new packaging. Same tired crap inside.


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