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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, 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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Too bad Google products are crash-happy
By MartyLK on 5/12/2011 5:38:20 PM , Rating: 4
If my experience with Chrome web browser is any indication of reliability with Chrome OS, it will be worse than Windows ever was. I rarely get through a session of using Chrome web browser before it crashes for some reason. And most of the time it acts weird about loading some sites or going funky when you try to do something too quickly.

Maybe it has issues with Windows, I don't know. But I try to minimize my time using Chrome. A lot of people retort they never have issues with Chrome and can't fathom how I'm having issues. But they refuse to look beyond their own experience. Maybe they have never used a more reliable browser and are conditioned to the Chrome experience thinking it's the best. But there's no possible way for Google to be any kind of PC OS competition for MS.

RE: Too bad Google products are crash-happy
By dcollins on 5/12/2011 8:32:48 PM , Rating: 2
I have the exact opposite experience with Chrome. I have Chrome open all day, every day at work (3 Gmail accounts) and I restart my browser maybe every week or two for upgrades. I honestly can only remember one time Chrome crashed in the last year and I run the beta channel.

Did you install the Dev channel perhaps? I use Dev at home and definitely notice some stability issues like those you are describing. That is too be expected of the development version, however. I use Firefox as well; version 4 is pretty great.

To be fair, I also find Windows 7 to be a remarkably stable OS. My HTPC/Gaming machine has been up and running for almost a month solid now. I need to restart for upgrades but I love seeing how long I can go between restarts.

By MartyLK on 5/12/2011 8:49:14 PM , Rating: 2
Nah, not the dev. I use the commonly available non-beta version. And it could be how it's used. I tend to use it for media play like Hulu and such as well as general web browsing. But I do see that "Oh snap!" message quite a lot.

RE: Too bad Google products are crash-happy
By KoolAidMan1 on 5/13/2011 5:08:13 AM , Rating: 2
Same, the only thing that crashes Chrome for me is Flash, and it doesn't take down the whole application, just the tabs that were using Flash. Solid for me, hands down my favorite browser.

By Azethoth on 5/13/2011 4:18:03 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I will second that. Chrome constantly has a "The Adobe Crash application has crashed" message. Apple, for the love of god, apple pie and ponies, please keep Flash away from iOS forever.

As for Chrome crashing I have had 4 lockups in the past year. Not really clear what that is all about. However, I am happy to blame Adobe Crash since that seems to be what it does.

By MartyLK on 5/13/2011 10:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
Too bad it isn't the Flash that always crashes. It might be because of the Flash for why Chrome crashes, but I have two different types of crashes with and within Chrome: Chrome itself and Shockwave Flash. Each present there own different message.

For reliability of general web browsing, I use Firefox 3.x. For video watching I use all the others. But nothing, in my lengthy experience has touched FF for browsing reliability and feature convenience.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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