Google Chrome OS – coming to a laptop near you

In the great Windows vs Mac debate, a new player is stepping into the game – and is expected to deal some heavy handed blows to the two biggest players in operating systems. Earlier reports had Google’s Chrome Operating System (OS) launching at the end of this year, but the latest news reports say Samsung and Acer laptops loaded with the Chrome OS will be released in mid-2011.

In early December, the search giant gave the world its first glimpse of the Chrome laptop online. Google has struck a deal with mobile broadband carrier, Verizon in the US, to ensure these Chrome machines always stay connected with 6 months of Wireless 3G included. Google will be launching a pilot program (like its pilots and trials for Gmail and Google Wave) that will invite users to try out the new OS and give feedback.

Chrome OS highlights

Google is promoting its OS as the ideal system for computing on the go. Chrome loads quickly since it lacks a hard drive, so users can surf the web instantly and are just moments away from the information they’re looking for. Documents and applications are stored in a “cloud” so that the information can be synced with any other Chrome laptop or your even your Chrome Browser online.

Other features Google is announcing with Chrome OS include:

Security – advanced security to protect your applications and documents from malware of viruses.
Instant Updates – because Google’s Chrome is based online, your OS will be kept fresh and up to date without the usual annoying update prompts and service packs.
Web apps – with the launch of the pilot program, Google has also launched its Chrome Web application store that allows users to download applications to enhance their Chrome experience.

Chrome is currently being tested in a pilot program in the US. Meanwhile, the first shipment of Chrome based notebooks will be shipped in the US by Samsung and Acer. There’s no official word yet on when the netbooks will be available in Australia.

Meanwhile, for those individuals looking to enjoy some of the benefits of Chrome OS, online data backup and transfer services is available when you hire a laptop and can help keep your files safe and easy to access should your machine get lost or stolen.

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