Google Chrome operating system will store all your information in 'online cloud' to create super-quick computers

Starting up a computer with new Google software will be as quick as switching on a TV, according to the internet giant.

The company made the bold claim as they unveiled their new Chrome operating system yesterday.

True to Google's online-pedigree, the Chrome OS resembles a web browser more than it does a traditional computer operating system.

Google Chrome

The Google Chrome homepage shows your six most visited websites automatically. The code for the operating system was released to outside developers yesterday

A user's files, emails and media players will all be stored in an online 'cloud' using internet servers.

These big machines will hold the information and send it when needed to relatively uncomplicated devices like a Chrome PC. It enables computers using Chrome to work at a much faster pace.

Google hopes the Chrome OS will challenge the dominance of Microsoft Corp's Windows, which runs on nine out of 10 personal computers.

Google said the software will initially be available in mid-2010 on low-cost netbooks that meet Google's hardware specifications, such as those that only use memory chips to store data. Netbooks running Chrome OS will only be able to run web applications .

Sundar Pichai, vice-president of product management for Google's Chrome OS, said that computers running Chrome OS will be able to start in less than seven seconds.

'From the time you press boot you want it to be like a TV: You turn it on and you should be on the Web using your applications,' Mr Pichai said.

Sergey Brin

Google co-founder Sergey Brin is shown with his new Droid phone in Mountain View, California. Google showed off their Chrome OS yesterday

But analysts noted that the differences between conventional PCs and Chrome OS netbooks might give some consumers pause. It is not compatible with traditional software and has limited offline capabilities.

'If they view it from the conventional perspective, then it falls short'; said Gartner analyst Ray Valdes. 

Analysts have also questioned how users will be able to work if their internet service provider experiences any problems.

Google officials said Chrome OS netbooks will be able to provide some functions when offline, but that the product was primarily designed to be connected to the internet.

They added that all data in Chrome will automatically be housed in the so-called cloud, or on external servers.

If a person loses their netbook, Google Engineering Director Matt Papakipos explained, they can buy a new one, log in and within seconds have a machine with access to all the same data as their previous device.

'What really makes this a cloud device is that all the user data is synced back to the cloud in real time,' said Mr Papakipos.

Google said it is giving away the software for free, similar to its Android smartphone software, with the idea that improving the web experience will ultimately benefit its internet search advertising business.

'They're doing it to get further and further entrenched in whatever people are doing to go online, whether that's a browser, an operating system or in applications,' said analyst Todd Greenwald, from the Signal Hill Group.

The internet giant made the computer code for the Chrome OS available to outside developers yesterday, allowing developers to tinker with the software and potentially design new applications to run alongside it.

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