Magazine article Newsweek International

Google's Cloud System

Magazine article Newsweek International

Google's Cloud System

Article excerpt

Byline: Daniel Lyons

Imagine a world in which your computer is always connected to the Internet, no matter where you are. You don't need to store files on your desktop or laptop; instead, you keep everything on a computer somewhere in the Internet cloud. You don't need to install and manage applications like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Instead, you just need a browser, and you can download some apps from an online store.

That future is just around the corner. In fact, Google showed a version of it in early December, when it introduced its Chrome operating system running on a prototype notebook called the Cr-48, which runs Google's Chrome browser. The Cr-48 can connect to the Web via Wi-Fi, or via a 3G connection from Verizon, which is built into the machine.

For now this is just an experiment; Google is distributing Cr-48 notebooks to its own employees and a few thousand non-Googlers. But by mid-2011, real Chrome-based notebooks from Samsung, Acer, and possibly others should arrive on the market.

"We're trying to deliver an entirely new experience," says Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google. "You don't have to worry about viruses. You don't have to back up your device. It's incredibly simple to use."

Apple has pioneered a version of this model with the iPhone and iPad; both those devices download apps from an online app store. Microsoft has launched its own app store to download programs to smart phones running its Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system. Google's approach is more radical than either of those, because on a Chrome notebook there is no software other than a Web browser. …

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