Feeds

Google Cr-48: Inside the Chrome OS 'unstable isotope'

Mountain View goes to extremes

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Offline non-access

It should also go without saying that Chrome OS is close to useless if you don't have an internet connection. Some apps do offer limited offline access, such as The New York Times new installable Chrome app, and these apps will likely become more prevalent. But for the most part, if you try to use the OS while offline, you get error messages. But you can still take screenshots:

Chrome OS offline message

The limitations of an all-browser OS (click to enlarge)

To mitigate this inconvenience, Google includes built-in 3G connectivity as well as WiFi. In the US, Mountain View has teamed with Verizon to offer 100MB of data per month for free for the first two years, and there's no longterm contract. But to get the free data, you have to provide a credit card. Plans providing additional data start at $9.99 a day.

The networking setup is almost seamless – and wonderfully simple. Chrome OS offers limited "settings" screen that handles not only networking but other basic needs, including the system clock, passwords, privacy, and security.

Google Chrome OS-equipped Cr-48: 'Under the Hood'

Under the hood. Sort of (click to enlarge)

Google takes a multilayered approach to security. Every webpage and app you visit is restricted to its own sandbox, and if malware escape the sandbox, Google does a verified boot at startup in an effort to detect system tampering. Plus, like the Chrome browser, Chrome OS is automatically updated with security patches. Google calls this "defense in depth," and it's one good reason to the use OS.

The question is whether it's reason enough.

Disposable laptop

Google also pitches its Chrome OS machine as a kind of disposable computer. If you lose it, you don't lose your data or your apps. Chrome OS includes a sync tool that saves your OS settings, data, and docs on Google's servers. When you log-in with a new machine, your setup is there waiting for you.

When you consider this alongside Google's guest mode and its multilayered security, Chrome OS begins to look mighty attractive. If you're a business. And you're not adverse to storing all your company data on Google servers.

If you're the average consumer, it's likely not for you. But it is in beta. Come back in, say, another five years. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.