Hands on with Google Chrome OS

The laptop comes with two years of free 3G service from Verizon Wireless

By Joel Mathis, Macworld |  Software, google chrome os

(Image Caption: Apps for sale: Most Google apps are just bookmarks, whisking users directly to Web sites in the Chrome browser.)

With the launch of Chrome OS, Google also announced the opening of the Chrome Web Store, where users can download apps to expand their computing experience beyond mere browsing. Beyond a few extensions for the browser, however, many of the "apps" are merely bookmarks for Web pages—some optimized to work only with Chrome, some not. There's no obvious way for users to organize their apps page, though, so it's not clear why they'd use it instead of just bookmarking preferred sites, anyway.

(It's also not immediately apparent why The New York Times and Salon would create Chrome-optimized versions of their Websites when a user can simply ... go to their Websites. Interestingly, the Times's Chrome site is best used not in Chrome, but in the iPad's Safari browser, where the story display and touch navigation make it a worthy rival to the Times's own iPad app.)

There's a clearer need for the browser extensions, but this feature isn't quite ready for prime time. Two of the available browser extensions I installed—Chrome TV and Proxy Switchy!—ended up unusable because they required plug-ins unavailable for the OS.

A last perplexing note: there were long stretches of time over two days when Google Talk and Gmail were utterly inaccessible from the computer, forcing me to use other devices to communicate with the outside world. We'll chalk that up to the bugginess of beta testing for now, but you'd expect a Google machine to make using Google services extremely easy.

The bad

The most-used cloud-based service in all of Internet-land is Netflix's streaming movie service. And while there is a "Netflix app" in the Chrome Web Store, the system doesn't support Netflix video at this time. So there's that.


Originally published on Macworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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