So, was it worth the wait?
Google has given us the merest peak at what Chrome OS is going to offer the user and straight away that it's apparent that the talk of how Google would have the clout to take on Microsoft in the operating system market are wide of the mark.
That's not to say that Chrome is not an interesting departure. There's been plenty of talk from vendors, analysts and industry commentators that the future is going to be based around a cloud infrastructure being accessed by thin devices and here's that vision made real. We're certainly talking thin here, the Chrome netbooks look not just thin but absolutely anorexic, and Google is obviously pleased with the seven second boot.
But I can't help feeling that the wrong feature to be boasting: it's slick but there are slicker offerings out there. And, I might be alone in this, but as long as it doesn't take several minutes to boot, I'm not too fussed - my old Linux-powered netbook boots up in 27 seconds and after years of wrestling with Windows boots, that's seems high-powered to me. The emphasis on security seems like a stronger card to play, one that taps into
Microsoft's reaction has been instructive, talking up the take-up of Windows 7 and pointing to the long delay before Chrome OS will hit the streets,It's been obvious that the suits at Redmond were fearful as to what Chrome OS would bring to the market but one gets the impression that as far as Microsoft is concerned, Google unveiling Chrome OS is on par with Oz stepping out from behind the curtain in Emerald City.
Yet, Google with its claims of a new type of operating system could be on right track. There really is no need for the applications to be stored on a hard disk - it makes perfect sense to deliver these from a host server away from the netbook itself. Yet, this inability to work offline could yet be an Achilles' Heel.
Is the world ready for a totally thin client. It depends on network availability 100 percent of the time, something not every enterprise (certainly not judging by the number of times a bank, utility company or booking agency tells me to call back because "all the computers are down"); not at home - I accept the periodic unavailability with all the patience of Job now - and certainly not out on the road (it was impossible to use any online connection on my daily commute as there was no Wi-Fi and 3G connection was too intermittent). The point being that such disruptions in service are tolerable as there's plenty of opportunity to work offline.
The Google idea could well be the way forward but is the rest of the world really ready for it? It will be interesting to see if the landscape really changes in the next year.