I’ve been one of those who were eagerly awaiting the first impressions of Google’s Chrome OS since it was announced some time earlier this year. One positive remark right there can be made because they seem to have been quite eager to get it out there as well. Open Source, so much the better.

I knew that it was going to be a Browser-based OS like none has ever been before but judging by this first release I’m still a bit disappointed.

Chrome OS:

So to the right you see what the login-screen looks like. And “woohoo” you have to log in with your own Google Account. Internet Connection required of course. Pretty nice idea. But while that is handy because it enables you to log in to the same account on different computers you will see later why I dont think it’s necessary for now.

Next up we have the Chrome Browser which shows up full-screen as soon as you’ve successfully logged in. The tabs I opened in the second screenshot aren’t open at first Login. There’s just the Google Calendar and an empty tab as far as I recall. Of course with every Google Service you use the Login-Information needed doesn’t have to be entered separately every time. You can for example use Google Reader for RSS Reading, Google Mail for writing Emails and so on. So a colleague of mine dared me to write a Document on this thing and email it to her. Seems quite impossible on a Browser-Based OS with no desktop or additional applications. But in fact it’s not that hard. Everybody who used Google Documents before should know that.

You just go to http://docs.google.com and have some basic possibilities of creating and editing Text Documents, Spreadsheets and so on. And as you can see you can then Email it as an attachment in a wide variety of file-formats. Since Chrome OS is only targeted towards Netbooks and those don’t feature high resolution screens or highly capable hardware one can argue that this is already more than enough for the average netbook-user.
 With the help of another colleague and trying out random combinations on the  keyboard (banging my head against it for example) I found out how to get to the terminal. You just have to press Ctrl+Alt+T. The Concept of multiple Sessions like normal Linux Distributions have has been dropped. The Terminal goes full-screen and as you can see the “uname” command tells you absolutely nothing about this OS that you shouldn’t already know as soon as you’re enough of a freak to even bother searching for the Terminal. Other than that it’s interesting that the “man” command suggested at the top isn’t even available. And I was kind enough to give you a directory listing of the root directory just so this screenshot wouldn’t use too little space.
So while this is a nice Gadget to have it provides the user with absolutely no capabilities beyond what Web 2.0 (as we call it) has to offer. Some might say this is sufficient. I say it’s not. Right now it isn’t possible to change the Screen Resolution of Chrome OS over the menu and I didn’t find any config-files i could edit to change it manually. Now that I “know” that Chrome OS is based on Ubuntu using Gnome (at least that’s what I hear) I could try to find the config-file once more. But I’m just not that much of a geek. I feel I have enough of an idea right now of what Chrome OS is going to be as soon as it’s finished. In the end it’s just another tool for Google to grab its users by the chest and make them be part of their huge scheme of collecting information no matter if it’s useful or not. So I think it would be cool to log into the OS without a Google Account. Other than that I have no requests towards the final product, probably because I won’t be using it natively anyways.