“Check out YouOS for 10 minutes, then imagine the same project on a billion-dollar budget. Now do you think the mythical Google PC that’s allegedly being secretly developed in Silicon Valley – or in China or on a Ukrainian IRC channel – will become reality? It makes sense for Google to develop a Web-based PC. To be clear, a Google PC needn’t involve a new gadget like the ‘thin client’ gear of the 1990s. Every computer in the world is capable of running a Web browser. We might not realize it, but we all already have Google PCs.”
Where’s My Google PC?
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2006-07-06 8:03 pmThom Holwerda
Not that argument again…
2006-07-06 8:30 pmKroc
The first letter was a speech-mark, and the last letter was one two. Now if I remember my English classes at school, that would make it a quote, right?
…that I’m going to store all of my personal data on somebody else’s servers. Ain’t gonna happen. And I suspect that a lot of other people feel the same way.
2006-07-06 8:12 pmKroc
Don’t you nearly already? How many logins do you have? Check your saved passwords list in Firefox and I bet it’s more than you think.
Do you use eBay, PayPal? GMail? How much data do you think they have about you? More than you think they do.
What about your footprints you leave on your ISP? How much does your telco know about you?
The truth is, we already store far more of our personal lives on the Internet than we would be willing to if it were printed off and put in front of us. But the truth is, we are complacent. These services make things easier for us. As long as things continue to get easier, then the amount of information about us that companies have access to will also continue to grow.
2006-07-06 8:31 pmtomcat
We’re talking about something that goes well beyond a particular service or two. I can certainly buy a few little things on eBay or Amazon — but that doesn’t say much about who I am, how I conduct my life, etc. But imagine storing all of your correspondence, financial information, etc on a single bank of servers owned by Google (or whoever). How do I know where those servers are located? Or who has access to them? There’s simply no way that I would trust Google to uphold the sanctity of my data, when they folded utterly under Chinese pressure. It simply makes no sense to me to move to a completely network-based model in order to reduce dependence on a device (a PC) that costs less than $1000. The only ones who are pushing for that kind of model are the ones that are either selling Big Iron (ie. IBM, etc) or pushing Big Brother (ie. Google). No thanks.
2006-07-06 8:39 pmKroc
Google didn’t fold under Chinese pressure. They folded under their own desire to not be left behind in the No.1 rising market.
When the American government came knocking on the search giant’s doors for data, both MSN and Yahoo handed it over without batting an eyelid. Google said “no”, took it to court and fought it.
2006-07-06 8:33 pmma_d
He said “his data.” IE, the data he owns and has hand-made… He doesn’t want to trust his book, software, music, videos, or other creative work, and probably real financial books, to some public server.
My reasoning for not wanting to use it is simply this (compounded with his): Web browsers suck. They weren’t made for web 2.0 type stuff and hence web 2.0 is going to be buggy and difficult to get right, not to mention inefficiencies.
Secondary reasons include but are not limited to:
1.) Web browsers are unreliable, they crash, specs change, workarounds in js get out of date and more workarounds are needed, so if you upgrade your browser it could break all of your other programs. It becomes the glibc of this internet OS.
2.) Internet is still moderately unreliable. Sure, it’s rarely down here at University, but when it goes down I certainly notice (as it seems to only go down when I’m using it heavily for something I need done, or maybe that’s just when I notice). Think it’s not a big deal? Wait until the time you need that e-mail right now and you can’t get onto gmail.
3.) This is much lesser but the viability of the data keeping is hard to ensure due to the company ceasing the business or other such typical things. The reason I say it’s lesser is simply that due to security issues old OS’s today are already trash if they’re not supported, however, your data is still intact and reachable and that’s the key difference.
4.) You still need the local OS. You’ll make backups to fix the other problems. And they won’t be straight backups, they’ll be copies that you occasionally edit locally: Now you have a DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) issue. Many of us probably manage to do it anyway locally, this will simply compound it.
5.) You still need the local OS. So now economic support will be needed for the remote server (ads, subscription, taxes, who knows..) and the local OS (box, subscription, linux, who knows..).
And one more major one: It’s starting over. We should always think very hard when we talk about changing interfaces in such a way that the old programs become useless and need to be rewritten.
2006-07-06 9:13 pmKenJackson
Check your saved passwords list in Firefox
Zero. I taught Firefox to not store passwords.
Do you use eBay, PayPal? GMail? How much data do you think they have about you?
eBay–have a login, never bought anything. PayPal–all they have is one credit card number. GMail–absolutely not.
What about your footprints you leave on your ISP? How much does your telco know about you?
Sounds like you are assuming that our ISPs eavesdrop on our IP packets. That possibility concerns me some. It’s something I wonder about. But do you know if it’s happening?
The truth is, some of us take active measures to protect our personal information from both evildoers and bothersome advertisers. And the YouOS just has too many bad possibilities for both.
2006-07-07 12:31 ambuff
If you are running old versions of Windows that haven’t been updated in a while all your data has already been sent to remote servers from all the malware building up on them. At least sending it out via https might be a little bit more secure. Sorry, I couldn’t resist the dig. 😉
Edited 2006-07-07 00:32
2006-07-07 8:45 amtwenex
Btw, how do you get votes around here? I haven’t had a single vote to give to someone in months!
I tried to checkout YouOS but the “demo” just kept trying to load. Is the 10 minutes the download?
I’m not grumbling, a web OS sounds novel, but a web browser stills needs an OS on the computer to run.
The last I heard, Google made it pretty clear they weren’t interested in making a Google PC or releasing the Google OS to the public. Google is services based, I don’t think they want the extra costs of having to support the PC or OS in the public sector.
That being said, given what Google has already they could easily build such a device. They have the Google search appliance which is a server with their OS and stuff on it. So hardware is covered, they have the web based apps so gmail for email, google spreadsheets for spreadsheets, and writely for a word processor. Picassa for photo sharing, google.com/ig for home page and news feeds. So yes, it is possible for Google to create such a device, but I think the overhead of creating and maintaining is really not what they are looking for.
There will have to be major (I mean major) improvements to internet based applications that are critical to businesses and home users alike.
Google currently has kept Gmail a beta, which is to no doubt shield themselves of any criticism (“Hey, its free and beta, so quit yer complaining!”). The agreement with Google states that they reserve the right to terminate your account at any time. There have also een complaints of people not having access to their mail for several hours.
Google is not alone, just the easiest target. Ian Murdock (founder of Debian and now of the LSB) has commented on similar problems with Yahoo Mail (basically, not Yahoos fault that the user can’t access important information stored on their server).
Instead of thin client, why not have a fully functional yet tiny OS (like Slax). This way you could have a lost cost of thin client hardware, but the functionality of a local OS.
“Too Many Users”
I wonder if that had anything to do with this news item being posted at OS News. It’s an exciting topic for us OS zealeots.
This is the same level of ignorance that created the .com boom and subsequent bust.
AJAX can make a website look _like_ an application, but an application it still is not. There’s still only very basic ways to render within a webpage. Canvas tag is new, and still to infitile to replicate full interactive Excel charting. All I see is the exact same hype that surrounded Web 1.0 and people are fools to believe that a technology that’s been around since 1999 is the immediate future.
I’ll be back when JS2, SVG2, xHTML2, CSS3 and better canvas support is available, and _real_ applications can be built with them. I was using Word 2.0 and Excel 2.0 when they came out, and they’re still better software than Google Spreadsheets and this Writely crap. An end user sees no difference between App and Webapp because it’s all software – and web apps currently severely lack in function compared even to ten year old software.
Edited 2006-07-06 20:21
I already have a level of functionality something like this. I can access my home and work PC’s from each other via VPN and OpenSSH. They have each other’s disks mounted via NFS. And I could setup any PC which I am likely to use to allow me similar access.
The apps aren’t the same, but I (not a stranger) control both my clients and my servers.
Now, what are some other code-delivery mechanisms? Synaptic immediately comes to mind. How about Java Web Start?
Just because we’re receiving code from the internet and running it on our own machines, doesn’t mean we’re part of an Internet OS.
The closest this to that I’ve seen is here:
GoogleOS on a flash drive? Your settings, files, browser and minimal OS on a flash drive. Every connected PC becomes “your” PC once you boot. Everything else is on the net. Yes, there are some technical hurdles (BIOS settings, device recognition, etc) but Google could make the image available for download as “Beta” software. The cost is minimal to Google and as space is limited on flash drives, users would become more dependant on Google. Good for them, maybe not so good for us.
2006-07-06 10:45 pmgabrielwalker
Ever hear of a “Linux LiveCD”? …Use your own personal webspace, and a distro with, say, AbiWord or OpenOffice pre-installed, along with Firefox, Thunderbird (or Evolution) and Gaim.
You could even put some of them on USB flash drives. There’s your minimal OS. You could use the same flash drive to save your files — or use a LiveCD/flash drive combo.
And you can use your own personal webspace to access anything else “on the net”. That dream doesn’t take Google.
Dreams are always such good things untill the day they come true. Aren’t they?
I really don’t see any need in web apps. You can get any PC equiped with some kind of office package, IM functionality, mail/web/ftp client, music player, video/dvd player. And those applications run faster and integrate better than any other web based applications. What’s the big deal then? Having all your data in some server? You can get that with network transparency.
Still people think web applications are the future. They are not. They suck your CPU cycles, your memory and are harder to code than any desktop app with some good toolkit like Qt.
I have no interest in a web OS beyond a mild technical curiosity.
In the era of compromised privacy and identity theft, I practice leaving as few footsteps as possible when surfing.
It takes time to load modules of this “OS”. For me it’s a virtual desktop that is slow because it needs to load stuff on the fly. I’ll pass on this one…
basicly you dont buy software, instead you access a service.
all your files are still stored on your local device (be it a laptop, a pda or whatever). but rather then having apps installed to work with them, you access said “apps” like webpages over the net.
strip a IE window of all the ie trappings (as in the browser toolbars and so on) and you have the begining of a web app interface window.
If a browser could be made as solid as a rock and impervious to hacksm more reliable than the OS it runs on, only then might I reconsider looking over this little experiment and only for an additional plaything. Firefox with all its addons (that may or may not work correctly) already tries to do some of this.
Believe it or not, there is no storage crunch, there shouldn’t be a bandwidth crunch either, although sometime this cable bandwidth feels worse than when I 1st had dialup under best conditions.
I think google has enough problems providing even a halfway decent product outside of their search engine. I’ve just learned to stay away from Google products and go elsewhere for a usable program.
“We might not realize it, but we all already have Google PCs.”
No, we all already have PCs. Why would we then want to turn our PCs into dumb pipes transmitting a hideously inefficient representation of exactly what our damn PCs already are?!
But most of the OS in the net? I doubt it. For example, listening to music is best done locally. Even more so is watching movies. Think of the bandwidth here.
according to Leslie Lamport, is “A system in which the failure of a computer you didn’t know existed prevents you from getting work done”.
Here is what I would use a “GooglePC” for: Offsite backup of my (heavily encrypted) data, as a personal disaster recovery backup.
I’m sorry, but I remember big time sharing systems dialed into by too many people all trying to get some work done by the same deadline. Why would anyone go back to that with computers being as cheap as they are now?
Am I the only one who remember the bMyPc service who was exactly like that?
Take a look at :
A weird mirror with lot of broken images, but you will see that this is not something new…
I like my control thank you.
Google said they are not turning over logs or something to the authorities like Yahoo did.How we supposed to know they wont behind our backs with this thing?
I have been using YouOS since it began. It is in ALPHA!! Quit complaining it has been in development for 5-6 months.
Please give credit where credit is due! Yes you’re linking to it, but it’s not obvious and it really should have a From: Slate.com or something the article.
My apologies for not seeing the link at first, but as I said, It’s not obvious.
Edited 2006-07-06 20:00