Because of Google I/O going full-steam ahead, it’s a bit of a Google thing going on here. Google co-founder Sergey Brin had a little chat with the press about the Chromebooks Google announced yesterday, and during that talk, he stated that traditional PC operating systems are “torturing users” with their complexity. While he certainly has a point, I’m not sure I like his solution. Giving Google all my files? Yeah… No.
Google’s Chrome OS is most certainly less complex to manage (and potentially to use, time will tell) than, say, a traditional Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X machine, but I’m not sure handing over all my data to Google is a price I’m willing to pay for a reduction in complexity. With Sony’s epic privacy fail with the Playstation Network still affecting millions of users around the world, I think even many less technically inclined computer users are starting to see the dangers in storing your data on the internet.
Anywho, Brin. “I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with Windows. Windows 7 has some great security features,” Brin said, “With Microsoft, and other operating system vendors, I think the complexity of managing your computer is really torturing users. It’s torturing everyone in this room. It’s a flawed model fundamentally. Chromebooks are a new model that doesn’t put the burden of managing the computer on yourself.”
I like the foolproof features Google has managed to shove into Chrome OS, and I’m certainly hoping Microsoft and Apple are exploring similar ideas for Windows and Mac OS X. However, I’m not happy with the idea of shoving all my data onto the web. As someone very rightfully pointed out in our story on Google’s internet music service and locker – what’s stopping shady organisations like the RIAA and MPAA from forcing Google to hand over data on the music files you stored there? Music ripped from your own legally bought CDs could get you in court.
And that’s just looking at it from the normal user’s perspective. What about corporate use? Brin may claim that businesses could move 75% of their users to Chrome OS, but what about all the sensitive corporate data these people use? Are they supposed to just hand all that over to Google?
So, yes, I applaud Google’s attempts to make computers easier to manage and more fool proof, but I think these improvements should be added to the old-fashioned model of computing where I get to decide if I want to upload any data to anyone. Can you imagine what data criminals could get if Google ever got Sony’d?