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Slate Speculates on Internet Operating Systems 248

Slate features a discussion of possible internet operating systems, a Google OS foremost among the potential contenders. The author views the fledgling YouOS as a proof-of-concept that an Internet OS is feasible. He dismisses the idea of a Google-built thin client, arguing that Google would rather build a service available from any Internet-capable device. Google's already-fast service would theoretically translate easily to other web-based applications. From the article: Dollar for dollar, network-based computers are faster. Unless you're playing Grand Theft Auto or watching HDTV, your network isn't the slowest part of your setup. It's the consumer-grade Pentium and disk drive on your Dell, and the wimpy home data bus that connects them. Home computers are marketed with slogans like "Ultimate Performance," but the truth is they're engineered to run cool, quiet, and slow compared to commercial servers. The author compares Eric Schmidt's denials of a Google OS to Steve Jobs's denials of a video iPod. However, he notes that potential obstacles to a Google OS adoption include: the desire to own things; the requirement for fast, flawless networks; and, the trust-deficit when putting personal information on web-based applications.

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