Well, by now anyone who has an interest in the alternative operating systems to Microsoft Windows will have read the numerous reports relating to the announcement made by Google concerning their development of the "Google Chrome OS".
It seems clear that their intention is to develop an OS that is based around Google services but more importantly where applications and data will be hosted in the "cloud".
Now lets be clear just what we're talking about here.
The operating system will essentially be your Google Chrome browser and little else. Any data you need to save will be held on Google's servers somewhere in the world. Would you be happy with this arrangement ?. I expect that when you first load up the new OS or very soon thereafter, you will be asked to tick a box agreeing to their terms before you can proceed further in setting up your account. This is the bit where you will sign your digital life away to an organisation you will have to place your total trust in.
Now anyone who has any sense these days will make backups of their computer data files of some sort, be it on external hardrive, CD, DVD or flashdrive. Those who don't may pay the consequences when their hardrive crashes or the trojans and viruses wreck their system.
So those that do take the necessary precautions of making backups and running antivirus/anti-malware programs can blame no-one but themselves if things go awry but in effect they have risk assessed their personal set-up and are happy the risk is both minimal and under their control.
However those that delegate all their personal data security to unknown persons and systems elsewhere on the planet are not able to make any reasonable risk assessment of these servers security nor do they exert any control over such risk.
So if we wish to move to the computing futureworld of Google Chrome OS we must put our total and absolute trust in the Google organisation. Just as I am doing right now as I post this on the Google Blogger site.
But there is a big difference in trusting a few chosen words of text to the "cloud" and that of trusting the "cloud" to hold our personal digital photos, personal finances, letters, videos, music, etc.
Now this might all be irrelevant if as is suggested the Chrome OS will be free and open source with the code available for developers to contribute changes to. I am sure that if this is the case then someone would soon enable users to save data locally. For now we will have to content ourselves with the snippets of information released by Google and their partners as the OS development progresses.
The development of a truly secure OS free from subversion by malware would be of inestimable benefit to society, particularly if it were based on free and open software. We have only to wait and see what the real cost to our personal data security might be.