The Google Chrome OS has launched its pre-beta pilot program for qualified testers. However, while Google lovers around the world are practically drooling to get their hands on the Cr48, not everyone is a fan. Several leaders in the technology industry have openly criticized the Google operating system.
Richard Stallman, prominent advocate of free software, warned that the OS would represent a forfeiture of data control. As reported on the Guardian, Stallman stated that the Google OS is bound to lead people into “careless computing.” The risks, he says, include losing legal rights to the data; while you must personally be presented with a signed warrant for anyone to search through your computer files, you may not even be aware that your data is being requisitioned if it’s being stored in the cloud. “They may not even have to give the company a search warrant,” says Stallman. While he doesn’t speak against the cloud on the whole, Stallman’s sentiments have been clear for quite some time; two years ago, he said that over-using cloud computing was “worse than stupid.”
Stallman’s concerns for privacy extend beyond criticisms of the new Google operating system. He fears that the increasing popularity of the cloud will eventually eliminate the hardware necessary to control your own data.
However, it’s not just one skeptic posed against the new system. Former Googler Paul Buchheit, a name consistently associated with Gmail (Buchheit’s major project at Google) also gave the system a less than friendly prod. He predicted that “ChromeOS will be killed next year (or ‘merged’ with Android).” To Buchheit, it’s not a matter of security or data access, but redundancy, since both Chrome OS and Android serve surprisingly similar purposes but for different platforms.
While early criticisms abound, testers are still plugging away at Chrome OS, and buyable systems are expected to hit the market in mid-2011.