GBM InkShow: Startforce, Browser OS

John from Startforce showed me his company’s browser-based operating system at Web 2.0 yesterday. Startforce can run on Firefox, Internet Explorer or Google Chrome.

Startforce includes a desktop, productivity suite, image viewer and audio player. There’s an IM client that works with AIM, Google Talk, MSN Messenger, ICQ and Yahoo chat. The Startforce email client can be setup to manage multiple email IMAP accounts.


I enjoyed the demo and especially liked how robust the web-based document editing application is compared to Google Docs. Microsoft Office 2003 users will feel right at home with Startforce’s Writer, Spreadsheet and Presentation applications.

Since all of the virtual desktop’s processing is done on Startforce’s servers it doesn’t really matter how fast or slow your computer is. The Startforce experience is snappy on a netbook. In fact, the company was running demos on an IdeaPad S10, Mini 1000 and Acer Aspire One.


There are a couple of things that I don’t like about Startforce though. There’s no way to add your own applications and 1GB of storage won’t get you very far these days.


Startforce offers free access to consumers and sells premium subscriptions to business customers.

If you want to try the service yourself visit