First, let me just say that I’m not a huge fan of the whole Chrome OS or whatever OS that lets you do all of your work strictly through a browser. I see the benefits, but I don’t see this as overly practical in the long run. For many I’m sure it will be, but I’m not sold as of yet.
With that said, there’s word out this morning that probably only qualifies as a rumor or speculation that Google is working on a method of allowing users to run legacy desktop apps in its Chrome OS. The process may or may not be called “Chromoting,” according to the Register, which lists a provenance of sources that leaves me with a skeptical eye.
If true, I see this as addressing one of the weaknesses that a cloud only OS has from the get go, and possibly a surrender to that weakness. At the very least it points up that weakness. While quick and easy Cloud operating will be sufficient for many who can exist with email, social networking, and light document creation, there are real tasks that need a real computer and a more traditional OS to accomplish. That’s an obvious statement and I don’t think proponents of a Cloud OS disagree with it much, if at all. That said, if you’re going to build a Cloud OS, go ahead and build it and forget the legacy desktop stuff. In my opinion, the compromises needed to make that work will hinder not hurt any advancement Google’s Chrome OS might bring to the table. Again, if true, this just sound like bet hedging to me.
And to give you the grain of salt to take all of this with, remember I said Apple was hedging its bets with the iPad by offering a keyboard option.