What does Google's announcement mean for genealogists? Well you've already heard me rave about my new Asus netbook and I have written a review of five different netbook brands in the upcoming issue of Digital Genealogist. And if that were'nt enough, it turns out the Consumer Reports did a "first look" at the Asus 1000 HE that I purchased and they seemed to have the same feelings about it as I did.
A netbook is a travelling genealogists best friend in my opinion and now I can't imagine ever ponying up the big bucks for a laptop. Sure you need to make adjustments in how you work but I think that in five years time, I will also dump my Dell desktop and simply be working with my netbook, a large external hard drive and computing in the cloud.
Right now most netbook models are shipped with Windows XP Home Edition (since Windows Vista cannot run on netbooks) or for the brave techies with Ubuntu (Linux based operating system). Google seems to be positioning itself for the holiday consumer electronics season since the new OS will be available in the second half of 2010.
Not many details yet, but expect to hear more in the next few weeks. But you can probably count on these changes in the netbook landscape:
- Speed: Google Chrome is lightning fast compared to Internet Explorer and even Firefox.
- Cost: when bundled with a netbook expect to see the base price of a netbook decrease - some are saying as much as 10%
- Less Fuss: well, that's what I call it - less messing around configuring apps to work within the wacky world of Windows
- Portability: as I've written before, a netbook is intended for portability and it makes sense that Google would jump into the OS field with netbooks first. Google Docs, Gmail and other Google apps were designed for portability and offline use.
- Open Source: Google is an app developer's best friend and you can look forward to some neat and probably free applications intended to work in the netbook environment.
And if I can get my hands on an early copy, I will see if I can yank out Windows XP Home Edition on my netbook and replace it since I already have my Asus pimped out with Google Docs, Google Chrome, Gmail and more!