Google Chrome OS May Breathe New Life Into That Old PC In the Back of Your Closet

Chances are, you’re got an old PC sitting around.  Most likely it’s stashed away in the back of a closet in your house.  Behind that tennis racket you never pick up.  And right next to your dusty rollerblades.  You probably often think to yourself how you should get rid of all that stuff.  Stick it in the “Free Stuff” category on Craigs List or put in the curb with a “take me” sign taped to it.

But wait.  The Google Chrome OS may give that old PC a second life.  Google is claiming that the Google Chrome OS is being built to target the netbook monitor, but that should mean it should help infuse new energy into any old Pentium 4 PC running Windows XP or even Windows 2000. 

And that’s exactly what I’m planning on doing with an Windows XP system I recently built.  It has decent specs.  A Pentium 4 2.25 GHz Processor with 1 GB of RAM.  I originally purchased it around 2002, then put it into a closet when I bought a new Vista capable desktop.  Just recently, I dusted it off, reinstalled the operating system and put it into use in an office where I’m doing some contract work.  Two big things I’ve found out in the past month:

First, even Firefox tends to bog the machine down.  Sure I’ve got a lot of extensions running, but its pretty clear that much of today’s software wasn’t built with older processors in mind. 

Second, I’ve yet to install Microsoft Office on it.  It’s been a month and to be honest, I didn’t think I’d make it this far without having to cave in and load up Office.  In fact, the Office DVD is currently sitting within my eyesight.  Collecting dust on the corner of my desk.  Instead I’ve been easily getting by with Google Docs.

Go I’m fairly certain I can get by with GMail and Google Docs; Meebo.com for IM; Pandora, Hulu, and Netflix Watch Instantly for entertainment; and the other 500+ bookmarks in my browser. 

I’m with Michael Arrington of TechCrunch:

The Internet Is Everything. All the OS has to do is boot the damn computer, get me to a browser as fast as possible and then stay the hell out of the way.

I’ve agreed with that sentiment for a long time.  It’s one of the reason’s I pursued a career in web development.

Now, I disagree with the ridiculous statements that many blogs are making. The Google Chrome OS is not a stake to the heart of Microsoft’s business.  This is a very cool possible step forward for technology.  But not a groundbreaking move that will make a big dent in Microsoft’s OS business.  I think Fake Steve Jobs did a good job of keeping things in proper perspective.

You also may not have noticed, but nobody uses Chrome. I mean think about it. Do you know anyone who uses Chrome? Really?

Now Fake Steve’s post is rich in comedy and snark, but he’s right.  Mainstream America is not using Chrome simply as a browser.  There’s no way their going to flock to a Google Chrome Operating System.

But me?  I’ve got another reason to keep my old PC’s around.