New Google Netbooks Won't Need Antivirus: Report

Dennis Faas's picture

The man who co-founded Google believes that just one in five of the company's employees still use Windows. Sergey Brin also described Windows as a fundamentally flawed operating system.

Brin was promoting Chromebooks, the first range of machines that will ship with Google's Chrome operating system built-in. The system works on the basis that the user is always online, and is effectively a glorified version of the Chrome web browser with built-in links to online applications such as Google Docs.

The theory is that the majority of computer users spend most of their computing time using their browser anyway, and that a combination of online apps and online storage mean there's little need to have a traditional full-fledged operating system and huge amounts of hard drive space.

Low Cost, High Speed, with Refined Updates

As a result, Chromebooks can work with low hardware specifications and sold relatively cheaply. Of the various manufacturers who will be on board with the project, Acer has announced the cheapest Chromebook at $349.

The machines are also billed as starting and running much more quickly than Windows PCs, with Google claiming that while most computers get slower over time, constant software updates and refinements will mean Chromebooks will actually become faster.

Brin was measured in his criticism of Windows, noting that Windows 7 has "a lot of great security measures." But he argued that the "complexity of managing your computer is really torturing". (Source:

According to Brin, a survey of 400 companies found that on average 75 per cent of employees could switch to the Chrome system without any difficulties, using online apps in place of traditional installed software.

Chrome Netbook: Hardware Specs Rumored

A recent leak of Samsung's Google netbook, dubbed "Alex" has the following specifications: a 1280 x 800 pixel display (roughly 10"), a 1.5 GHz dual-core low voltage Intel Atom N550 processor, SanDisk solid state disk drive P4 (capacity unknown), 2 GB RAM Qualcomm Gobi 2000 3G wireless phone card, Bluetooth/Wi-Fi capabilities, Namuga webcam, Synaptics touchpad, Card reader, USB ports, and a VGA output. (Source:

The Chromebooks are said to be available as early as June 15, with hardware companies Acer and Samsung reportedly manufacturing the devices. (Source

Sandbox Separation Brings Maximum Security

The company also claims that Chrome is so secure it won't even need antivirus software.

As with individual web pages on the Chrome browser, each application will run in a sandboxed mode. That effectively places an impenetrable wall between each application, ruling out the common hacker tactic of using a flaw in one application to access the rest of the machine and its operating system.

Google is also using a rental strategy to target buyers who might be wary about switching away from Windows. Businesses will be able to rent Chromebooks for $28 a month, while schools can get them for $20 a month. (Source:

It's not yet known if similar deals will be available for consumers, though it wouldn't be surprising at some point if cellphone networks offer a subscription package that covers both the machine and mobile broadband access.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet