Chrome OS will enable remote access to legacy PC applications

When Google officially launches its open-source operating system Chrome OS later this year, it will do so with the ability to access legacy PC applications. By “legacy,” the company refers to any application living on a hard drive elsewhere.

While details are still developing, the new feature unofficially termed “chromating,” will apparently enable remote access of such applications, including Windows apps. If you think the feature sounds a lot like Remote Desktop Application, you’re not alone.

It’s called “chromating”

Chrome OS will essentially be Google’s Chrome browser running with Linux. Everything will be Web-based and Google promises to deliver faster speeds for uploading and processing. Since your work is done over the Internet, a hard drive isn’t needed to save any data. The operating system is built with a minimalist approach and is aimed at netbooks, the first to see Chrome OS come late 2010.

While Google’s own applications, such as Google Docs, Gmail, and YouTube, will satisfy most users’ needs, Google wants to address every user. To this end, it has recently announced the creation of a Web-based app store, as well as the “mysterious” capability to access one’s legacy PC applications.

Dubbed chromating, the feature allows Chrome OS users to tap into a running PC and access apps living on the remote machine. Thus, Windows applications such as Microsoft Office Suite should still be accessible and functional with the new browser-based operating system.

Though plans for Mac apps have yet to be announced, the thinking is that such an accommodation would seem only logical. Other legacy applications, such as Adobe Creative Suite, will also be accessible and just what many on-the-go netbook users will want.

Pros (and a con)

Similar to Remote Desktop Application, the new chromating feature will only work if the remote machine is running. Thus, a potential problem could emerge if the computer freezes and there’s no way to reboot it.

Indeed, Chrome OS users will surely embrace the speedy, browser-based operating system, but they will also come to rely on apps living elsewhere: On a supercomputer at Google or remotely at home or at the office. While viruses and file corruption will be less of a concern for one’s netbook, small hiccups like a frozen remote machine could pose a problem.