Chrome OS gets ‘mounting library’ but doesn’t change the fact a Web OS is dumb

I was reading Sarah Perez’s post at ReadWriteWeb about some clever folks at the DownloadSquad who have found some goodies in the Chrome OS code that seems to indicate that the new web-based operating system will be able to monitor for new devices attached to your system.

What does this mean?

Well it means that your web-browser – in this case Chrome I would imagine – suddenly becomes a file manager. This is nothing new really as typing (on a Windows machine) C:/ in the addressbar of both the newest version of Firefox and Chrome will display the folders and files on C drive. You can navigate your hard drives without any real problem. In IE 8 however it will launch Explorer which is a change from previous versions of IE.

As Sarah quite rightly points out though in her post this opens up a whole slew of security issues – this was the reason for the change in IE.

As exciting as that sounds, a commenter on the blog post points out that a browser that acts like this could mean serious security issues for the new operating system. Would a malicious web page be able to tap into this feature to wreak havoc on your system? We know that Google said security was one of the key aspects of the OS, but we also know that hackers are extremely crafty as well. No matter how good the security measures Google puts into place to limit this sort of access, there’s nothing that would provide 100% protection. And isn’t this the same sort of functionality that Microsoft ditched in Internet Explorer years ago with the launch of IE7 due to these very same security concerns?

All this aside the idea of a web-based operating system that you access through a browser still strikes me as one of the dumbest ideas around. Sure have your data in the cloud but to put the control of using even the most basic functions of your computers in the hands of a company that you can only access if you have an Internet connection is foolish.

Even if we were to consider this as as a possibility is it really a realistic use of hardware that continues to grow in power every year?

Here we have machines, even including laptops, that have more computing and graphics power in them than all the computers used to power the Apollo space program and we want to reduce them to running a bunch of javascript in a browser window.

What a waste.