Last June, Samsung and Acer started to produce the first commercial Chromebooks. What’s this new oddity “made by Google?” The devices comprise a distinct class of personal computer falling between a pure cloud client and a traditional laptop.

Chromebooks are shipped with Google Chrome OS, a Linux-based operating system designed by Google to work exclusively with web applications. The user interface takes a minimalist approach, resembling that of the Chrome web browser. Since Google Chrome OS is aimed at users who spend most of their computer time on the Internet, the only application on the device is a browser incorporating a media player and a file manager.

Chromebooks boot in 8 seconds and resume operation instantly. They don’t need an anti-virus application, because they run the first consumer operating system designed from the ground up to defend against the ongoing threat of malware and viruses: they use the principle of “defence in depth” to provide multiple layers of protection, including sandboxing, data encryption and verified boot. They have built-in Wi-Fi and 3G, so you can get connected almost anytime and anywhere, provided that an accessible wireless network is available. They also have Google Cloud Print built in, allowing you to print to any cloud-connected printer from anywhere.

As we have already blogged about, it seems that we are moving towards a web-based future. What’s next? Further innovation is probably just round the corner.