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Reporters' Roundtable: Chrome OS and the future of operating systems

What is the Chrome OS, and should you look forward to your next computer running it? We discuss this new operating system with CNET's Stephen Shankland and PCWorld Editor in Chief Steve Fox.

The big geek news this week was Google's public beta launch of the Chrome OS and its prototype Chrome notebook, the Cr-48. It's a significant product for Google and for computing in general. Will this new platform finally break the hold that traditional operating systems and software have on computing? Has the shift already happened? Who needs operating systems today, anyway? Or is Chrome OS just another "network appliance" initiative that's doomed to fail?

Our guests today are Stephen Shankland, CNET senior writer, and Steve Fox, former editor in chief of CNET and now editorial director at PC World.

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Show notes and talking points

Chrome OS: What is it, really?

Do we still need operating systems?

What about "the cloud?"

Is software as we know it dead? How about the way we buy it?

Comparison of the OS business at Microsoft, Apple, Google.

Discuss things we need and how these issues work when everything is "in the cloud:" Offline use; Storage; Printing Other device support; Notification; Identity protection.

Let's talk more about the future of these other popular OSes: Windows; OS X; Linux; others.