As anyone who’s had a laptop stolen or damaged will know, as frustrating as the material loss is, it’s the data that goes with it that often causes a bigger problem. Google is planning on getting around this with its own laptop operating system that stores next to nothing on the laptop itself. Instead, everything is stored in the ‘cloud’ — which is to say over the internet to Google’s own computers.

The operating system is called Chrome OS and, since it will be free, the idea is that manufacturers will use it to build a new generation of cheap laptops. Chrome OS also comes with a whole host of security features that should (in theory, at least) make laptops much more secure and extremely resistant to viruses and other kinds of malicious software.

The only catch is that Chrome OS commits you to using Google’s web services for everything you do — you can’t install any applications (hence the tighter security), only connect to web sites like Google Docs to do everything online.

One positive upshot of this approach is that with everything stored with Google rather than on the laptop itself, you can use any Chrome OS laptop as if it were you’re own just by logging in with your Google username. So, if a laptop is lost, you can pick up from where you left off on a replacement in mere moments.

Google is running a little late with Chrome OS (it was due to be ready by Xmas, but laptops with an early version of the operating system have just been released for testing), so to keep it in everyone’s minds, its released a video that shows this portability in action. It seems more than a little wasteful to destroy 25 computers just for the sake of it, but it’s not like Google can’t afford it, we suppose…

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[Google Chrome]