Google Chrome OS is getting a lot of attention these days for offering a simple new user interface for computers. Basically the entire operating system is a full screen web browser. As soon as you login you’re greeted with a browser window and while there’s support for pop-up notifications, file downloads, and some other desktop-style features, you basically spend your entire session in a browser window.

But it looks like Chrome OS won’t be the only new operating system to offer the full-screen browser-style user experience. MacRumors reports that OS X 10.7 Lion has a new “restart to Safari” option.” When you choose this option, the Mac operating system goes away and is replaced with a full screen Safari web browser.

This lets you offer a sort-of kiosk mode on any Mac computer running Lion. You can let a friend borrow your MacBook, for instance, knowing that they’ll be able to surf the web without making any inadvertent changes to your files or settings. When you restart the computer and log into the full desktop operating system again, all of your information should be exactly as you left it when you entered the browser-only mode.

OS X Lion will be available in July, but a beta version is already in the wild.

What do you think? Do you want to have a browser-only mode in your desktop operating system? Or is it something that only makes sense for a dedicated netbook-like device such as a Chromebook? Or are you having a hard time seeing the point even for those laptops?

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15 replies on “Who needs Chrome OS? Mac OS X Lion will have browser-only mode”

  1. We have an iMac, and it is located in a public area of the house (kitchen), so if we have guests at the house who want to check email, Facebook, etc, they can use this computer.  Since each member of the household has their own login on the iMac (to have custom desktop, view preferences, etc), it would be an advantage to have this ‘Safari Mode’ for guests.

    All of you Apple haters: if you don’t have a Mac, why do you need to waste your time to slam the product?  If you prefer to buy a non-Mac platform, that’s great.  Competition is what keeps WinOS, MacOS, Linux, and even ChromeOS working to refine their products.

    Apple builds great products, and they stand by them.  The price premium is not that great when one factors in the reduced machine maintenance and problems that Windows-based systems tend to have.  We have Microsoft OS (Windows XP, Vista, Win7) running on several platforms (Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba) as well the Apple iMac, in our home, and they all serve the purposes that they were designed to serve.  We are fortunate to have a wide selection of platforms, and personal preference determines which ones to use.  The iMac even has Parallels running on it, and has VMs for Windows XP, Chromium OS, DOS 6.22, or Linux, so I think we’ve got things covered.

  2. Cost, $300-400 chromeos laptop vs a 5,000 macbook… Some students can’t afford a nice macbook. Plus cheaper OS/hardware is always a good thing as it promotes competition.

  3. Maybe the next time Brad posts something Apple related, he can just go ahead and include a line at the end noting that “Apple sucks and everything they do sucks”, so we can get that out of the way. Maybe have some actual discussion in the comments instead. Just a thought. 😉

  4. If it boots into Safari mode faster than normal desktop mode, it might be handy.  Even better if it limits services and squeezes more battery life out.  Otherwise…eh.  I’d rather a “boots into browser of choice” mode to avoid Safari.

  5. They’re not going after Chrome OS’s use case or market (light, cheap, fast, web-only; Mac hardware is expensive, slower to boot, and houses a full OS)  They made a handy guest mode and also opportunity to phone home for “find my mac” theft recovery.

  6. If a Mac is stolen, it can be remotely locked and located by allowing the thief to connect to the Internet within a sandboxed, Safari-only mode.

    This is why Apple makes more money and has more fans than you do.

  7. What a Waste. ASUS has a built in quick OS on some of its motherboards. Know how many times I’ve used it? Zero. For your regular computer user I don’t think ChromeOS or any light weight web only OS is useful. Further more why would anyone lend out their MacBook ? That’s a very poor argument for this apple “look what we can do” web OS.

  8. Intense dislike…it’s just dumbing-down. Having to learn the how’s and why’s of the human/computer interface is part of the ride. I don’t want to be beamed up into their cloud. I’m not for making things “easier” this way. It’s pap. I hope this makes sense. Never mind that Safari sucks, the whole idea sucks.

  9. Besides requiring the purchase of a ultra pricey Mac, not to mention upgrade to Lion, this “solution” uses Safari. Nough said.

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