Will Usage Based Billing kill Google’s Chrome OS in Canada?

As Google hosts it’s I/O conference this week, I can’t help but watch from Canada and wonder what the future of the Chrome OS will be here.

Google appears to be loading the new operating system with innovative new features and functionality that could make it a very useful tool for many Canadians. But it is a true ‘cloud’ OS, meaning that virtually everything you do on your computer goes through the Internet. So the big question for Canadians is, how will we be able to take advantage of these features when our Internet service providers (ISP) seem intent on limiting the amount of bandwidth we can use (or gouging us on our bills if we use too much)?

For example, Google has already launched a tool to integrate it’s Picasa photo service so your photos are stored in the cloud instead of on your computer. They’ve also released some detailed information showing how printing will work with the new OS, and it will mean that every file will be transferred to the cloud before it is printed.

I can see a lot of interesting possibilities for both of these features, and though I’m not an advanced programmer it is clear to even me that cloud features will eat up an awful lot valuable bandwidth – that will cost Canadians a pretty penny if UBB goes ahead.

So, for Google and especially for Canadian consumers, the big question is what the future of these kind of cloud-based initiatives will be in our country if the ISPs who hold a virtual monopoly on Internet access are allowed to implement UBB. Seems to me like that kind of future would look pretty bleak.

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