Yes I know, it doesn’t sound much like important news to hear, but there’s something up behind the scenes here. Google has now bought out VirusTotal, a long-time partner of Google’s that it uses frequently for analysing the browser data of Chrome users. VT’s service checks the signature and behaviour of any file you submit for analysis and double-checks that by scanning it with over forty Anti-virus scanners to make sure that you get an accurate result based on an answer returned by a consolidated database. But while many people would gloss over this, it hints at some possible part of Google’s plan for the world at large and, more specifically, to Chrome OS.
Wait, what on earth am I talking about?
Google’s Chroms OS is a network-based OS, one that relies entirely on your ability to access the internet to allow most of the features to work. Its a marvel how it operates and its become decently useful, now in its stable version 21.0.1172.0, with the improved desktop and the ability to access your mail and other Chrome and Linux-based tools offline. Its probably the best fit for netbooks and the search giant has been trying its hand with nettops and even Chromebooks, some of which have had decent success in their respective markets. But rather sadly, Chrome OS has been lacking an antivirus of any sort.
With the release of Google Drive, users are now accessing files stored in the cloud from Drive and others like Dropbox and Google has no way of making sure those files are secure. So I imagine this is how it went down:
Sergey Brin: “Alright peons, we have a problem with viruses on Chrome OS.”
Larry Page: “I thought we didn’t have viruses on Linux?”
S.B: “Common misconception, there are viruses for Linux but they aren’t as prevalent. And no-one wants to target Chrome OS anyway because we can track that kind of stuff remotely. But back OT, we still have this potential virus issue…”
Farnsworth: “Hey, wait a minute…Chrome sends all browsing-related data to Google’s datacenter for address tracking, doesn’t it?”
L.P: *frowns* “Yes, but we don’t tell anyone that we do that.”
Farnsworth: “So why don’t you remodel the existing infrastructure to use the same feature to double-check files and filenames against a database of known malware and viruses? We use the browser as a file manager as it is anyway…”
S.B: *nods* “Hmmm, that’s a damn good idea, Farnsworth. But which database do we use?”
L.P: “Why don’t we approach the free antivirus companies? They have larger userbases.”
Farnsworth: “Buy out VirusTotal and use them and their forty-plus virus engines. That’s the largest combined database on viruses on the planet!”
S.B: “Great idea Farnsworth. Larry, go grab some pocket change and buy this company. I’m going to have a drink with Farnsworth in the staff lounge.”
L.P: “… Who is Farnsworth?”
That’s probably more or less how it really happened. What’s really interesting is that it essentially would make Chrome OS an overlaid Linux-based GUI mimicking an OS on top of Panda Antivirus. Integrating an anti-virus would be the smartest move they’ve made so far. Hey, doesn’t Windows 8 do the same thing nowadays?
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