Earlier this month, Google started giving away thousands of their “CR-48″ test notebooks loaded with an early version of Chrome OS, their lightweight operating system that will officially debut next summer.
The netbook can’t yet handle the Google Earth plugin, so we’ll have to look at that in the future if/when it becomes available. However, when free laptops are being sent out it tends to gain a lot of attention, and thousands of people have been keeping a close eye on this unofficial CR-48 tracker created by “A. Gamer” to see when some might be coming to their zip code. I’ve personally been referencing the tracker quite a bit to check on potential shipments for friends and family.
A Google Earth user named Jesse Belcher then worked with the folks behind the CR-48 tracker to visualize all of the laptop shipments in Google Earth and the result is pretty cool:
You can view that data on his website using the Google Earth Plug-in, or download one of his KMZ files to view it in Google Earth.
The notebook has a few major shortcomings (the lack of the Google Earth Plugin being one of them), but it’s really a fairly impressive device. I wrote up some early thoughts about it on my personal blog a few weeks ago if you want to see more about what I think of it.
They’re still accepting applications and giving away more of the laptops, so sign up here to apply for one if you haven’t already.
For those of you that were lucky enough to receive one already, what do you think of it? Do you think Chrome OS will be a viable alternative in the future?