Fancy An Online Desktop?

Online desktop (some call it online operating system, or WebOS) literally means putting the whole operating system online and allow users to have their own desktop where they can access anywhere in the World with an Internet connection.

Just like your desktop in your PC, there will be a standard suite of software such as the email client, office suite, IM, contact available in your online desktop. The idea behind it is to promote mobility and enable users to share and access their files easily. If you are always on the move and hate the feeling of lugging your laptop around, then syncing your local desktop with an online desktop might be a good idea for you.


DesktopTwo is one of the earliest player in the online desktop arena. It is also one of the more popular one around. I also find it to be the most stable among the rest.

Desktoptwo 2

Some of its features include:

  • Web IM
  • MP3 player
  • Adress book
  • Open Office and PDF reader
  • RSS reader
  • Access to desktoptwo forum where you can post for instant help
  • Live chat
  • Mail client
  • Your own blog account hosted with desktoptwo and a blog publisher that support tags, full or partial RSS feeds, blog templates and the ability to edit the CSS.
  • WYSIWYG web page editor

The free account comes with a 1GB storage. You can also upgrade your storage to 5GB for $25, 10GB for $45, 25GB for $95 and 50GB for $185.


myGOYA is an online desktop with nice interface. The navigation is easy as there is only a few buttons for you to choose.


Some of its features include:

  • File manager
  • mail client
  • Calendar
  • Flickr search
  • Zoho Office
  • contact
  • chat
  • bookmark manager
  • online album, media manager
  • some useful widget such as calculator, kitchen clock, web search bar etc

At this moment, myGOYA is still in testing stage and many of the things are not completed yet. Some of the applications (such as integration with zoho office) are still not ready. Nevertheless, it shows great promise and have the potential to be another great online desktop.

Online Operating system

Online Operating Systme (OOS) gives you a very simple interface, too simple that makes you feel like you are in the Windows 95 era.


While its interface is simple, it does has an advantage: speed. OOS takes very little resource on your browser and PC. In fact, among all the other online desktop, OOS loads and runs the fastest. You can find basic desktop features such as email client, contact, file manger, except for the lack of an office suite. The closest alternative is a writer that is akin to Windows Wordpad. Some other features include Youtube downloader and mini games. It also has a web browser included, which makes me wonder is that really necessary. (Is there really a need for a web browser in an online desktop when you are already surfing in a browser that could probably run and load faster than the one inside the online desktop?)

AJAX windows


AJAXWindows did one thing different from the rest. Instead of providing online storage, it uses your Gmail account to store all your documents, files, music. Though I am not really confident of its security, I do like the idea of using Gmail as storage. This is better than being bounded to the 1GB restriction set by most online desktops. You could just upload files without worry about storage space.

Inside the desktop, there are links to all the various Google sites (Google docs, calendar, images, news etc), ZOHO office and meebo. Clicking on the links will open the sites in a new browser window (or tab). I would prefer it to integrate these features into the desktop rather than opening a link to the site, which somehow defy the purpose of using an online desktop.

In general – nice AJAX interface, good storage concept, useful links, but of little functionality.


  1. Try Ulteo….

  2. Ulteo is an online desktop that loads up a KDE desktop. It is still in the development stage and the performance has been rather unstable. I would prefer Desktoptwo though.

  3. you should definitely check out
    it’s completely open source and can run on your own server

  4. EyeOS looks interesting to me. Though I think the concept should be broader: Use a web browser as a portal to any other machine’s desktop. Basically like a remote desktop, but through any web browser, without needing to install any special software on the client. (Maybe a browser plugin at the most.) You set up one computer as your main desktop and leave it connected to the net. It has whatever OS you want, Ubuntu, XP, Mac, whatever. Then you can access it and work on it from any net-connected device with a browser. This way it’s completely self-contained, storage space is whatever you install on your box, and you don’t have to settle for whatever crummy limited OS and light apps these guys are offering.

  5. I think this whole ‘desktop within a browser’ is actually a limiting factor to what can be achieved in terms of an online desktop.

    Ask yourselves this: Is there anything really in any of the web desktops currently on offer than is really a) useful and b) you cannot get already from, dare I say it the likes of Google et al?

    For my mind any truly useful and practical online desktop offering MUST break beyond the boundry of the web browser (which is a piece of software in itself remember).

    Cosmopod and Desktop On Demand really show the best promise and if Ulteo was a little braver and decided to do away with their reliance on a bloated Java client and offer a portable desktop client (like Desktop On Demand do) then I think they would have something too.

    Web desktops are not only two a penny now but are very samy and offer nothing really of value. At least with Cosmo and Desktop On Demand you can actually see the tangible benefits of a remote desktop, imho.

  6. There is an early Silverlight project:

  7. I use, similar idea again.

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