Are you sold on the idea behind Google’s Chrome OS?

The newly announced Samsung Series 5 running Chrome OS. Source: Engadget

Google’s Chrome OS seems to be a hot topic in the tech world over the last 2 days. For those that don’t know, Chrome OS is an operating system that is based on Google’s popular Chrome web browser. The idea behind the operating system is that it is “web-centric,” meaning most if not all of what you do on devices running the OS is done over the Internet. Data, media files, applications, most will be saved in the increasingly popular “cloud.” This term is used to refer to things that are hosted or saved on the Internet. With everything backed up over the cloud, there’d be no need for hardware components like hard drives, so the risk of losing your personal data due to hardware malfunctions is reduced. Sounds ideal right? Well then, why am I not completely sold on the idea yet? Read on to hear me rant and see if you agree/disagree.

So Google is trying to do something pretty BIG here…Chrome OS is thought to be an  innovative alternative to traditional laptops and portable computers. They think this thing is really going to catch on and catch on BIG. Well, I don’t know about you, but there are a few drawbacks to the idea behind Chrome OS. For instance, the MAJORITY of the world is already using one of two computer operating systems, either Windows or Mac. Most of the software and programs out there that we use on a daily basis in our personal, educational, and professional lives revolve around these two operating systems. So by introducing Chrome OS and the idea behind cloud computing, Google is trying to impact a VERY large industry, and quite honestly, I don’t think it’ll catch on. Why? Here are some more reasons why I don’t think Chrome OS will do as well as Google thinks it will.

Main features of Chrome OS. Source: Engadget

Many of the just announced “Chromebooks,” as these devices running Chrome OS are called, are priced around the $350-$400 price range. For this amount of money, one could easily purchase a fully-featured laptop that can do most of the things that a Chromebook can and MUCH MORE. Google’s touting Chromebooks’ ability to turn on instantly from sleep mode, well, MacBook Airs and other laptops can already do that. They claim that ALL Chromebooks will be able to fully boot within 8 seconds and make it seem like it’s an amazingly new feature, but it’s not. Like I said, my MacBook Air can already do this.  They tout the ability to access your stuff anywhere…are we talking about files here? If we are, there are plenty of cloud based services already out there like Dropbox that do one heck of a job at allowing you to “access your stuff anywhere.” I mean, just look at the picture above, which highlights Chrome OS’ main features. All of these things can already be done on a laptop computer, in addition to things like installing and using third party software that requires a CD-drive, playing DVD movies, and most importantly, being able to access files without the Internet. Now, I don’t know the exact details of Chrome’s cloud service, but what if you need to access your things and you don’t have Internet access, can you still get to them?

I think the main argument for Chrome OS is that you will be able to do all of the things that non-heavy computer users do like surf the web, consume media, and create/edit office based documents and in addition, save everything online. So really, it’s not bringing anything new to the table besides the ability to keep everything in the cloud. Is this ability really worth switching from the mainstream and widely used Windows and Mac operating systems? I don’t think so. Sound off in the comments and share your agreeing/conflicting opinions.


Posted on May 12, 2011, in Commentary and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. “Now, I don’t know the exact details of Chrome’s cloud service, but what if you need to access your things and you don’t have Internet access, can you still get to them?”

    If you knew the service, you could’ve answered your own question…

    • If you knew the answer to anything in general, you could answer any general question…that’s why I made it clear that I didn’t know the details of their service, and asked the question. You ask a question because you don’t know the answer right?

  2. Those of you arguing for Chromebooks are making a lot of good points, however, it seems to me that these perks require a bit of tech knowledge to understand. In order for these to appeal to the masses, Google is going to have to make the advantages of Chromebooks stand out clearly to the general public, or else it will have a hard time selling. The idea of cloud-based services has to reach out to the average consumer more than it does now for people to really embrace it.

  3. I think it’s a very viable area of the computing market. 90% of computer usage these days are by casual users who just browse the web. Google is pushing web apps so you can also do the majority of light editing, etc in the cloud (google docs, various other web apps, slide rocket, photo editors, etc). The only people who absolutely need a full desktop OS are professionals who use it for their livelihood.

    You say your air can instant boot. Chromebook does it for less than half the price. it’s a very hands off approach for maintenance. automatic OTA updates and no backups needed. This is what Google is shooting for. It requires no effort from the user to stay safe while still being able to be easy to use.

    It won’t be an instant success. Google has to prove themselves still in the mobile computing space. People aren’t used to pure cloud yet, but I think it really is the future.

  4. I disagree. The chromebooks are aimed to challenge the netbook game, not laptops. If you want a full featured computer, then of course this isn’t for you. But if you’re in the market for a netbook, which is mainly used for internet browsing, email and the occasional doc creation, then I think these chromebooks are the way to go! Cheap, powerful, and user friendliness are the features that are gonna make it a success!

    • Yeah, I am on board with javier for this one. Here are some things you may have overlooked in your research…

      First, the use of the Chrome OS allows for easier web app access with their store by no need for logging into the cloud services as it becomes tied to your Google Account. Also, with webapps it actually installs native software so that uploading a file from your computer or camera to a cloud service is simply done with one click as opposed to logging into a service lik dropbox, clicking “upload file”, going through your explorer filled with folders and selecting the certain file that you wanted uploaded.

      Next, macbook airs are starting at $1000. Apple cant touch the prices that Chromebooks are being ranged at(350-430). Even the iPad2 cant touch those prices…

      Lastly, Chromebooks have the option to be connected no matter where you are through mobile networks. Last time I checked, you can’t do that with your macbook air.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple follows Google and incorporates connecting to mobile networks.


  5. It’s not “based off of”, but “based on”.

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