Google Chromebook laptop in shops on the 15th of June 2011
Chromebook-Googles laptop-Is the world ready for the future of computing?
As the date draws nearer, excitement hits the air on the official sale date of the Google Chrome Laptop-the 15th of June. The Acer Chrome Book and the Samsung Chromebook have already caused a stir,but will they live up to the competition of the Macbook and other laptop giants? How will it fair in the light of the growing tablet market? What does Google have to offer that is not already on the computing market?
Nothing is stored on your computer
The Chromebook utilizes the Chrome OS (operating system) which basically boils down to a "stateless" method of working. This means that there are no other programs installed on the computer itself except the browser. Everything else in online,stored on their server. Your files videos,pictures and whatever else you upload to your storage is only available if you have an internet or 3G connection. I deviate from the technical details which you can find in the links section below. Instead I will focus on the global ramifications of this.
The traveler-Or simply poor network facilities.
The Chromebook has in this way already predefined its niche market.This being those who have internet or 3G readily available. If you happen to go on business or holiday in a remote area, your connectivity and thus ability to work is narrowed down to the availability of 3G. Without which, you are not going to work on your computer at all because...everything is online. This does not auger well with the traveler who bangs out a decent amount of work while in mid flight.Nor does it appeal to developing countries where internet or 3G are limited usually to the big cities. Therefore the defined market is those who have a ready internet connection or 3G.
I must mention that you cannot store files on the computer, your mobile content is limited to the size of your flash drive which fortunately is supported by the Chrome-book.
Fast forward to 2014
The Chromebook was launched two years ago now and seems not to have been a big sensation. It is popluar in the western world where internet speeds are great and cooncetions are virtually every where but for somewhere like Zimbabwe in Africa, it will take a longtime for the chrome book to become popular since internet connections are not as fast or accessible.
The google chrome laptop
Because there are no programs or files stored on the computer,viruses are dealt with by Google, long before they reach you. Furthermore, there is no architecture for them to work from since there is no storage on the computer.That is a plus!
No more manual or long updates
While you work, the system is constantly updating. When you boot up, any available updates are automatically loaded to your browser in seconds.Very efficient.
Access your files on any Chrome-book
Not exactly new, just another version of cloud computing. The only difference is that you would have a machine specifically dedicated to cloud computing functionality. SO basically you are not really doing anything revolutionary by buying a chrome book
The Chrome-book is nothing much to write home about in this department. Without doubt there are evident Macintosh influences. The touchpad being an example. Google has also dropped the FN (function key) to give more space to the keyboard.This might be a problem for power users but time will tell.
Lasting up to 8 hours working time and 8 days stand by time,not bad. I would have expected more battery life since the chrome book does not have a hard drive to suck up power. I should guess most of the power is consumed by the wifi connection.
My personal take is that this computer is not for everybody.Unless everything you do is internet based you have no problem. I do not know how designers and artists who use other programs such as Photoshop and the other Adobe suite products will work. Maybe google has already worked around that and provided virtual programs which reside on its dear server-which you will not be able to access if you would like to do your next big project on a beach in the back of the beyond.
All your documents online
The idea does not appeal to me personally though of course I am already using this system of working.Email is stored on the internet, which can be a hustle if you have to access it in a remote area. On a regular computer, you can at least work with back ups saved on it. From my understanding, on the Chrome-book, you can work offline vis-a-vis email so that is a major plus. The problem comes to accessing all your documents for whatever reason you might have,unless you have stored every piece of information online, then you are in the safe zone. This then calls for you to carry a flash drive or external hard drive which has your documents and files around-luggage!
The above point brings up the question of security.Much as we can trust google to be a stable and reliable system, what if, in the off-chance that something happens with their servers and you cannot access your files? You would have to rely on back ups, but as most of us probably will confess,backing up is a painful phrase that usually pops up when we have lost our machine to what ever damage-"I should have backed up!" The chance of loss of documents is sometihng to bear in mind. The second aspect of the security issue is,well-secuirty.How safe are your personal documents online? To date we know that there are people who can hack systems and gain access to information. Can we also trust Google another step further with security? Time will tell.
Acer Chrome-book and Samsung Chromebook
Google teamed up with the giants Acer and Samsung to power their Chrome-books hardware wise. While running on the Chrome Operating System, Google harnesses the cutting edge technology that these two computing giants provide. A smart move that ensures faster boot ups and a smoother operating experience. This is a welcome development but the question then becomes-why not get an acer or samsung laptop instead and just use the Chrome browser? Better still, get a Macbook or iPad. The point in question here is not the necessarily the hardware.Its all about a browser (Chrome OS is basically a high end browser) sitting on reliable hardware.So what has the Chrome OS really have to offer?
The Google Chrome Channel on Youtube. Learn all about the developments here.
- YouTube - googlechrome's Channel
Google Chrome videos. For help using Google Chrome, go to: http://www.google.com/support/chrome/