Chrome OS – Nothing but the web.

 

Google has announced the new Chromebooks running the new Chrome OS recently at Google I/O 2011. What? A “Chromebook”?

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What is Chrome OS?

You probably know Google’s Chrome web browser. It’s quite good as a web browser. Has a webstore that offers extensions & web apps. So, what is Chrome OS? Google has made this Chrome web browser the complete operating system.

How does it work?

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When you turn on a Chromebook, it boots up in 8 seconds and you’re on the web using Chrome. The UI is exactly like the Chrome browser, there is no desktop background, nothing. This is an extremely light weight OS designed for people who live on the web. It’s very easy to use. You just need to log in to your account and you can access your virtual desktop from any computer in the world. So, your computer follows you wherever you go. There is no need of antivirus software, all web apps update automatically and all future upgrades are completely free. This might be really good for elder folks who don’t like nagging updates & dealing with basic computer issues since this is extremely simple & easy to use. Chromebooks by Samsung and Acer are available now if you are interested.

Everything CLOUD

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But, the thing is – everything is ON THE CLOUD. There is nothing on the PC. Everything is on the web. For instance, for writing documents; you’ll need Google Docs; for photos you’ll need something like Picasa; your videos have to be uploaded to YouTube. So, all your stuff will be owned by Google. This leads to privacy issues. When you upload a photo on Facebook, you accept the terms and conditions that Facebook has the copyright on all your content. Similarly, all your apps, docs & media content will be on the cloud and Google will own all of it. So, knowingly or unknowingly you are giving up your privacy. That’s a major issue. I don’t want Google to own my data and I’m not willing to give up my privacy.

Another major issue – as these Chromebooks are completely dependent on the internet, what happens when you move out of 3G or Wi-Fi coverage? Apparently, you can download some files and apps to your computer’s small internal storage drive but actually you have to “specify” that you want to download that file in the first place! Imagine you spent all night preparing your assignment on the web & you forget to save a copy of it on your local drive. You wake up the next morning getting ready to hand in your assignment that afternoon, you boot up your chrome book in the 8 advertised seconds and ready to print it out only to find out that your internet connection has died due to a fault in your local area or you simply moved out of Wi-Fi or 3G coverage. What happens then?

You might be thinking tablets are equally dependent on the internet as these new Chromebooks. That’s true to a certain extent. The primary purpose of a tablet is to be a web surfing device to be honest. But, the apps still live on the iPad for example. You can still watch movies, listen to music, view and edit photos & videos and play games in offline mode. All in, the major point of concern is privacy. Who is seriously willing to give up their privacy just so that they can boot up their computers a bit faster? Boot up times on conventional computers are going to increase anyway. Machines like the Samsung Series 9 and the MacBook Air boot up in around 12 seconds. What’s wrong with a 10 to 15 second boot up or even a 20 second boot up?

One more question. Why are these Chromebooks around the same price as every other notebook of the same specs? Considering the OS is free, shouldn’t these machines be a little bit cheaper?

Cloud computing services are necessary. True. But, cloud based operating systems? No, thank you.

So, what do you think? Are Chromebooks the future?

 

  • bothamsam

     Very informative article for layman like me!!! good job m8!!! Kudos!! :))

  • was excited for chromebook,, but can’t neglect privacy issues, nd agree with you,, what happens,if internet connections r not available?? that’s a major problem… 

  • Anonymous

    Great article! Privacy issue is a deal breaker.

  •  ChromeOS will probably have some minor minor niche role in All Great Things, lol. 🙂 Rest of netbooks included. Their role will be taken over by tablets – that´s for sure, I simply fail to see what major role these small-ish laptops could have. Perhaps I lack vision, but isn’t it better to have a eee pad transformer, ipad with extra keyboard etc. instead of something like his? Cloud services aren’t that new, and are already integrated into many systems – but being a core of the one, that’s a big no-no.

    All in all – you’ve pretty much hit the nail with the last sentences. Cloud based services – thumbs up. Cloud based OS – no thank you.

  •  Nice, hadn’t thought of the privacy issues!! I guess you can use other cloud sotrage though if you want to go more secure

  •  Intrigued by ChromeOS and Chromebooks.  Can’t say yay or nay until I get some good hands-on time.

  • Very nice informative article. As Editor In CHief of http://www.myrealitytech.com I’m so proud of how far you’ve come! Keep up the good work. It’s nice to see your progress 🙂 ~Jenna 

  • Well said. 🙂 

  • Totally agree. Google can’t even get Android sorted – it’s badly coded, fragmented, horrible to write apps for, 99% of Android phones leak personal data. The list goes on. If they can’t get that sorted, how can they do a whole OS? More to the point, how can they call it an OS when actually all they’ve done is REMOVED the OS and just left a browser. It’s taken technology back not forward, because we can already use all the web apps if we want. We can clear everything from our computers and have no local storage. Why would anyone entrust everything to the one company that has such a dire reputation and track record with personal data?

    Imagine you’re going to a hotel, you think ‘oh they’ll have wifi’ and you don’t bother downloading the stuff. Then it turns out the wifi is one of those you need to pay extortionate amounts for and you can’t afford it, suddenly you have nothing but a dummy laptop.
    Presumably being all web based there’s no cd drive, so no watching DVDs on your laptop, no more writing CDs to iTunes or Zune or burning CDs for your friends.

    At every single step of this decision i can’t see any purpose for it.

  • Awesome comment bro. There are many issues with Chrome OS. It’s something new but just not right. Google’s been disappointing lately. :/ 

  •  And does no one notice that despite all this ‘amazing’ stuff from Google, they didn’t invent it? They bought Android, they acquired Chromium… 98% of its revenue comes from advertising. I think Google is just trying to see how fast it can become the most dominant company in the tech world without having to actually work for it, relying on the ignorance of consumers to not realise how crap the products actually are.

  • I know! But, do you think Google can/will eventually dominate the tech world with this evil philosophy?

  •  No i don’t think so. They’ll have a marketshare yes, but Nokia Maps already destroys Google Maps, Android is only so popular because it’s flooding the market but increasingly people are realising how bad it is, but it’s the most open mainstream OS. Had Nokia pushed Maemo 5 it’d be a different story, but i do think MeeGo will help the situation. I can’t see Chrome OS actually going anywhere because very few people are going to want to sacrifice a real OS

  • So, who do you think will dominate the tech industry? Microsoft or Apple? 😉 

  • Hard to say right now, Google is riding this wave now but the truth is i think we’re in a transition phase of ‘stop gap’ technology – remember when everyone thought mindisc players were the future? People now think tablets are the future but there’s simply no way they will ever replace desktops or full laptops, and i’m wondering if they really have much of a place at all. Android tablets aren’t selling well, the iPad is but for how long? Apple has a small share with OSX for desktops, and i doubt they’ll ever get the majority, but a lot of people don’t trust Microsoft thanks to their past antics. The MS ecosystem is shaping up nicely but, surprisingly or not, it seems that more and more people are wanting open-source. With or without Nokia, that could easily mean MeeGo will suddenly be the dominant player in a few years. Now, MeeGo has always been about ‘one OS everywhere’ – TV, in-car, tablets, phones, and desktops. That means we’d have open source and an ecosystem others are just dreaming of.

    Or it could be that WP7 will dazzle in the next 12 months, which it could do with Nokia’s clout behind it.

    Honestly, i don’t know. I’m not convinced it will be between MS or Apple though, because if the surge to open source continues we could easily see some new big players taking the tech world by storm. And it happened before – imagine in 2006 saying Apple, with no history in phones, would make a gamechanging device, or Google, a search engine company, would get Android. It’s a fickle industry and we’re definitely in a transition era right now. It’s anyone’s for the taking.

    Also, the privacy issue – both Apple and Google make you agree to giving up your data. Neither Nokia nor WP7 nor MeeGo do that, and that could also become a very big reason for people to not choose an OS. Adverts too – most people HATE adverts, Apple is the worst for it i think, but Maemo has none at all, and if MeeGo doesn’t and gets some good devices released, imagine the turnaround…

  • Your comments are really really good. I hope Microsoft dominates the tech industry. I love their products because of their great quality ecosystem 😉

  •  yep a lot of people would love to have a phone that works well with their computer and game console – me included.

    I don’t really want to see one OS dominating the landscape though, if for no other reason then companies get lazy and complacent and we see less innovation. For me personally, as a Nokia advocate of their exceptional hardware and ability to make a great OS that’s stable, not fragmented and run extremely efficiently, i would like to see them make WP7 devices withall the missing features Symbian has, and also the MeeGo devices. That for me would be tech heaven.

    But again with the transition period, WP7 will be agood ecosystem with XBox, Skype and computers, but MeeGo is deeveloping to work with your television and car too. One OS will always do something another can’t, so i don’t think any single one will be lightyears ahead anymore.

  • Nokia is doing some great stuff now. So is Microsoft. Great news for everybody 🙂 Thanks for the comments bro. They were extremely good 🙂

  •  Thanks 🙂

  • Anonymous

    There are many privacy issues that cloud computing will face. Look at the
    recent sony psn breach as an exaple of a company with poor service
    infrastructure but more importantly bad customer service. Which is something
    Google has.

  • Yeah, there are more disadvantages to this than benefits. Google is disappointing me a lot now. Not liking almost any of it’s products. :/ 

  • first of all i would like to point out the fact that chromium OS has OFFLINE DOCS, Gmail and Calender support 🙂 so ur point, and i quote:

    “Imagine you spent all night preparing your assignment on the web & you forget to save a copy of it on your local drive. You wake up the next morning getting ready to hand in your assignment that afternoon, you boot up your chrome book in the 8 advertised seconds and ready to print it out only to find out that your internet connection has died due to a fault in your local area or you simply moved out of Wi-Fi or 3G coverage. What happens then?”

    This totally becomes irrelevant 🙂

    Also i would like to agree on the fact that i will not prefer using Chromium OS myself but hey? is google selling it to me?? google clearly has no intentions of mass marketing this product… for people who want multimedia and stuff, google already has an OS for that – ANDROID. Chromium is targeted to a Niche audience, majorly consisting of students and enterprises(look at their schemes to sell it). also look at it this way, google in its 3 years subsidized plan will take all responsibility of providing you with updates to the Software as well as the HARDWARE of the device.. i.e. to say if the next iteration oh chromium requires different hardware, google will provide it at no extra cost, also for big enterprises who have to spend a lot of their budget on their IT departments, this policy of google nullifies that spending as your chromebook comes with all the gurantees so that is aving money in a way.. 

    Privacy on the cloud is an issue, but you have private servers that you can connect to, like i said, for businesses that rely on computing, they already have their stuff on a server from where they operate it, so adapting to chromium OS is not an issue for them.

    Hell, its not even targeted to us Indians where i dread for the day il see unlimited data plans in 3G 🙁 

    Although to put an end to it, i wish chromium OS provides better support for HTML 5 and developers make good use of it in the future.. cos HTML 5 can kick the s**t out of any offline program and still run in your browser.. So that says a lot about google’s vision.. although it will take a lot of time to materialize.. for me to say the least its a step in the right direction cause i like the cloud and i would love to have an ecosystem that allows me to have my data in one place and stil be able to acces it anywhere.. but as things stand now, chromium OS is not for me.. 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 

  • Post includes many Pros and Cons I wanted to write here,good detailed review.
    TO ALL THE PEOPLE  CALLING IT A CRAP,
    Its A FUTURE CONCEPT.
    AND FOR THOSE PUTTING EMPHASIS ON ITS DRAWBACKS,ASK YOURSELF A QUESTION,
    DID NOT GOOGLE CONSIDER THESE DRAWBACKS?
    YES THEY DID BUT STILL MADE THIS OS BCOZ PROs ARE WAY SUPERIOR TO CONs.
    I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO USE IT SITTING IN JAPAN OR USA WHERE INTERNET IS IN MBPS NOT KBPS.

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  •  lmao!!here says ‘Sharing is sexy’ rofl http://booredatwork.com/2011/05/16/chrome-os-nothing-but-the-web/!!!!

  • Anonymous

    yes it is 🙂

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