Thoughts on Google Chrome OS

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Date: 2011-07-15 10:25:45 00:00

Introduction

Unless you have been living under a rock this last two years, you surely know what Google Chrome OS is. Just in case you don’t:

Google Chrome OS is a Linux-based operating system designed by Google to work exclusively with web applications. Google announced the operating system on July 7, 2009, and made it an open source project, called Chromium OS, that November.

So what we have here is yet another operating system, but this one is different from the others, as it is designed to work only when connected to the cloud, besides a media player and a browser (Google Chrome) you have no other local applications available.

It has been designed by Google to be run mostly in netbooks.

The idea behind the model

This model is a resemblance of the Unix era, where there was one big server in the network and multiple dump terminals running applications from the server. In that scenario all the hard computing work was done in the server and the terminal were cheap.

Another advantage of this is that the user could not break the applications, and they were maintained by experts and were support to be always running and available, you just can’t damage Gmail, but you can miss-configure Thunderbird or Outlook right?

But, there is a big difference between the old Unix’s days and these cloud days, in that time the applications did not require a lot of bandwidth and the available bandwidth was more than enough for the needs.

Today’s applications do need a lot of bandwidth, and that bandwidth is not always available, maybe when you are on your home WIFI, (if the bandwidth hog is not saturating it). But what if you are using 3G or 4G? It looks like even with 4G upload bandwidth available is minimum

Other markets outside U.S.

And that is in US and Europe, but what opportunity Chrome powered netbooks have outside the “first world”? In Latin America even though you have 3G available in most of the countries, there are zones where the connection speed to the network is not the minimum needed to work in the cloud all time.

Also, usually the plans are not cheap, and if you surpass your contract limit the extra bandwidth will cost even more.

Fast boot times

Google says and has also demonstrated that the boot times are awesome, 7 to 12 seconds and you are up and running, but you can get almost the same times with a Linux, Mac or Windows 7 netbook in sleep mode.

The Macbook Air takes almost 3 seconds to be ready to work as soon as you open the lid, and almost instantly connected to the network.

Second computer at home

In my opinion a Chrome powered netbook just can’t be the primary computer at home, it has to be the second or third one, maybe it’s only me, but if I have to pay for a Samsung series 5 430 to 500 $us, I prefer to add that money to the budget for my prime computer and get a Linux powered Lenovo X220 or a Macbook Air, or even make an effort and get an iPad as my second “computer” at least in the iPad I can run applications while off-line.

Conclusion

So now, one month later of the first Chromebook delivered, I still do not see too much uses for it, so, unless those Chrome OS powered computers gets a price of 150 $us with 3G I would not buy one.