Many of us are waiting for June 15th. Google is ready to revolutionize the personal computing world by introducing its very own Chromebook running on Google’s Chrome Operating System on 15th June. The Chromebook would provide an interface between a pure cloud client and a traditional laptop. Google had presented a prototype called the Cr-48 for testing purposes, and reactions have been mixed. Let's take a look on the pros and cons of the Chrome OS.
- Requires Less Resources - Unlike the computers with Windows installed, Chromebook would be demanding less on system resource. Speed is going to be very important feature of the Chromebook. For example the booting time from a cold start to the browser is less than 10 sec. That means users can get to their favorite websites quicker. The Chromebooks are designed to be light and work smoothly.
- Web Apps - Every Chromebook can run thousands of web apps, from games to spreadsheets to photo editors - probably everything that you need is out there. Because HTML 5, many apps do not even need constant internet connectivity. The beauty of web apps in Chromebook is that you can get all your apps regardless of whether you are using your old Chromebook or using a new one.
- Security - All data on a Chromebook is encrypted by default, so you don't need to worry about the security aspect. Chromebooks are designed to defend against the threats of malware and viruses. All the apps, document, settings are stored safely in the clouds. Multiple layer of protection including sandboxing, data encryption and verified booting are present as security measure. The verified boot is particularly interesting - it does a system recovery if it detects unexpected changes in the non-volatile memory or filesystem changes related the the boot files.
- Self Update - Chromebooks are built and optimized for the web. Whenever it is turned on, it automatically updates itself. Users are never prompted for updates. The updates will happen on their own in the background. The automatic updates make sure that the Chromebooks are always fresh.
- Complexity - Many small and general tasks can be troublesome. For example, printing any document, though will use Google Cloud Print, is far complex compared to printing through a computer by a printer.
- Connectivity - Although, HTML5 can provide offline apps, many apps for Chrome OS still require an internet connection. This can be troublesome in areas where constant internet connections are not available.
- Privacy - Cloud Computing itself suffers from privacy issues. Since the data in not in your computer, users have to sacrifice a great deal of privacy.
- Price - The Chromebooks are price between $400-$500. This seems quite unreasonable. Some existing netbooks with Windows 7, similar hardware and similar battery-life of 8.5 hours are available for less price than this. Price is a serious issue here. If it were, less that $300, it might be ok but $400-500 seems too costly.
Every thing has got pros and cons. Chromebook has lot of interesting features - implemented really well. It offers an interesting cloud-based alternative to traditional operating systems. We cannot deny the fact that the new Chrome OS is going to be an important milestone for Google and they have put in a lot of work into its development. Let us see how well it does.