Chrome in the Clouds

Google is Beta testing its new Operating System, Chrome and getting lots of press for it. To get the OS tested by as many different people, Google is giving away netbooks with the Chrome OS installed. They are giving away thousands of these things, which by all reports are pretty nice little machines.

The whole notebook has a high-quality soft touch feel (it reminds me of the G1 or the back of the EVO) which doesn’t attract fingerprints and wipes of nicely. The touchpad is huge and flush. The display is matte and pretty high-res for its size, its hinge is extremely sturdy, and the lack of branding anywhere on the notebook is absolutely beautiful. Physically, this is a high-end notebook.

Inside it’s a bit more modest a 1.6 Gig Atom Single Core processer. with a 16 Gig Flash drive. Google is giving away 60,ooo of these puppys, this not only gives them a great opportunity to test the OS, but it also gives them a lot of internet chatter and publicity.

The concept of the Chrome OS is that we can and should be doing everything on the net.  We can type a letter, build a spreadsheet and check our email, all on web.  For many people the Web is the internet.    Google of course is the master of the web,  The more we hit the web the more Google advertisements we are exposed to, and the more we use Google sites and applications the more the advertising can be focused to the individual.  By using the cloud don’t need large storage requirements, nor do we need to be concerned about expensive computers, and software licences, or even employees pirating applications, films and music.

Using online applications and storage can be great, and often is the best way to do many things, Posting to this blog is a cloud activity. I log into a site and all the tools are available to me to write, upload and link media, and moderate comments. The whole website is maintained from a web browser.   Google docs is good way to collaborate on a document and to distribute it,  and drop box is solution that allows us to move files around from different remote computers. Is this they way we wa want to do all of our computing?

While Dropbox might be a handy way to move a file from one machine to another. Sometimes sneakernet with a thumb drive is the easier and most secure way to accomplish the same thing.   Docs is pretty good, but when it comes to sophisticated documents or even printing a documents the cloud may not be up to the task. While working the cloud works for some basic tasks we use our computers for other tasks that just aren’t suitable for a web only machine.

No computer is all things to all people.  The Chrome web machines are intended to be a low cost option to compete with netbooks/notebooks and Ipad machines.  The Protype Chrome machine (the CR-48) comes with G3 and WiFi capabilities. Without access to the net the Chrome machines will just be a plastic brick.

Among the competition.

The Ipad and allows one to download apps, as well as to surf the net. Some of these apps are pretty specialized sophisticated some apps are available for a small fee. These machine are popular to play media. It doesn’t have a keyboard, and printing is not easily done.   The I-pad is one on of the most expencive of the ultra portable options.

The Mac air is a real computer with that comes in 2 sizes at under 3 lbs prices start at $1000 and rise fast. It is a real computer and runs programs and real applications. You can print documents from it.

The Ipad is slick hardware that doesn’t really know what it wants to be. While a lot more expencive than what we expect the Google Chrome computers to be.  It also is crippled when it comes to using peripherals and printing procedures are torturous at best.

The current crop of netbooks run about half the price of I-pad, and run real applications. They connect to a myriad of peripherals and one can print documents from them.  The Windows 7 OS though is slow bloat ware ands is subject to the all to common viri trojans and worms.  all the same these tend to be inexpencive and ad at less than 3 lbs they are extremely portable. By installing Ubuntu in parallel one has an eficient reasonably powered machine, that will run Chrome the Browser for the same experience, supports hard drives and thumb drives and yes it will print.  The problem is that OEMs  aren’t supplying many netbooks with a good Linux distro pre-installed.  So folks are legitimatly  intimidated by the roll your own aspect, that could potentially turn a computer into brick.  The machines cost around $300 while they are called netbooks they are still usefull even if there is no wifi or G3  available.

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