Chrome OS: Why so much confusion?
Earlier this morning I was reading this article from the author (Garett Rogers) and it just seemed to me that the author is a bit confused about Chrome OS and its purpose alongside the audience it caters to. The same could be said with some of the people responding to his post. Note I am not attacking anyone here, just merely writing my view on what Chrome OS intends to deliver.
Extract from article:
“Google’s idea of an operating system that consists of only a web browser sounds interesting, and unfortunately, very restrictive. There are a staggering number of applications out there that people use on Windows/Mac/Linux machines — any of which would give enough reason to avoid switching operating systems.“
He goes on to explain a feature Google is designing into the Chrome OS that functions similar to a remote desktop.
It just seems that through all this hype of Google’s much anticipated release of its Chrome OS, many look to it as Google’s replacement to all competing Operating System when the reality shows that this will not be the case.
First of all, let us look at the audience this new OS is catering to: someone who pretty much uses the web for everything (i.e. entertainment, productivity, communications, etc.). Someone like my wife would fall under this category. For the past 2-3 years I have had my wife using a Linux-based operating system. She is no different than your traditional PC user. Except for a few rare cases in which she would need to rely on a local application, everything else she does is accomplished on the web: Facebook, e-mails, e-Bay, Amazon, streaming music/videos, chatting, online banking, etc. If she needed to word processor or spreadsheet, I am sure I can help her configure a Google Docs account but for now, she uses OpenOffice.org. I can see someone like my wife utilize the Chrome OS with no issues. It will do everything that she needs to do.
As for me on the other hand, it is a bit too limited and restrictive. I also feel the same way about Microsoft Windows, but that is another story. The point I am trying to make is that there are many people like my wife out there who would be just fine with a setup like the Chrome OS. It will not be for everyone.
Second, let us look at packaging. Do we know how this new OS will be packaged onto the netbook, tablet, or other mobile device? Again, the OS will be installed on mobile devices. That means, it is not intended for intense workload. If you are a casual user then this would not be a problem.
Also relating to packaging, I remember reading in early reports about the Chrome OS that it will be delivered as a dual-booted system alongside another full-blown operating system (insert Microsoft Windows, Ubuntu Linux, etc.). Chrome OS is an instant on with quick access to the internet solution. Within seconds you are up and running and should have access to your local drive(s). If that is the case, then the concern for using special purpose applications means nothing here; as you could reboot into the other operating system and do what you need to do.
Third, let us look at its limitations. We know that it will look to the web for web-based services and solutions to work with and utilize. At least to my knowledge and at this point it will not allow the user to install any applications. Files on the other hand (i.e. images, music, etc.) are a different story. These limitations and restrictions is what will increase the security of the OS. Without the ability to install potentially malware infected programs, the threats of the Internet are much less. But this goes back to my discussion of the intended audience. People like my wife will not need to install anything. Everything will already be available to them.
What Chrome OS is not:
- It was never intended to be a replacement for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, or any of the Linux/UNIX -based distributions.
- It is not going to cater to everybody’s style in computing.
- It will not necessarily bring everything that you are looking for in an OS (see previous statement).
Chrome OS is a solution, but a solution that will not be intended for everyone. It may succeed. It may fail. Who knows? This is why we have choices. If this operating system does not meet your requirements, then you will find something else. I just don’t understand why we keep on comparing this solution to others that are drastically different.