Chromebooks. The one word that made me curious a couple of years ago. Finally, a Linux system by Google that has the latest security features and search optimization techniques on a desktop! Not only that, but the amount of software overhead would be minimal, and you would install only what you need! What a novel concept!
But no, it’s not that at all. The entire operating system simply consists of a browser, and that’s pretty much it. Everything is in “the cloud,” they say. You can boot up and immediately connect to the internet. To that I say “bah.”
First of all, what is the cloud? The cloud simply is the Internet. In my old computer and data communications university classes they diagrammed the world wide web as this cloud for illustration purposes. That what it is in essence.
Now, the concept of leveraging work on “the cloud” is to work on internet applications rather than desktop ones, such as Google docs and Picasa etc. in order to access your information everywhere. This is convenient when you have that report saved on your machine and forgot to email it or save it to your flash drive for printing. However, there are drawbacks.
One is the most obvious: security. What do you think makes Google Google and Facebook Facebook? Believe me, it’s not their pretty faces. It’s the fact that they have TONS of data stored from billions of users worldwide. They can then use this information for themselves, or divulge it to the government should they be asked to. Facebook recently had to do this, for example. Also, it disturbs me when your Facebook account is hacked, you change your password, and then, when out of habit you enter your old password, Facebook tells you the date and time you changed your password and asks you if you did so. Why should they not only have this information, but flaunt it? I firmly believe that no one should be in charge of ones data and pictures other than you.
Another drawback is, what happens when you enter a non-wireless network? I know, I know. In today’s day in age this is almost impossible, but it exists. On one hand, Chromebooks allow you to download whatever work you have online locally, but what if you forget to download that one paper on your machine and need to print it out within the next 5 minutes before a big presentation? At that point you’re pretty much screwed.
Finally, the pricing. Why should I need to pay the rough equivalent amount for a Google Chromebook as a netbook with a desktop when, not only doesn’t it have a real Operating System, but it uses a browser that’s free to download on Windows, Macs, and Linux machines? What’s up with that?