Google has announced the Chromebook which is scheduled to become available on Amazon from 15’th June 2011. It is actually a netbook where you will access the computer screen with your Google account and then use the Chromebook to browse Internet. None of your data will be saved locally but that will directly go to the Google Cloud. Yes, you don’t need a hard disk in Chromebook.
As mentioned on the Amazon’s sale page, Google Chromebooks are coming in 6 variants. Acer Cromia Chromebook (only Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi+3G), Samsung Series 5 (only Wi-Fi (black and white) and Wi-Fi+3G (black and white)). Cheapest Chromebook out of these 6 variants is Acer Cromia only Wi-Fi Chromebook priced at $379.99 at Amazon.
Now the point is whether even the cheapest Chromebook is value for money or a real competition for normal notebooks. Here by normal notebooks, I mean the notebooks which we use right now where we store data locally installed hard disks, use external printers by installing that through drivers, install third-party software for different purposes etc.
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Are you planning to invest $379 on Chromebook? Even after getting an option to get rid of hard disks, I am not really excited to purchase it in near future. Here are few points which you should consider before making final decision. If you are a well-connected/up-to-date and an advance user with some knowledge of computers then you might don’t need a Chromebook.
No third-party Software installation – Chromebook is everything Google. You are not allowed to install third-party software like Adobe software, Games, Online Chatting software etc. Either you use the browser or web apps provided inside the browser. I can tell you that using Tweetdeck (Social Media sharing tool) which is locally installed on your computer is much better than the Tweetdeck web app.
Data Sharing with Google – By using Google Chrome and Google Toolbar, we are already sharing so much information with Google. Based on that they serve the ads on search page or other sites. i don’t want to share what I am doing. Once I will start using Google Chrome, everything will be stored on Google Cloud and of course the browsing data will be shared with them. I don’t want that.
Everything Google Dependent – Login, Browsing, Data Storage, Email, Documentation, Online Media/Music/Video everything is Google dependent on Chromebook. What if Google is down for sometime (not impossible right!), even I can’t login to my Chromebook.
No use of existing gadgets like External Disks – I am having computers since years. I have lot many gadgets like external disks, scanner, USB stick net connectors etc. These gadgets are having drivers and I don’t think Chromebook will be able to install those drivers. That means, these gadgets are of no use on Chromebook.
Smartphone Sync Issue – Google sync will be there on Chromebook but what if I want to sync the contacts or want to install new themes by connecting the device with notebook. Smartphones like BlackBerry or iPhone are having their own PC suites and those suites will not get installed on Chromebook.
Better Deals available in Less Price – Chromebook is coming at a price tag of $379 for only Wi-Fi and $429 for 3G+Wi-Fi version. These devices are having 2GB RAM and Atom processor. You will find much better deals starting at $200 with such configuration. Browse Amazon for such deals and get better configuration in less price.
No Security Issue with Windows / Apple – If you keep your antivirus and Internet Security software up-to-date, then there is no need to worry about security of the device and data. With Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows became very much secured. Apple’s Mac is already having proper security features.
No Much To Do Without Internet – On normal notebook, if you don’t have Internet connection, you can still do a lot. You can work on your pending documents using OpenOffice or Microsoft Office applications. You can install and play games. Yo can listen to the locally stored music or watch stored videos. But in case of Chromebook, you won’t get this much option in offline mode.
Any Notebook Is Chromebook – Google is going to release the Chromium OS as open source OS. That means, you can download and install the OS on any notebook and get a feel of Chromebook. That means you can convert any notebook into Chromebook.
Cloud Competition, Choose Better – If you really want to host your important data on cloud servers then you may try Amazon S3 to host pictures, videos and documents. It is very much reliable yet cheap option to host websites on remote locations.
Is Google Chromebook Not for Anyone?
I am not saying that Google Chromebook is useless. In fact Chromebook is a revolutionary product for those who doesn’t update their operating system and even doesn’t care much about system security. And because of such negligence, they either lose their data, installation or features. As Chromebook will get updates automatically on regular basis and you don’t need to worry about the system and data security as your data is hosted on Google’s cloud. You are not going to lose any of your data. But these things can be taken care of by individuals as locally hosted computers as well. One should update the operating system after new releases and always have trusted anti-virus and internet security software and keep them up-to-date.
I take proper care of my computer and always keep my OS and System Security up-to-date. Even I keep backup of my important files and date on external disks which are available for very price. That’s why I am not excited about the Chromebook but I will definitely install the Chromium OS on one of my laptop or on virtual machine to take a look on the options available.
Update – Isys Technologies sued Google over Chromebook trademark. Schedule Launch of Chromebook may delay.