With the announcement of the Google ChromeBook, I think it's time to put out my top 5 reasons why getting a Chrome OS powered device is a bad idea. First of all if you have'nt seen my review of the Chrome OS itself, here is a link to check it out. For those of you who don't want to watch it, let me summarize it... Chrome OS is the Google Chrome browser, nothing else special about it. Applications are nothing more than web pages, and as we all know web apps have their own unique limitations. Now with that aside, let's dig into the list.
For the same reason Google is bashing microsoft on software updates, the same thing can be said about Google's fully automatic updating. With the Chrome browser it by default automatically updates anytime an update is released. This is both good and bad, but in my opinion more bad than good. Yes, having the latest updates for your browser is a great thing and you should do them. However what if you use a website that is'nt ready for the latest version, what if the new version of the browser has issues? Now start applying this logic to an entire operating system, and it's applications. What if your apps don't work correctly with the new version of the Chrome OS that is automatically put on your device? What if the developer for that app no longer updates it, or is even in business anymore. Just hope that your fully automated updates don't break anything, and you better hope they can be rolled back to a previous version.
The key point of the Chrome OS is that you can store content on the cloud and access it everywhere. It's a great idea in theory, but look at the issues you have all the time with network connectivity, and then the issues with customer data being disclosed and compromised. This becomes and issue of trust and just how much information you want to put on the web. However with the Chrome OS very few tools are provided to work with files local to the system. It expects that everything you do, and use will be on the web. Again, this is good, until you have no internet connection, your data gets compromised, hacked, or worse. Companies that store data online can be required to give that data over to police and other authorities when required by law, often without informing you. This effects you even if you live in another country besides the USA as the laws of the country where the data is stored apply and not those of where you live. Even worse imagine if your account gets shutdown or closed because Google or whoever you are storing your data with see's that you violate their terms, or your account is incorrectly flagged. Often that process instantly deletes your data with no way for it to be restored, and you can't log in to access it. How often do you read or hear of stories that data is lost or corrupted online due to a "data center issue"? Guess what all this means... you still need to keep local copies of your files in any case. Making the cloud a good way to distribute files and collaborate, but keep them files at hand because it's all up in the air.
The big push for Chrome OS is that everything is online, and that all applications are instantly updated. This works because every application is a web page or "web application". Meaning there is no framework in place to create higher end applications, or support for graphic editors, gaming (not counting flash games), or other conventinal more involved applications. You are limited right out of the box as far as what you can put on the system and what it can do. Does this mean that there is no place for a web only device? Certaintly not, I can see devices that do nothing but web browsing being useful. However should they be compared to Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X? Definately not, it's another class of computers, and I think that the marketing needs to be cleared up here more than anything. Web Apps are not applications, they are just web pages, and at best copied to your system for caching, but in the end they will need internet access and will likely have limited functionality offline. I imagine all offline use to being something along the lines of composing emails to be sent, most games, and news readers. The point I am trying to make here is, don't consider this a replacement for your desktop or laptop. This fits in the line of devices like iPods, and tablet devices.
This is simple, Chrome OS is the Google Chrome browser. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it the browser is your OS and everything being marketed about it revolves around the features of the browser itself. Meaning you will never be able to install another browser no matter how much you want to. What surprises me on this is that Microsoft takes heat for providing internet explorer with Windows, but Apple and Google get to provide their own built browsers in their products with no question. Microsoft has had to jump through hoops time and time again to appease international groups so it can sell it's products. In some countries it is not allowed to bundle Internet explorer at all, in some cases they have even been asked to remove their media player. I believe the same rules should apply to all the players and this is not only unfair to the competition, but it also hurts customers. If I want to run Chrome OS with firefox, internet explorer, opera, or whatever I should be able to (Providing the developers supported it). This just seems like a push for more google products that builds an unfair monoply against any competition.
I don't know about everyone else, but I am always seeming to have some kinda issue with Chrome. One version is faster than the other, one gets slower, the next adds a new bug, the next one fixes a few bugs. It seems like a constant never ending stream of fixes that are pushed out. Given the fully automatic update makes it hard to tell when these are taking effect, but you usually notice because one day a website might not look the same, might not work at all, plugins stop working, or some other oddity occuring. Just because you drop the beta tag, does'nt mean your product does'nt feel like it is still in beta Google. This item does tie in with number one on the list, and pretty much revolves around it.... so...
Yeah, that's right look at all the other products out there that can do this same thing right now. Look at the iPad, look at the numerous Android tablets, even look at the netbooks. In fact why is Google making an entire OS, when it has Android that can do this perfectly fine? All they have to do is load up Android into a device shaped like a netbook and that's it. It does the same thing, it browses the web, it has a huge amount of applications. Why get another device that does almost the exact same thing? The devices are expected to run around $400 when they come out, even more for a 3G connected model. Folks, you can buy an entire laptop for that much, why get something that is going to limit you? Hell if you want to make your existing laptop faster drop in a solid state drive for $150 and get that 8 second boot up time they are braging about so much. My desktop boots up Windows 7 in around 10 seconds, a full blown operating system! It's not a speed demon by any stretch of the word either, and it's getting times that fast? It seems like the Chrome book has kind of a slow startup in my opinion.
So there you go, 5 reasons not to get a Chrome Book, and why it's basically a waste of your money. You can get almost any other device and it will do the same thing, however for $400 and being able to only browse the web it is over priced in my opinion. If anyone wants to send me one to review I'll be glad to use it and be proven wrong. However I have no interest in purchasing one at this time or likely ever.
Last Updated: 05/15/2011 02:29 AM