It’s no secret that I’m in love with Google. I’ve been using Google since it was initially just a search engine, back when dial-up modems ruled and speedy search engine results were the only thing that mattered. Google revolutionized that and I’ll never forget the first search I did (okay, I lie, because I forget what it was for, probably a video game walkthrough), but I do remember that the only other option was an image-heavy Yahoo! search page that took FOREVER to load.
Fast forward to 2011 and Google has dipped their toes in a variety of technologies that go well beyond search engines.
And not only do I use the Chrome browser and Google’s Gmail service, as well as own an Android OS phone, but I also managed to get in on the beta test of the Chrome OS last year and was sent my very own free Cr-48 beta test notebook.
To be honest, at first, I wasn’t sure what to do with the Cr-48 test notebook that Google had sent me. It immediately struck me as a glorified netbook, but as the OS began to receive updates, I realized it’s quite a bit more than that. After exploring the OS more and more, I realized that it can also play media (as well as operate with Adobe Flash, which means Hulu works effortlessly). And it has a USB port, which I’ve used to upload photos and play media, as well as load documents, etc.
Because of the Cr-48, I began to learn a bit more about cloud computing (which is something the OS is based around) and dipped my toes in the waters of Google Documents (which I had used previously, but not to the extent I do now) and other cloud-based services. I even discovered a few very good web-based alternatives to Photoshop for work on the go (although sadly, there still doesn’t seem to be a really good HTML editing tool that works in the cloud).
But the more I used the Cr-48, the more I liked it and felt it could prove to be useful.
My previous laptop died a horrible graphic-cards overheated and fried death a few years ago. It was a powerhouse of a machine, but because of the short lifespan of laptops, in general, never again. I don’t need to work mobile, all that much, to begin with. Not to mention, that thing was HUGE (17″ monitor) and kind of a pain to carry around. I’d rather just use my smartphone than something that hurts my back after toting it around all day.
However, the Cr-48 is such a small and lightweight machine that once I traveled with it, I realized that I did enjoy having it around. And even with regular use, the battery will last for about 5 days (although I’ve gone longer than a week between charging it, at times)! 5 DAYS!!! Top that all off with having a machine that is loaded and ready to use in about 10 seconds, and I’m sold. My smartphone doesn’t even boot up that fast!
Now I’m going to make a hefty claim, because I think there is merit to it: There is a very good possibility that the Chrome OS notebook idea could be an iPad killer.
The latest news is stating that Google may charge a small subscription fee for Chrome OS machines, so that for $10-$20 a month, you could not only have a cloud computing machine that is a bit more beefed up than your typical iPad, but you also get 3G access to the internet AND have all of your data on all of your machines simultaneously.
I already can move effortlessly from my Windows-based PC to my Cr-48 thanks to Google’s cloud services. All of my bookmarks are in sync, as well as email and other apps that I use (Remember The Milk, Evernote, Google Docs, etc.).
And considering that the iPad’s data plans alone are much more expensive than what rumors say Google will charge, you get more bang for your buck with a Chrome OS machine.
So not only do you get a machine (that will actually run Flash and has a USB drive, etc.), you get a data plan. And once the machine dies or goes bad, you don’t lose any of your apps or data. It’s all in the cloud, so you can seamlessly switch from machine to machine.
Apple, at this time, can’t compete with that.
So Google just may be onto something here.
But then again, I’m a Google fangirl.
I do believe that the “i” products will still be bought by people due to their marketing and the status that comes with owning such things. Apple does marketing very well, after all. However, I think, in time (and considering the economy), people are going to be more frugal and practical with their technology purchases. They’re going to have to be because, let’s face it, most of us aren’t made of money and money is getting tighter and tighter. In the end we’re going to want something that is reliable and keeps our data somewhere easily accessible, regardless of how we access it.
I also believe that Apple is losing ground on their claims of being the best that technology has to offer. Apple’s ideas are hardly original, to begin with, though, considering both Apple and Windows operating systems’ original ideas were stolen from IBM. Google, however, has been building upon those ideas to make much better products and services. Android has already surpassed the iPhone in sales, so who’s to say Chrome OS won’t be a game-changer, as well?