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Chrome OS: Return of the Dumb Terminal

by: Karl Johnson | Dec 07, 2010
Categories: News, Products

   Today, Google announced Chrome OS for the third time. Chrome OS essentially turns your browser into an operating system. Everything you do, you do it online including accessing your files. It basically turns your shiny new computer into a dumb terminal for the web. All of your files are on the internet or what many refer to as the cloud. I could see certain business applications that could take advantage of this browser based operating system. For most users though, this does not seem like a realistic operating system. The browser is one of the main applications we use on a daily basis. But to remove the rest of the applications makes for a very limited computing environment.

   Most people who live in the real world go in and out of internet coverage. Why limit your computing time to just those times you have coverage. In large businesses, that is not a big deal because they have plenty of bandwidth to the internet. But this is a major disadvantage to the browser only computer system for everyday users. When you go out of internet coverage, like on an airplane, you lose access to those files. Unlike big businesses, most users still don't have fast internet access to their homes. Even those who have fast internet speeds, their desktop application are still much faster. Total cloud computing is not realistic in the real world.

   Why limit ourself to just cloud computing anyways? Ten years ago the idea of network computers were introduced. These were stripped down machines with big pipes to the internet. They were invented because computers were expensive and hard to maintain. That was ten years ago, technology has changed. Even the cheapest computer today has enough computing power to do most of the tasks required of them. Storage also has dramatically changed. We have more than enough storage space on our local computers. Why strip these computers down to nothing to save a few dollars? The few dollars saved on these network computers will be wasted when the computer slows down due to slow or no internet connection. There is a better way.

   Instead of creating dumb terminals like these network computers, why not harness today's technology. We can create computers that use both local and the cloud computing power. Storing the data on both the cloud and on your local computing device, allows access to those files in both places. Syncing to the cloud uses the power of your local computer and the backup nature of the cloud. Software developers can create fast applications that run locally, but can access data on both your own machine and the cloud. This gives you the best of both worlds. Your data is backed up in the cloud, which gives you a more robust backup system. Syncing to the cloud takes advantage of the strengths of today's technology instead of using yesterday's computer thinking.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Randinator ~ December 09, 2010 08:58

    Google - Throwing more stuff at the wall and seeing if something sticks. #
  2. Tom ~ December 09, 2010 10:05

    You left out one of the most important points. With everything on Google's servers they can mine ALL your information easily. Every keystroke, every image, every documented thought . . . And in the future, who knows what else. T #
  3. Louis Wheeler ~ December 09, 2010 16:52

    I don’t buy the “Cloud Argument.” The hardware is getting so cheap. I don’t believe that it would be cheaper to be in the Cloud. At least, not enough to make up for the problems. We are looking forward to the decade of the System-on-a-chip. The New MacBook Air proves that. Manufacturers will be able to fold the CPU, the GPU and the SDD’s into one package. And like Apple’s A4 chip, all I/O chips will be folded in too. This chip will be so cheap that it will wind up in everything. Each individual component will get its own computer. Apple will be selling routers, servers, mass storage and other devices which together will make up the computer. Why risk your internet access going down. Why risk that the government will censor your files in the cloud? If we still have our computers, we can get around any roadblocks. #

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