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The Fixes That Google Chrome OS Still Needs To Make

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the ok-but-where's-the-windows-menu dept.

Chrome 128

CowboyRobot writes "Thomas Claburn at Information Week opines that Google's Chrome OS is actually morphing into the Windows-style os that it intended to make obsolete. There's still room to grow, and here are his suggestions for how to make it better: Get better hardware, Include a Web-based IDE, Support local storage, Allow offline apps. 'When Chrome OS was launched in 2010, Google SVP of Chrome and apps Sundar Pichai declared, "Chrome OS is nothing but the Web." Now, if you peer behind the browser pane, it's clear that Chrome OS is looking beyond the Web. It's not a complete repudiation of Google's bet on the appeal of a thin-client system that keeps user data in the cloud. But it is a concession to the realities of a market that's more comfortable with the familiar desktop metaphor.'"

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Samba! (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656377)

How else can you reasonably get the many arbitrary documents into Google Docs if you cannot upload them yourself as needed?

http://code.google.com/p/chromium-os/issues/detail?id=2343 [google.com]

What'd you use to put the document on Samba? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656439)

You linked to a feature request for support for the Windows LAN file sharing protocol. Why can't you upload the documents to Google Docs from the machine sharing them or, if it's a headless server, from the machine on which you saved it to the server?

Re:What'd you use to put the document on Samba? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39656567)

Because it's suppposed to be a computer which one uses to do everything online.
I don't have the resources to upload every file a user wants to work with, or give them
a second computer just for this purpose.

-GP, from another device

Re:What'd you use to put the document on Samba? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657103)

Because it's suppposed to be a computer which one uses to do everything online.

SMB works over a LAN. It's not intended to work "online" (that is, over the Internet) except over a VPN.

I don't have the resources to upload every file a user wants to work with

But the user who created the file and put it on the Samba server probably does. Or are we talking about a situation where one set of desktop PC users has access to the Samba server and not the Internet and another set of users has access to the Internet but only through Chrome OS?

Now before anyone accuses me of being a shill, I'm just trying to help triage this feature request to see whether or not there's a viable workaround. If there is, I can remind people of it; if not, I can use it in a stock recommendation against Chrome OS.

Re:What'd you use to put the document on Samba? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39658631)

Fuck that. 'Scuse the "French".

Google Docs cannot import Word files larger than 1MB!

Yeah, I see this as a viable business alternative. It's pretty pathetic.

Google is great at giving the promise of brilliance to incomplete solutions and those with missing use cases. They gloss this over with a mystique of iterative, agile, dynamic mumbo jumbo.

Look what they've done with Chrome. The horrible version inflation of the industry has been driven by their leading crackpottery. Now we have 2-year-old browsers with double-digit version numbers. "Consumer friendly" identification? Please.

I'll sooner eat my own foot, than get stuck with Google Docs.

Emacs beat them to dotless versions (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39659231)

Now we have 2-year-old browsers with double-digit version numbers

If you're complaining about version numbering schemes that lack a dot, Emacs beat them to it.

Re:Emacs beat them to dotless versions (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 2 years ago | (#39660305)

To be fair, emacs dropped their dot when they realised the '2' to the left of it would probably never change again.

Re:What'd you use to put the document on Samba? (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 2 years ago | (#39660017)

I actually use Google Apps for Education here at work - it supports docs greater than 1 megabyte...

On samba/cifs/smb - you can map out the g-drive to dfs or directly to a workstation - on a Chromebook I think its a valid feature request.

Re:What'd you use to put the document on Samba? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39661085)

Maybe natively.

Not Word import - at least not last June, when I went mad over this, for a non-profit I work with.

Re:What'd you use to put the document on Samba? (1)

ewok85 (1705550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39670183)

Its 2mb now!

And I don't think it is a valid feature request - you need a computer to put a file on a samba share - there is no reason you cannot upload it to docs instead. A file share is only useful while you have access, be it locally on the same network or via a VPN externally. Once its on GDocs it is available from anywhere.

Re:What'd you use to put the document on Samba? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39662553)

All things NSA/Google/Facebook are spyware. Avoid at all costs.

Re:What'd you use to put the document on Samba? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39664667)

Yes.

That's the other argument.

Unfortunately, all the Internet is now such a beast.

Chrome already supports most of that (5, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656393)

Local storage via several APIs (virtual filesystem, SQL database, simple localStorage) and offline apps (HTML5 offline, completely locally installed apps, and recently storing any file on the virtual filesystem was added) are already fully supported. Just because no one is making them doesn't make it Google's fault. There are a few Web based IDEs out there, assuming stuff like Cloud9 and jsFiddle. As for better hardware, Google seems to have already upped the hardware from their initial spec (Cr-48 is not getting Chrome 19, I can only assume it doesn't meet the requirements).

Data capacity of offline apps (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656463)

Local storage via several APIs (virtual filesystem, SQL database, simple localStorage) and offline apps (HTML5 offline, completely locally installed apps, and recently storing any file on the virtual filesystem was added) are already fully supported.

But how much space is allowed for offline apps and local storage? Can a 100 MB game be installed locally and played offline? Can a 1 GB video be downloaded to local storage and played offline?

Re:Data capacity of offline apps (1)

Altanar (56809) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657101)

My CR-48 has no problems storing and playing large videos. I play an offline version of Angry Birds that's installed onto the computer. Plays Bastion ( http://chrome.supergiantgames.com/ [supergiantgames.com] )easily, too, but there's no offline mode for that. As for total storage? The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook has a 16 GB solid state drive. The OS takes up about 300 MB. About total 1 GB total if you add in web cache. At the worst, you have 14 GB free.

Re:Data capacity of offline apps (1)

Altanar (56809) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657105)

Also worth noting: It has a memory card slot that you can use as extra storage. And it supports flash drives.

Re:Data capacity of offline apps (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657261)

My CR-48 has no problems storing and playing large videos.

Yeah, I was just confused by reports on Stack Overflow of the application cache and local storage under Apple's iOS being limited to 5 MB each, either per origin or per domain (I forget which), and thought this practice was widespread among non-PC Internet terminal platforms such as Android, webOS, and Chrome OS.

Re:Data capacity of offline apps (4, Interesting)

Danzigism (881294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39662577)

I love the CR-48. However I have mine running FreeBSD-9.0 with Fluxbox. All the hardware surprisingly works. When I had Chrome OS on there, it ran very well. People tend to forget that these things run Linux, so if you want actual programs physically installed to the hard drive, then put the sucker in developer mode and get crankin. However to give this functionality to your average Joe who knows nothing of computers, defeats the entire purpose of these devices. The only people complaining are the savvy users anyway.

Re:Chrome already supports most of that (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656539)

I'd like to try the OS, but it seems redundant. Why would I do so? The only reason Chrome OS would be attractive is if it had a wide range of applications that could be attractive. I think that's the point. (Which is, conversely, the reason why I don't make the complete switch to Linux in all of my boxes: apps)

Re:Chrome already supports most of that (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#39660335)

Wow, the cr-48 is already obsolete? It is only 1.5 years old.

So, is the message that companies shouldn't buy chromebooks unless they want to have an annual hardware replacement cycle? Considering my employer won't replace anything less than 4 years old, and doesn't replace stuff older than that unless it breaks, good luck with that strategy.

These aren't cell phones we're talking about...

Can't be true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39656431)

The phone fanboys keep telling us that the desktop is dead and we'll all be creating Powerpoint slideshows on a 3" phone screen in future.

PowerPoint yes, Word no (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656535)

You might want to consider improving your example. Slideshows are at the high end of complexity that can be feasibly created on an undocked phone or PDA. They have to be readable at a distance, and the amount of text that can fit on a slide is close to the amount that can comfortably fit on an index card or a pocket device's screen. So I don't see any practical problem preventing a port of PowerPoint for Windows Phone or any other slideshow application (or, equivalently, a note-taking application that uses an index card metaphor) for a phone OS.

Besides, the phone fanboys don't necessarily claim that we'll use the screen. Some are under the impression that we'll be plugging the phones into big monitors through HDMI, pairing Bluetooth keyboards, and turning the phone's surface into a trackpad. Something like Word or Pages might just work on a docked phone.

Re:PowerPoint yes, Word no (2)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657157)

At that point the phone is really just a headless desktop (until you dock it).

But I suspect if we were seriously considering that option, then we'd rapidly - and slowly and stupidly - rediscover most of the classic desktop metaphors we enjoy today. They're widespread for a reason.

Ubuntu for Android (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657221)

At that point the phone is really just a headless desktop

And this is exactly the phone fanboys' point, as I understand it: if a phone or tablet does everything, including act as a headless desktop, why buy a separate desktop PC?

But I suspect if we were seriously considering that option, then we'd rapidly - and slowly and stupidly - rediscover most of the classic desktop metaphors we enjoy today.

Which is why Canonical is trying to get Android phone makers to install chrooted Ubuntu [slashdot.org] for use when a device is docked.

Re:Ubuntu for Android (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39658329)

A separate desktop PC can be leagues more powerful than a cellular phone because it's not hobbled by the same frugal power or space constraints. But at least as importantly, a more conventional PC isn't tied to a carrier, with all the baggage - privacy, monthly billing for service, &c. - that entails.

The turbo button (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39658961)

A separate desktop PC can be leagues more powerful than a cellular phone

But the success of tablets and smartphones and the blurring of the line between netbooks and small laptops has shown that one doesn't need an Extreme Edition CPU to do homework, Facebook, YouTube, and light gaming.

because it's not hobbled by the same frugal power or space constraints.

Power constrained? Make it quad core, with two cores turned off while not connected to a charger. The backlight uses a huge chunk of the power anyway, and a docked PDA or phone can run with the screen turned off. This behavior could even be advertised as the return of the turbo button [wikipedia.org] . Space constrained? So are ultrabooks, and the solution is the same: dock to an external hard drive.

But at least as importantly, a more conventional PC isn't tied to a carrier

Nor is a tablet. Nor is a PDA such as Apple's iPod touch or Samsung's Galaxy Player. Tablets and PDAs use Wi-Fi, which most often connects to a wired last mile, and no wired ISP that I've heard of has run the sort of subsidy model common in the North American cellular market since the dial-up days of i-Opener, WebTV, and PeoplePC. Nor is an unlocked GSM phone, now that (as I've read) AT&T has given up some spectrum in a more commonly used band to T-Mobile USA as compensation for the failed merger.

Re:The turbo button (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39660001)

But the success of tablets and smartphones and the blurring of the line between netbooks and small laptops has shown that one doesn't need an Extreme Edition CPU to do homework, Facebook, YouTube, and light gaming.

Right, and tablets and phones will be fine for a majority of users going forward. I'm 100% OK with this - conventional workstations are likely to become more expensive, but there will also be fewer "dumb user" concessions made in their design. That doesn't mean tablets and smartphones will be well-suited to ArcGIS, PETRA, or video transcoding. I'm also not fond of the carrier/manufacturer-mandated, inherently boxed-in nature of the experience.

Power constrained? Make it quad core, with two cores turned off while not connected to a charger. The backlight uses a huge chunk of the power anyway, and a docked PDA or phone can run with the screen turned off. This behavior could even be advertised as the return of the turbo button [wikipedia.org]. Space constrained? So are ultrabooks, and the solution is the same: dock to an external hard drive.

Yes, but as admirable as per-watt performance is, ARM's absolute performance offered still hovers somewhere around the Pentium II level in best-case scenarios. Toss in some dedicated-purpose DSPs and that can be mitigated, at the cost of some general flexibility. The focus on miniaturization does result in a hobbling of speed, expandability, and general flexibility, and as some savvy others have pointed out, will probably result in the eventual, painful reinvention or reinterpretation of certain desktop metaphors when a portable device is effectively "docked."

Nor is a tablet. Nor is a PDA such as Apple's iPod touch or Samsung's Galaxy Player. Tablets and PDAs use Wi-Fi, which most often connects to a wired last mile, and no wired ISP that I've heard of has run the sort of subsidy model common in the North American cellular market since the dial-up days of i-Opener, WebTV, and PeoplePC. Nor is an unlocked GSM phone, now that (as I've read) AT&T has given up some spectrum in a more commonly used band to T-Mobile USA as compensation for the failed merger.

But it IS limited by what the manufacturer or designer intends for it to do. There will be a market going forward for an expandable, upgradeable PC, even if it shifts back to a more professional focus. My wife's iPad is a joy to use for lots of casual computing purposes, but for my kit I know where I plan to spend my money.

Re:The turbo button (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39660021)

Gah, the "Nor is a tablet..." through to the "...failed merger" part was meant to be italicized; I must have goofed on a formatting tag. Cheers.

Droid does what iDon't (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39660381)

conventional workstations are likely to become more expensive

So how will students and hobbyists who need a conventional PC for their study or their hobby obtain one affordably?

But it IS limited by what the manufacturer or designer intends for it to do.

Which is why I recommend a Galaxy Player over an iPod touch and a Transformer over an iPad, especially now that Android has AIDE [slashdot.org] . To make an analogy to video game consoles at the start of the fourth generation: Droid does what iDon't [youtube.com] .*

* The reference to "Blast Processing" at the beginning of the video is slightly inaccurate. Blast Processing is Sega's term for using the DMA controller to copy data to VRAM. The Super NES has the same feature but just doesn't call it that.

Re:Can't be true (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39659757)

The MOBILE fanboys, i stopped calling it a phone quite some time ago. Smartphones are more computer then phone now. Ive been using the term 'pocket computer', as that is what it really is.

No big surprises in the article. (4, Insightful)

DuckDodgers (541817) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656467)

I think his laundry list of recommended changes is obvious to anyone that's been paying attention.

1. Better hardware. No kidding - right now Chrome OS is aimed at schools and businesses, which if they need a locked down browser environment should be okay with what they have now. But if they want consumer adaptation, offer at least the option of better hardware. I'll buy a Chomebook when I can get Sandy Bridge or a Tegra 4 (yes, I meant 4) processor and a graphics chip that supports at least one external monitor and really good WebGL.

2. Web-based IDE. Again, I think this would spur power user adoption of Chrome OS, though I consider this the least essential of the features.

3. Support local storage. No kidding. It will be a while before HTML5 storage is available at all the websites people routinely use.

4. Offline apps. No kidding yet again. I don't want my device to be useless for my family every time our internet connection has a hiccup.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656513)

I don't like the "thin client" at all. "Thin clients" used to be called "terminals". We moved away from terminals to PCs for very good reasons, such as if the network or server goes down you can still get work done. You're not beholden to the server's rules.

Lots of IT people like thin clients because it means job security and control of users.

I'll stick with Linux and my own network. The internet and networks in general are for sharing data, nothing more.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (3, Insightful)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656559)

I'm all for Thin Clients if they make sense. F.e. if the workstations need to access a database on the server anyway to get work done, you make them Thin Clients in the first place. On the other hand, thin clients are abused on places where they do not belong...and vice versa. I've seen many abuses of workstations, too.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (4, Insightful)

Altanar (56809) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657167)

The internet and networks in general are for sharing data, nothing more.

Funny. Sharing data is 99% of my computer use. Without the Internet, I might as well not own a computer.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (1)

zarlino (985890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39659303)

But you need some time offline to *create* the things that you will later share.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39664487)

Well, these days it's a very large part of my computer use as well; I use my Linux PC mostly for radio stations (man I was glad when KSHE started streaming) and TV (Hulu and the networks' own sites, it's the only way for me to watch Big Bang Theory). But if the internet goes down I still have plenty of oggs, mp3, and movies and other shows on it. And I may not be able to surf slashdot when the internet's down, but at least I can compose a journal for when it comes back up.

Exactly the opposite of 1983 when I got on CompuServe. Very little there, most of my computing until this century (including BBSes and when I got on the net in the nineties) has been offline. Most of my data sharing until maybe 2003 or so was posting to my web sites and getting fragged playing Quake.

Almost everything I do at work is offline except for email.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (3, Insightful)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39658025)

I'd really like to know how many offices in the year 2012 can "still get work done" without a network connection.

And what's wrong with IT people liking it? Considering the monumental amount of work done putting out fires every day due to user error it affects the company bottom line eventually.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (1)

zarlino (985890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39659263)

Still, it is possible to develop applications that can work offline and sync with a remote server when network connection is available. Many new mobile apps do this. Office software should do it too.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (1)

jayteedee (211241) | more than 2 years ago | (#39663067)

Considering the huge number of classified defense projects that are on isolated PC's (or workstations), I'd say a whole lot gets done without a network connection in 2012.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (1)

jeti (105266) | more than 2 years ago | (#39658375)

The personal computer was introduced when network infrastructure was typically limited to single buildings. We can now have a fast connection pretty much anywhere, even with mobile devices. Because of that, thin clients / terminals may have become a viable option again.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (1)

jayteedee (211241) | more than 2 years ago | (#39663131)

The PC was introduced before the network. And when the networks started, it was a single floor or group and local access only. It was years before we had connections to other groups, and then even more years to other people in the same company at different locations. And then years more before a general connection to the outside world.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | more than 2 years ago | (#39663201)

One of the biggest expenses for corporate IT departments is management of user computers. Thin clients make that relatively easy and much cheaper and faster than giving workstations to everyone. Making your application a web application, when that's appropriate (i.e. not for something resource intensive like graphics or computer aided design) also makes corporate IT costs lower - instead of deploying an upgrade to hundreds or thousands of machines, you update server software. In terms of security a thin client runs fewer applications so it has fewer attack surfaces than a full feature workstation.

Thin clients don't make sense for home users, of course. But for businesses, under some circumstances they're a good choice.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (3, Insightful)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656677)

right now Chrome OS is aimed at schools and businesses

Judging from the ultra-lame marketing, it's not aimed at any particular market - it was just another Google "let's throw some more web sh*t at the wall and see if it sticks" experiment. And it's failed.

Schools won't buy them - they weigh almost 3x as much as an iPad, and battery life sucks. And they're more expensive than either the iPad2 or a full-blown laptop, so forget schools.

Businesses? Same deal and then some - add in that not every business wants to trust Google with their internal documents - financial forecasts, marketing plans, internal emails, client price lists, legal consultations, hiring and firing decisions, training manuals, product specs and proprietary formulas. Now throw in that in some fields it's not even legal to share information with any 3rd party because of the types of data involved. Heck, many businesses don't want employees on the web at all during business hours.

So no, take this stupid chromebook, throw a red shirt on it, and have Dr. McCoy come out and say it's dead, already.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (2)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39660393)

In many ways, Google seems to have fallen victim to the same pattern of innovative ideas leading to half-baked products that cursed Apple back in the '90s.

They're always throwing random new products out there, and you get the idea that they don't really believe in them from Day 1, and have little confidence in their ability to succeed. More often than not, the products are quietly dropped and early adopters are told essentially: "Thanks for giving it a shot!"

Google Wave was interesting, except that Google didn't know how to tell people what it was, how it would benefit them or how to use it. An 80 minute instructional video is as useful as no video. It betrayed a lack of understanding of the market.

GoogleTV was a kinda neat idea that appeared dead on arrival as an actual product.

Apple's biggest achievement has been shedding the complex of being the company that develops cool stuff that goes nowhere because it wasn't packaged and presented properly. It's the reason it still exists today, while other members of that category like Atari and Commodore are no longer with us in any real sense. Nobody gives a damn if you've created something awesome that exists on a workbench, or in some niche of a niche.

Fanboys will whine that "Company X developed that years ago!" I know this, because I was one of them. I fought for Amigas and later, Macs. But fanboyism is just an excuse for mismanagement on the part of the companies being defended.

Who first developed a feature doesn't really matter. What matters is who developed that feature into a product and got the market interested.

It's the difference between the gamers who want to be the "idea guys" and tell you about that totally cool, awesome, fun game they want to develop, and the ones who sit down and turn those ideas into a cohesive, functional and enjoyable experience.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (1)

shiftless (410350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39665695)

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. This is basically what I've been screaming for a while now. Google is over as a company. Might take em 5-10 years to realize it, but it's true....

Re:No big surprises in the article. (1)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39667309)

Google may soon be hitting the upper bounds of growth. It's not like there's unlimited demand for on-line (or any other) advertising. As more pages get viewed, the average cost per ad has to drop.

They've managed to do some price support by mailing $100 adword credit vouchers to anyone and everyone (I've thrown two of them out so far) - the idea being not so much to get new customers as to help generate more of a bidding competition in each market. After all, if you're spending "free money", you can bid higher - and whoever was bidding for the same term now has to fork over more real money.

However, that just means in the long run that there's less meat on the bone in terms of results per dollar spent, so while it gives a short-term bump, long-term, it encourages people to look at the competition.

And the competition, in this case, is Microsoft. They've pretty much killed! off! Yahoo! with! a! fake! bid! that they later withdrew ... so who's left?

I installed ghostery [ghostery.com] , and it's a bit of a shock to see up to two dozen ad trackers, ad servers, and analytics packages on a page load - this is out of control. One or two ads, I don't mind - but that sort of invasion of privacy, waste of bandwidth, and making everything load slower, I'm more than happy to block the peeping toms.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | more than 2 years ago | (#39668013)

I disagree. The marketing is poor and the hardware is behind the times. I grant both, and both are damning.

But the problem with an iPad 2 or a laptop or a PC for a large group of users is three fold:
1. On laptops and tablets, users have lots of data on the device, which will be lost if the device is lost or stolen unless you have an intelligent automated backup procedure (and an intelligent automated backup procedure requires the same constant network connectivity as a Chrome OS device, so you gain nothing). And the restore process after a hardware failure takes some time - with a Chrome OS device, the restore process is instant. "Here's a new Chromebook, log in and get back to work."
2. On laptops and tablets, you have to worry about security patches and user installation of buggy or malicious software. With Chrome OS, the fewer features of the core operating system mean that it has a smaller attack surface, needs fewer updates, and has fewer opportunities for user problems.
3. On laptops and tablets, access to new company or school applications that are not web-based means you need some kind of distributed deployment system. Making your infrastructure web based means that updates to the applications are available to all users instantly. Now a totally web-based system still works with a laptop or iPad, but now you're paying for other features you don't need.
I'll throw in an advantage the Chrome OS notebook has over an iPad2 - for a large number of business and school applications, having a physical keyboard lets you work faster than having a touch screen. The iPad2 is superior for entertainment and for some forms of productivity, but not all.

Last but not least, there is nothing on Chrome OS tying you to the rest of the Google infrastructure. You can run the Salesforce.com CRM, you can change the search provider to Bing or DuckDuckGo, you can use ThinkFree or Zoho instead of Google Apps for your web-based office suite. You could even put Microsoft Office 365 on an intranet service if you needed to keep your documents internal.

I suspect that Google is unwilling to put the investment into Chrome OS it needs to succeed, and I would love to be proven wrong. But the product itself could work, the features are valuable.

Re:No big surprises in the article. (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39661293)

Local storage and offline apps breaks the "in the cloud" model that they've got for ChromeOS.

The big problem then is that they've already got a competing OS that does all of this and more, does it without needing "the cloud" (without utterly ubiquitous (as in absolutely everywhere...) access to "the cloud", the things become bricks or almost so...) - and it's in phones and tablets everywhere making much, much bigger inroads than ChromeOS will probably hope to anytime soon. The intro video on it paints a nifty pictrue...but if Google loses their servers and backups fail, you lose everything just as if you'd not backed it up on a PC, Mac, etc. computer. If you don't have connectivity, you pretty much have an expensive paperweight/doorstop.

It's an answer looking for a problem to fix that other, mostly better, answers have been made for. Tech-wise, it's nifty. Use-wise, it's an iffy proposition in the large at best because your data is with a third party which means you're exposed to leak risks like the credit card leaks over the last couple of years.

Bummer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39656475)

I have a Chromebook and love it just how it is. It has become the primary computer in the house because it turns on/off quickly and does exactly what we need 99% of the time (just the web). For me at least, anything more would be noise and would lower the appeal for the device. I hope that whatever UI changes they make here are optional.

Re:Bummer (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656525)

my ipad has taken over that task with the pluses being real local applications being installed and i can carry around 64GB of data on it as well

Re:Bummer (3, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656865)

my ipad has taken over that task with the pluses being real local applications being installed and i can carry around 64GB of data on it as well

How much did the GP spend on his Chromebook, which has a bigger screen, full keyboard and mouse vs your iPad? Also, Chromebooks can connect to external drives, including those NTFS partitions, making your 64GB seem rather pathetic. Yes, your iPad is a bit easier to carry around, but it costs twice as much. For the extra money I can get a nice bag to carry a Chromebook, real mouse and the external hard drive.

Sure, the iPad is really nice and has its advantages, but don't assume that it's more capable or a better value. Personally, I'd prefer to have two Chromebooks sitting around my house than a single iPad.

Re:Bummer (1)

Lordfly (590616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39659793)

>Sure, the iPad is really nice and has its advantages, but don't assume that it's more capable or a better value. Personally, I'd prefer to have two Chromebooks sitting around my house than a single iPad.

Sure, but i'm betting that more people are like my wife, who basically abandoned their shiny fancy Macbook, for first an iPod touch, and then a rooted Nook Color tablet, because it's couch friendly. Using a mouse on a sofa cushion sucks.

Re:Bummer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39661487)

I don't see the value proposition of Chromebook versus:

Linux on a netbook.
Android on a netbook.
Android tablet in a case with a bluetooth keyboard.

Enlighten me.

Chrome os is a dumb concept (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39656485)

Changing the volume from a browser is stupid. Watching amovie in a browser not from local storage and putting up with caching is stupid. Chrome os is a dumb fucking idea

Fix #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39656499)

Scrap the ChromeOS netbook idea as futile, reallocate resources to make Android usable on netbooks instead.

There are Android netbooks out there, but it's not a pretty experience - even full physical keyboard support is rather suckish.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39656511)

Everything suggested just makes Chrome OS more Windows-like.

ipad killed the chromebook (5, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656545)

i was a CR-48 beta tester and never figured out the point of it. they look like laptops but the OS is gimped. yet cost the same as a netbook. what is the point of buying one?

the ipad does more which is why apple is selling every one they make

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39656605)

They make good kiosks, although you need to plug-in a mouse,
rather than rely on the goofy touchpad.

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656649)

Exactly,

I have a CR-48 sitting on my desk. It has been off for at least a year. I was unable to do any of the things I do on a daily basis with it. I need a full terminal with ssh support, a nice development environment that doesn't require 3rd party servers I am not in control of, and the ability to play and listen to my 40 gigs of music.

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39658549)

Exactly,

I have a CR-48 sitting on my desk. It has been off for at least a year. I was unable to do any of the things I do on a daily basis with it. I need a full terminal with ssh support, a nice development environment that doesn't require 3rd party servers I am not in control of, and the ability to play and listen to my 40 gigs of music.

I know what you mean. I have a Porsche 911 sitting in my garage. Haven't driven it for at least a year. I need lots of seating room for my kid's little league team, off-road suspension so I don't have to rely on someone else's paved roads, and the ability to haul a trailer containing my collection of fourteen thousand Betamax tapes.

Whenever someone asks me why the hell I bought a product that in no way fits my requirements, I just quickly change the subjLOOK BEHIND YOU, A THREE-HEADED MONKEY!!!

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39661383)

The only problem is that this is a poor car analogy. The ChromeBooks are more akin to a Yugo than the Porsche... Now...the laptop I want and almost need...that's a Lamboghini (I have the "Porsche"... ;-D)

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39656693)

People are so short sided, perhaps its the world we live in but imagine a day when networks are truly ubiquitous, reliable (99.9999), and storage is dirt cheap(wait we're here already). In this world, ChromeOs (or similar OS's) and thin client machines that run them will be the norm.

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656747)

so? why would i spend the exact same amount of $$$ on a laptop that does less than a similar spec'd laptop with a different OS

my ipad makes it comfortable for me to use a computer on my sofa, train to work and has a wide variety of applications that no one had dreamed was possible 5 years ago.

the chromebook seems to only be a web browser, something that is going the way of the dodo little by little

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39658195)

*PET PEEVE* I apologize for this... but it is "short sighted". Meaning they have no ability to see very far into the future.

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39659919)

I think this is Chromebook's biggest failing, price. People just do not want to spend laptop money on a thin-client laptop

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (1)

ffflala (793437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39669839)

It seems like the people who prefer tablets aren't clear on the difference between the hardware and the OS. A Chromebook is a laptop, it has minimal internal storage and impressive battery life. You can install other Linux flavors on it besides ChromeOS.

To clarify: a Chromebook is not limited to ChromeOS. If you were going to buy a laptop with similar specs and price already, and the only difference is what OS comes preinstalled, ChromeOS will be the most widely available preinstalled Linux option.

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39656925)

Everything I've read recently says people want apps not web apps. The market has spoken.

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (2)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657291)

I disagree - or at least, I think the market is not that intelligent about this idea.

I think what we're seeing is a reflection of the fact that people still tend to appreciate the distinction between things which require internet access, and things which do not - even if it isn't that well informed. People want to be able to say "right, this device can do all of these things with no internet access, and contains this data". But they also want to make sure that, from as many places as possible, they can synchronize and update or change that information. To a huge extent, this is what Dropbox - and the LAN sync protocol - is really all about.

The real problem is that for a variety of reasons, companies draw a hazy, hard to distinguish line around these things (and then stuff like the iPhone doesn't let you stick a bookmark on the main screen like it's an app - if you could, I suspect downloads of the Facebook app would drop to near 0 overnight).

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (2)

kris2112 (136712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657889)

Mobile Safari allows you to add any bookmark to the Home screen.

When viewing a page, press the action button in the center of the tool bar and press Add to Home Screen.

This feature has been available for a couple years.

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#39658945)

What do you know, I learned something today. I would still argue my point stands.

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39662047)

I think it's more that the native UI is typically a better experience and allows full use of the device's capabilities (contacts, GPS, camera, accelerometer).

For example, see:

http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/7832-the-fight-gets-technical-mobile-apps-vs-mobile-sites [econsultancy.com]

http://mobithinking.com/native-or-web-app [mobithinking.com]

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657229)

While we're at it, let's imagine a world where unicorns have been genetically engineered into reality...

We don't live in that world, and there are very good reasons to think we may never. There are other, equally good reasons, to think it would be a horrible idea to design a modern economy/society based solely on that assumption. But all of that is a sideshow to the fact that we do not live in that world now.

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39657385)

I don't see how this world you describe (internet everywhere, 5 9's, cheap storage) is going to make thin clients popular again. For all intents and purposes I have all of those things where I live, and I have zero desire to use a thin client cloud solution. A hybrid I'm down for (stuff I want to be in the cloud is in the cloud, data only, not apps, everything else is local), but certainly not everything over a wire.

Thin clients blow, been there before, more than once, and I don't see anything in Chrome OS that would change that opinion. I understand that they felt like they had to try, it's a web centric company, they want to be the new desktop OS and circumvent the current incumbents. This approach gives them an end run, and wouldn't all that tasty data make for awesome analytics to sell to our real customers? OK, so maybe that's a motivator, maybe it's not...4 years ago I would have said no, today I'm not sure at all...Google's lost a lot of my trust (another reason for this being a bad idea, google owning all the worlds data and how you access it? That's a shit ton of trust in a company that certainly doesn't deserve it).

Anyhow, good on them for doing more research into thin clients and trying to make them work, maybe some of that research will be useful in other areas, but the concept is defective by design. They can't seriously expect it to be a success.

All that being said iPad totally killed my laptop in terms of personal usage except for one thing, coding. If I'm not coding on my desktop or laptop, then I'm on using my iPad. My wife who never codes has not once turned her laptop on since the first iPad came out (I got her one shortly after launch).

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39661551)

Short sighted? Really? Is it that or is it that you're looking at pipedreams?

Networks being truly being ubiquitous isn't going to be around for quite a while yet to come. Storage being dirt cheap, yeah. But where is it residing? In some central repository...that can be raided. You're hoping on the sheer volume to prevent it from being nabbed from that repository. Ask all the differing retail and banking interests about that sort of thing and see what they have to say about card/ssn/etc. info being leaked out to the world. "Won't happen," isn't the right answer there.

Without being able to assure network connectivity, they're basically bricks.
Without being able to assure network security with 100% certainty, it's insane to put most stuff out on "the cloud".

Even in Star Trek, they didn't have "thin computing" everywhere- you had PADDs and you had Tricorders.

Re:ipad killed the chromebook (2)

ffflala (793437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657025)

I picked up a Samsung Series 5 last summer, and it came with 2 years of (minimal backup) 3G service, which when amortized into the total cost made Series 5 a decent budget buy.

3G plus excellent battery life means that it has been very useful as a commuter device -- particularly on trains and planes, or in the middle of nowhere. In these circumstances it's better than a smartphone, and I prefer it to any tablet device I've used so far -- but mainly simply because it has a real keyboard. And I'd already been using google docs as my main office platform already. Had I not been doing so already, I'd likely have found this thing far less useful.

If you're unable, reluctant, or unwilling to try adapt from a desktop model ChromeOS will probably only be maddening. It, OTOH, you find that 90%+ of the time spent on your desktop is in a browser already, it's not a terribly difficult adjustment to make.

pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39656631)

I don't see any advantage of a Chromebook over an Android tablet with a keyboard.

And if Google wants something more powerful, they should just support Ubuntu (well, something like Ubuntu but with a traditional, simpler UI).

Re:pointless (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656739)

Do you realize that comment is pretty pointless itself? The idea is how to fix the Chrome OS, not what you should replace it with.

Re:pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39656823)

It's a valid point, what is the point of chromebook over android....nothing!

Re:pointless (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39663183)

ChromeOS can be fixed most efficiently by taking it out behind the barn and shooting it.

Java web app support (3, Funny)

blahbooboo (839709) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656645)

Seriously large omission is a JRE for Chrome OS

Re:Java web app support (1)

sosume (680416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656963)

Like Flash for IOS?

Re:Java web app support (2)

Altanar (56809) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657231)

They'll add that when Oracle stops suing Google for using modified Java in Android.

another? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39656981)

another paid information weekly spot of empty content?

Its the price stupid, not the features! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39657153)

I love the idea of Chromebooks, but I haven't passed on them due to lack of features or the absence of a traditional desktop. I've passed on them because they're too expensive compared to the competition. When my options are a new Chromebook for $300 or a used netbook for $150, I'll choose the netbook based on price alone.

Suggested improvement: kill Chrome OS... (4, Interesting)

sootman (158191) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657547)

... and devote the resources to something else. Seriously. The market for "I need a laptop that can run a browser and nothing else" is 1) ridiculously small and 2) can be fulfilled with nothing more than a properly-configured Linux distro. Netbooks, while popular in some areas, were NOT the sales success that many people thought they would be. An even more limited netbook will not likely fare better.*

Laptops are already pretty cheap. The theoretical savings of making a stripped-down laptop that just runs a browser are not offset the costs of such low-volume production.

Tablets are the way to go. The market has spoken. "Simplicity" in computing does not mean "I want to run everything in a browser", it means "I want to click giant icons and run one, fullscreen, sandboxed app at a time." Sorry, Chrome OS team--you went the wrong direction.

In other news, I literally LOLed when some guy at Google was talking about how a Chromebook (that is, one particular piece of hardware) would actually "get faster over time" due to its automatic software updates (which would presumably bring increased efficiency and performance.) BULL SHIT. Why is the Web largely unusable on anything less than 1 GHz anymore? Oh right, because web pages are getting fatter all the time! Does anyone REALLY think that Google will make the OS more efficient faster than web pages will become more bloated?

Seriously Google: KILL THAT SHIT and let those employees work on something worthwhile.

* and before anyone mentions the iPad: yes, it is more limited in some ways, but it's also more powerful in others. On the other hand, I can't think of a single thing a Chromebook can do that a Netbook can't also do, but a Netbook can do literally everything that any other computer can do, while Chromebooks are limited to "I can do some things that happen within a browser."

Re:Suggested improvement: kill Chrome OS... (1)

jeti (105266) | more than 2 years ago | (#39658507)

Any savings will not be with the initial purchase. Maintenance, however, may be cheaper. A properly sandboxed platform that is always up to date and stores all user data on servers may be attractive to libraries, schools and even large companies.

Re:Suggested improvement: kill Chrome OS... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39661671)

And if you think that the data will be omnipresent and in the total control of these groups, I've got some nifty oceanside real-estate on the Florida Coast to sell you...only a few gators on it...

Re:Suggested improvement: kill Chrome OS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39659147)

when android took off people want and still want a x86 desktop android. instead we got chrome os the most useless os out there,

Re:Suggested improvement: kill Chrome OS... (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#39660581)

I largely tend to agree, but there are some disadvantages of a Netbook:

1. They usually require some level of configuration when you provision them.
2. It is easy to store and work with local data, which means that not all your data will be someplace safe if something bad happens.

I've tinkered with my cr-48 here and there, and one thing that is nice is that I ever mess things up too much I just reimage the thing - takes 15 minutes. Then I turn it on, log in just like I do any other time I turn it on, and in about 60 seconds everything looks exactly how it looked before I reimaged it (minus whatever I messed up by hacking on it).

If you can run a business purely on the web, Chrome OS actually looks like a pretty nice solution. The problem is that web-based apps are pretty limited right now. FOSS options for web-based apps are also quite limited - good luck finding a decent web-based email client that isn't proprietary. The closest you'll find are squirrelmail and roundcube, and neither can hold a candle to gmail.

Re:Suggested improvement: kill Chrome OS... (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39661839)

"Netbooks, while popular in some areas, were NOT the sales success that many people thought they would be."

Because manufacturers added features and pushed the price into notebook territory.

Re:Suggested improvement: kill Chrome OS... (1)

ffflala (793437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39669781)

I can't think of a single thing a Chromebook can do that a Netbook can't also do, but a Netbook can do literally everything that any other computer can do, while Chromebooks are limited to "I can do some things that happen within a browser."

You're conflating the hardware (Chromebook) with the OS (ChromeOS). You can install other OSes on Chromebooks; in fact you're guaranteed to be able to install other Linux flavors on it, since ChromeOS is itself one... and thus can do literally everything that any other computer can do, at least as far as any Netbook can.

Browser ballot, N edition, pls hurry!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39659481)

Looking at the Wikipedia article got me very worried: I'm not sure I understood it right, since it seems so unbelievable, but it looks like Google Chrome OS comes with A PREINSTALLED WEB BROWSER that even integrates with the operating system to some extent?? That would be horrible news! After all, we know from the Microsoft case how evil and possibly unlawful that sort of thing is.

Said article even mentions that Google Chrome OS has its own media player, but I can't find word on the N edition they obviously need to supply for the European market. Does anybody know more about this situation? I'm terribly afraid that the law might somehow be the same for everyone, so Google would be crushed by terrible Euro fines! I don't want Google to get hurt! :'((

Re:Browser ballot, N edition, pls hurry!! (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39660033)

I really hate when people trivialize Microsoft's horrible abusive monopoly practices.

Re:Browser ballot, N edition, pls hurry!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39662125)

Yeah, I lived in the past once too. By the time Google is done with us, 1990s' MS will strike us as a cute, if somewhat misguided, garage firm.

Re:Browser ballot, N edition, pls hurry!! (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39664461)

Accurately remembering hte past is not he same as living it. Google has NOWHERE NEAR the influence Microsoft had at the height of its power, and there is VAST choice in the marketplace now. I dont think you understand the minor dark age of computing MS introduced, all the way back to Bill G formalizing the license in the asshole ways that he did.

Reality? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39660105)

"But it is a concession to the realities of a market that's more comfortable with the familiar desktop metaphor."

It isn't the "metaphor" at all. It's the "reality" of people "being comfortable" with what works, and not comfortable with what doesn't.

Google and others have pushed "the cloud" prematurely. It just doesn't work well enough yet. There are far too many issues:

(1) Unpredictable downtime for even the most robust of services (in 2011 those included Google and Amazon).

(2) Security issues, including (a) who has authorized access, (b) who normally has actual access including physical access, and (c) vulnerability to external exploits.

(3) Performance.

(4) Government intrusion or seizure (ala Megaupload).

Let's face it. "The cloud" is not mature yet. Reasons (1) and (2) together are enough to keep me from putting my business information in the cloud. Reason (4) is another reason that, by itself, might also stop me from doing so.

Maybe some day.

Re:Reality? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39661691)

1, 2, 4 are why I say that this is a folly.

What stops me from using Chrome OS and other tech (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39660263)

What stops me from using Chrome OS, Apple products in general, and Android phones is privacy. I should be allowed to use any device without having to have an account. I think that requirement is rediculous. Even websites are now pushing logging in with Facebook, Twitter, etc. Do you really need to know who I am? I semi-anonymity really that repulsive or wrong?

I really want to have an iPhone, but I don't want to be tracked, my purchases be tracked and logged, the music and books I read be reviewable for others and for sale as they often are. Consumerism has gotten so ugly. We are the products and what we are getting in return is simpy not worth what we give up -- namely our privacy. Some people say to get over it, that the days of privacy are gone. Others say we still have a vestige left. The Internet has so much to offer, but I'm not willing to trade what privacy I have left to enjoy what is not a fair trade.

Let's see... I don't have a Facebook account, or Twitter, nor AIM, nor Gmail, nor Hotmail, nor Yahoo. But I love to see what's happening. I don't use iTunes, Pandora, or anything else for music. I just don't want to have a zillion accounts out there. I'm rather proud of the fact that a search of my name on any search engine turns up very very little -- just the normal name and where I have lived on those sites that sell that stuff. Nothing else exists. I'd like to keep it that way but still be able to take advantage of services. Any thoughts...

The desktop LIVES...! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39661935)

"But it is a concession to the realities of a market that's more comfortable with the familiar desktop metaphor.'"

Somebody wanna get the Metro team at Microsoft on the line....

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