Opinion: why the Google Chromebook is not a bad idea

By | May 17, 2011

Anyone that knows me personally or has read this site must realize that I like technology and think that the cloud is the future for a great many things. While I don’t necessarily think the cloud is ready for primetime for everyone, I believe that we have yet to realize the full power of moving away from the desktop storage model.

Google recently unveiled the availability of its Chromebook, a laptop “optimized for the web”. I haven’t had an opportunity to see one in person, but I have every intention to purchase one of these machines and give the concept a shot. Based on internet chatter it may be easier said than done as I believe the Chromebook will be a hot commodity when it becomes available.

With that said there are already haters popping up all over over the internet. One in particular, a editorial by Tom Simonite at technology review, caught my attention. In the article Simonite summarizes some of the reasons that “the tech press came up with that Chromebooks are a bad idea”.

  • It won’t work with your iPod, points out this ZDNet blogger I declare shenanigans! You want everyone to believe that an entire platform will fail because it won’t sync with an Apple product. I’m not buying it. Allow me to share a quick story with you. The battery on my trusty iPod finally gave out. I went to an Apple store to ask what I could do about it. The sales person told me that I’d have to make a Genius Bar appointment if I wanted more information. Really? Anyway, I “Googled” it on my Droid and found that I could buy a battery kit for about $20 and change it myself. But instead of doing that I decided that my experience at the Apple store was a sign that it was time for me to make a change. I promptly went home, signed up for a paid Amazon Cloud Drive account and began moving my music to the cloud. I couldn’t be happier with the result.
  • They’re too expensive, says PCMag, at a minimum cost of $429 or $349– This is so ridiculous that I can’t even begin to argue against it. People drop more for netbooks, smartphones and less functional tablets all day long. Tech enthusiasts won’t care.
  • People aren’t ready to trust the cloud, claims InformationWeekThis argument holds some validity. Many people don’t understand the idea of the cloud. The only thing I would ask someone making this argument is if they use any type of “cloud based” email like Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. Or if they’ve every used a credit card to make an online purchase, or utilized online banking, or even have an active iTunes account. If so, then they’re trusting “the cloud” with their information. Hypocrites.
  • It’s a goldmine for hackers, says an expert at software security firm Kaspersky – Whatever, dude. See argument above.
  • Google can’t do hardware and support, claims veteran Silicon Valley journalist Tom Foremski – We’ll have to wait and see. I think it’s a little premature to make a statement like that. But I will point out that Chromebooks are being made by Samsung and Acer. Maybe it’s just me, but I think these companies will have some sort of support infrastructure in place.
  • Google gets too much control, according to SearchEngineWatch – Are you #$!&%ing kidding me? I wonder if the person saying this has ever owned an iPod, iPhone or iPad. Who do you think has complete control over the content on those devices? And we all know how big a failure those were. Why would you put something like that in print? Do people actually listen to the crap that comes out of their mouth? 
    When I read articles like this it brings images of someone sitting on a MacBook Pro in front of a shrine dedicated to Steve Jobs. I remember similar articles and statements when Android hit the smartphone industry. I was an early adopter and purchased a Droid the second day it was available. Sure it had its quirks, but each upgrade brought with it new features and an improved experience. Throw in the integration with all the Google stuff I use and it’s a winner. I also owned an iPod, iPhone and an iPad for a while. I liked all of them, but decided they weren’t for me.
    I think the Google Chromebook will make a lot of sense to a lot of people. Will it be for everyone? Of course not, but don’t rubber stamp it DOA because you don’t like the idea.

8 thoughts on “Opinion: why the Google Chromebook is not a bad idea

  1. Steven Vore

    I’m just not sure what the point of a chromebook (or iPad for that matter) is in real life. They’re both great, I suppose, for people who are absolutely, positively sure that they will never ever need something that’s not online – but I don’t think that’s reality.

    My father’s one of the geekiest people I know, and reasonably anti-Apple/pro-Linux/pro-Android … and ran into (for him) a huge limitation the very first day he started messing with ChromeBook. Being stuck only with the cloud meant that he had no way to load data into his GPS, which he uses every single day (he’s also a Geocacher).

    GPS, music device, camera – there are tons of things people use WITH their computer that one of these “I live in my own little all-online world” devices ignore. We geeks have gotten them used to doing that. Now we want them to buy two computing devices?

  2. Rob Fahrni

    I am an Apple sheep, my brother, you are a Google sheep.

    I will never, ever, poo-poo this idea. All the analysts said the iPhone would fail, it was wildly successful. All the analysts said the iPad would fail, they all look like idiots.

    To say Cromebook will fail is just as stupid. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. There are obviously people that believe in it.

    I, for one, will continue to give Apple my hard earns cash, just as you will continue to support Google.

    When you buy one want to check it out. Say, do you know what OS it’s based on? Is it Linux?

  3. jo

    chromebook will be a success..however price does need to drop a bit and some spec changes: need it on a tablet, 4g…make sure software developers are on board with chromium, f/ printers to client side computing programs/websites..

  4. Dave

    I have always been a windows user, having tried apple, it just seemed polished not better….but I am always confronted by non computer users. They just need to surf the web, check their facebook write emails and they NEVER need to know the file system, antivirus info, download programs etc. Chromebook is just what they need. Simple and uncomplicated.

  5. Jerry Fahrni Post author

    Hi Dave –

    Like you, I have always been a Windows user. I’ve tried Mac, but never felt compelled to switch. I like the idea of the Chromebook if for nothing more than another alternative. Thanks for the comment.

    Jerry

  6. sail boy

    GPS is a fundamental function without that this thing is useless

  7. Jerry Fahrni Post author

    Not sure I follow your logic, sail boy. People buy tablets, laptops and netbooks without GPS all the time. Not sure why it would matter with the Chromebook. GPS would be nice, but useless without it? Seems a bit extreme to me.

  8. Annonymous

    Why I Decided To Purchase A Chromebook.

    I decided to purchase a Chromebook and give Google A chance. Why I think you should purchase one also.

    I haven’t received mine yet, it has been shipped however. I chose the H.P. Pavillion Chromebook with the 14 inch screen.

    I read a lot of articles about Chromebook and I did a lot of research. I saw lots of articles about people that hate these, beg you not to buy these, and they’re limited.

    My thing is people complain that Google Chromebook relies heavily on the Internet and without the Internet Chromebook is useless, also that everything is saved in the cloud, and people don’t trust the cloud.

    My thoughts are that people are giving Google a hard time, and I am tired of reading the negative articles.

    First let me say that if you own an I Pad from Apple, you cannot use it if you aren’t connected to the Internet, so isn’t it also a limited device? What about Windows? Can you run Apple apps on Windows? Can you run Window apps on Apple? Certainly not.

    Now, for people that have batch filing, spreadsheets, heavy word processing the chrome book is not for them.

    SeCond, why is everyone attacking Google for storing everything in the Cloud like they are the first ones to ever do it. That’s just not the case!

    Let’s see, Kindle, the famous Ebook App or Kindle reading device, also stores your books, in the cloud. How many of you have ITunes from Apple? ITunes stores it’s music in the cloud.

    People say Google will fail. Why? There limitations aren’t any different from Apple apps only on Apple devices, Windows apps only on Windows devices, Android apps only on Andriod and Window devices, and Google apps only on Google devices.

    I am 100% behind Google and I wish them much success! I think a lot of people that don’t like the Chromebook, because they say it’s limited, may have bought the $200 or $300 Google Laptop and expected it to download, which it don’t, and expected it to download any kind of app. These people may not have did their research before they purchased one.

    Look, Google never said it downloads anything. They tell you nothing is downloaded on the device. However, everything is stored in the cloud and you can get to it there. They’re doing that for our protection from viruses, mailware, etc.
    Not long ago I purchased an All In One Device. It wasn’t paid for yet. I was making payments. Suddenly it got a money scam on it, someone pretending to be the cops, wanting you to send them money through Greendot, which is not secure, to get this ridiculous page off your screen. The page wouldn’t leave.

    Because I didn’t know weather or not it was a virus, I had to crash this computer, and sit up all night putting it back together till 4 a.m.

    with Google’s cloud based storage, you can’t get a scam or a virus. I welcome that.

    Now for me personally, I weighed my disadvantages of owning a Chrome Book to decide if it was right for me.

    In my case, I used to work and go to college. I did graduate from college finally after years of going part time, six years ago. Then I got sick with a disease, now I can’t work. So I am in my 40’s a shut in.

    Since my needs no longer deem heavy computer useage, I play on a tablet, and hardly ever use my laptop anymore.

    Remember too, that the Google Web Store has thousands of free apps to choose from.

    I know there aren’t many games on Chrome Book, so if I want games I’ll just get off and go to my Xbox.

    Keep in mind that Google Chrome is stil a work in Progress. So when they get better and produce more apps. you will get the latest updates to your Chrome Book automatic free of charge. So as they get better, Chrome Book gets better.

    I know there is the issue of having to pay for cloud storage after two years? I gave that a lot of thought. Well, It’s only 4.99 a month at this time. My attitude was, “If I wasn’t paying that little bit for cloud storage wouldn’t I be wasting my money on something else I don’t need?” So I accepted it because on Apple, you have to buy every movie, book, etc. from ITunes. You can’t store your own movies in an Ipad like you can store movies and pictures in the cloud. I don’t need heavy lap top usage. I just want to watch movies on Chrome Book from Netflix or watch my own D.V.D.;S. I bought an external cd/dvd player for my Chrome book, to check my mail, and get the news. I wanted this also because it’s smaller, and lighter to carry around the house, without having to bother with a full sized laptop.

    I believe that we are on a new horizon here. I think that more companies will later offer cloud storage, and it may become the future of computing. I look forward to it on Chrome Book. I think the rest of us, should give Google a chance.

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