What is Chromebook by Google?
The Chromebook first peaked our interest during our Podcast with Lazy Tech Guys a couple of weeks ago. It lead me to ultimately wonder what is Chromebook and is there a need for one in our home. So we did some digging and found out the facts. If you are as curious as we were, keep reading! I think we can answer your questions.
While a Chromebook may look and feel like a regular laptop, there is ultimately one key difference. It is the first computer designed solely for cloud computing. This means that data, files, etc. are not stored locally on your computer and instead are stored in the cloud. From there, the Chrome operating system (OS) acts as a web client and uses apps to interact and pull the data from the cloud to your Chromebook seamlessly as if it was on your computer.
The biggest drawback to a Chromebook device is that you must be connected to the internet to utilize many of the features, including retrieving data and documents from the cloud. Similar to the challenges of tablets (without mobile connectivity), connections are not always available when working on documents or other projects. The good news though is that Chromebook’s ability to work offline is growing quickly to match what many tablets are able to do. With time, we are certain this will only get better.
The Chromebooks are offered with mobile network connectivity (3G and 4G) similar to tablets. For users that are traveling, this is a worthwhile investment to take it on the road.
Anyone that has had a computer crash is certain to know the most important benefit of a Chromebook. The days of losing your hard drive (and the subsequent data) are long gone. That’s right! Computer crashes are no longer something that make you lose sleep at night. No more lost pictures of the kids, or the big project you have been working on for six months because it is all in the cloud. Turn on the next Chromebook, log back into the same cloud and away you go.
The benefits do not stop there. One of the things we appreciate most about the Chromebook is that users’ software is always up-to-date. Anyone who is still running Window’s 98 understands why this is important. Keeping software up-to-date means that you do not lose functionality and stay up with the times as electronics continue to evolve at amazing speeds.
Finally, similar to tablets, boot time is less than 10 seconds. This is comparable to the tablets and whoops the time it takes to turn on a laptop. (I typically use this time to brew coffee, however, Keurig beats my laptop every time.)
Costs to Consider
The upfront costs of a Chromebook start at just $199 and can be around $500 for the highest level options. The $199 selection is a solid new addition from Acer and even runs with an Intel chip. However, it is an entry-level product that may leave you wanting more quickly. If you are picky about graphics or speed, you may want to consider looking at other Chromebooks including a great lineup from Samsung. You can see a solid selection of Chromebooks from Amazon.com.
While the up front costs are fairly limited, Chromebooks are the first to almost solely rely on cloud storage. The good news is that cloud storage costs are very reasonable these days and not everything has to be in paid storage. For example, email would stay in Gmail (or Yahoo etc), documents could stay in Google Docs, Pictures in Picasa etc. Plus, Google is offering Chromebook owners 100 GB of free storage for two years. (Not a bad deal!)
The Chromebook is clearly an awesome concept from Google and it is likely where all computing will go over time. The benefits of cloud computing are very enticing to users who want to access their data where ever they may be. In addition, the last sleepless night about lost data and crashing computers make it an even better investment. Most of us are already cloud computing without thinking about it. Examples such as email through web apps, Flickr pictures, and even The High-Tech Home are not stored directly on our computers.
If you are a person that has access to internet connectivity most of the time, this may be the device for you. Be aware though, you are embarking on a device that is ahead of its time. This means you may have to wait for other technology to catch up.