- runs the latest fad games, like Angry Birds (and more soon thanks to WebGL)? check.
- can connect digital camera and upload photos? check.
- can browse facebook, twitter, youtube, gmail, hotmail, etc? check
- can play flash games & netflix, hulu, & other crap? check.
This will satisfy the needs of all my immediate non-techy family members. And I won't get the monthly calls about malware anymore.
In the visual arts, a lot of the people who do amusing Photoshop work are not professionals. Also consider MySpace in the 2000s. You might argue that MySpace isn't a good illustration of the value of giving people creative freedom, but you can't deny that a lot of people were eager to take advantage of it.
Then there are the people who get into sound editing or musical arrangement. These days a kid might start with making a ringtone and then escalate. Personally, I'm the least "creative" and least musical person you'll ever meet, but even I spent a whole day trying to arrange a decent-sounding version of "Walk Like an Egyptian" using a digital music program on my Apple IIgs. Why "Walk Like an Egyptian?" I have no idea. When I was thirteen I recorded myself belching, reversed it, dropped the tone an octave or two, added an echo and made it the shutdown sound for Windows 3.1. I told my parents it was the sound of a WWII submarine preparing to submerge. (Eventually, I figured out that code was my preferred way of expressing myself. I had fun writing computer programs that made pretty mathematical patterns on the screen, among other things.)
Putting content creation tools in the hands of everyone is key because you never know who's going to use them. Some kid decides to make something cute or awesome or badass or smartass and the next thing you know s/he's hooked on sound editing or what-not. Unfortunately, the model of commercial software development is to give someone a free taste, then frustrate them with limitations, and then take their credit card and charge them for the pro version. Kids are easily frustrated, may not have access to a credit card, and even if they have a card, may not be able to spend $100 or more for professional-quality software.
However, I think the answer to that concern is that non-professional content creation needs will be served by free web apps.
Content creation has never been as cheap as today. To suggest that tablets or netbooks will somehow limit that ability seems crazy to me. Just because the software isn’t yet written? Because that’s what’s happening, the software is written and perfected (Have you seen GarageBand? Google Docs? The list goes on.) and meanwhile we are all in transition anyway. All those PCs won’t disappear overnight.
This is one of those crazy way-too-premature worries.
I love my netbook, it goes almost everywhere with me. I can touch type on it fast enough to take notes in meetings or from church sermons, I can write music on it, I can even run Visual Studio 2010 and SQL Server 2008 well enough to be productive with them.
I can't for one minute imagine how I'd be able to do anything like that without a hardware keyboard and I'm yet to see the add-on keyboard that's as stable for typing on my knees, in the back of a car, held in one hand while standing (or whatever) as any netbook. I've got no problem with tablets as devices but they still seem to be firmly consumption devices to me.
Typing is a subset of creating. Tablets are not so great for typing, sure, but PCs and tablets are both cheap. There is no reason to believe that they won't co-exist, both making it easier for everyone to create.
When I'm creating text content, a keyboard is a fast and efficient means of data entry.
When I'm creating images or doing graphic design work, I want precision of control. A touchscreen isn't fine enough.
When I'm creating music, there are a range of input options but I'd still take some persuading that a touchscreen is quite there.
But it still doesn’t matter. Looking at the whole picture, tablets make creating easier. That’s it. To suggest otherwise seems crazy to me.
...and ChromeOS would change that? Availability of tools is not something that needs to immediately follow daily use.
Not all my family cooks. We still have a kitchen.
Look at ipad running GarageBand, thats the stuff we want. People don't create only when when creating stuff sucks. Just like I only cook when all I have to do is "add hot water".
There is a quote that comes to mind: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein.
A limitation is not the same thing as a complete absence of potential.
After correcting your analogy, I can think of situations where landlords do not provide full kitchens---for example apartments, or temporary vacation condos or business suites.
You can technically cook, but you can't cook very much.
I do think that these devices are more of an internet window. At the same time, they are in standard PC form factor. I feel chromeOS chose a bad form factor. Think about it, you are happy carrying your laptop or having a desktop with your current internet window (iPads), but imagine carrying and having chromebook with a macbook. That doesn't look like a solution, thats an ugly desk. Point being - I won't be the only one who will every now and then, mistakenly or otherwise, compare chrombooks to the PCs. If they look like one, they might as well bang like one.
HTML, CSS, and JS already won, in the sense that English had "won" a hundred years ago. What I'm waiting for browser performance and developers (myself included) to write apps that "bang", not webbooks that run legacy software.
Certainly you haven't lived if you haven't read them all, and even if you manage that, some college punk might release yet another novel just as you find yourself in the final moments of your stressful life; Jeez, the horror.
Here's a great photo/picture editor:
Those are just off the top of my head.
There is also the possibility that you are faulting Google for not making creation applications, because you don't acknowledge other participants in the venue which work very well on Chromebooks.
Just off the top of my head: http://www.aviary.com/
There are a plethora of web apps for content creation available. There are also a variety of image editing & drawing apps in the Chrome Store (and a basic drawing app in GApps).
Edit: If you want iMovie, you want a Mac. My family doesn't use iMovie (though I do personally, but the ChromeBook isnt't for me), they use YouTube video tools & Facebook video crap.
iMovie (which was the example you gave before you edited your comment) is way, way too complex for my family members, from experience (and even me, at times).
I'm helping an old lady in my neighborhood edit movies of her kindegarten class in iMovie, and I'd bet that most people would have said "oh, she doesn't need to edit videos", but one of her colleagues starting making montage videos of the class for the end of the year and she wanted to do it too. Since she has a MacBook, this is possible. If she had a Chromebook, she'd have to borrow someone's computer, and I don't know if she would have the courage to ask for that, especially since, like most old ladies, she is scared that she will break computer every time she does anything.
And there's also a photo editor on the apps store - Picnik
There are some and there will be more soon enough
If mom & pop can do their Facebook and email on the Chromebook the kid can hack away on one of these for the price of a movie and a slushy...
On the internet
There's a lot of uses that still require a real, local desktop, and I think once you give this to all of your non-techy family members you'll start to run into them.
I don't understand why those complaining about maintaining Windows don't just put on Ubuntu. LibreOffice is certainly more familiar to Office users and more compatible with existing Office documents than Google Docs.
If you haven't considered Ubuntu yet, why do you consider Chrome OS? It's not very hard to teach even the least technically literate person that they just need to click the big multi-colored circle to get to the internet, so it seems weird that abstracting that one step away makes everyone go wild about giving their mom a Chromebook.
EDIT: Curious as to why this is getting downvoted. If you don't want to "bothered" with update dialogs, you have to run the updates behind the scenes without prior approval. This is what Chrome already does automatically -- Google pushes an update and you get it no questions asked, so what's wrong with setting up Ubuntu to do it automatically if that's how you want your computer to work? I don't get it.
I wasn't suggesting the parents set up the cronjob, just as I didn't suggest that they should install the OS. Competent guy should set that all up, parents can use it without knowing the difference in anything.
You also need apt-get clean and you are not handling things like conf files changing, and prompts.
Deepfreeze basically starts before the os and returns the computer to a frozen state you defined. it's used in libraries and internet cafes and schools , and seem to work pretty well.
This way you get: no support calls + better experience to family(apps, better privacy, known interface) + less risk and more control on the solutions you offer.
I think anyone will get a laptop which gives them more freedom, for almost the same price
Streaming is not currently supported on your device. We're working with Google to ensure that Chrome Notebook users can instantly watch TV shows and movies from Netflix. More details will be announced in the coming months.
Note that your current Internet browser is fully compatible with adding titles to the Instant Queue for later watching on compatible devices.
Can connect digital camera and process RAW images? Perform simple adjustments?
Useful on airplane?
Much easier sell - call this an iPad with flash and a keyboard.
- Use Word/Excel?
So you're paying a 2.5x premium on hardware. Now you say that it lowers maintainance cost, but you can run something like SCCMS and have all machines auto updated with latest virus definitions (as well other things like updated device drivers or even power management) for $70/machine.
The math still just doesn't seem to add up to me.
(The Hacker News-y response is that the i-whatever is terrible and people shouldn't use them, but my point is that a lot of people own them. People who are thinking about recommending Chromebooks to family should keep that in mind.)
Edit: Apparently, the Hacker News-y response is to downvote to oblivion for even mentioning the possibility that people you know might own an extremely popular device. Oh HN, you so silly.
The rest are good but lack of Netflix support has definitely prevented me from purchasing a product in the past. This is not necessarily a problem that Google can fix right now, but hopefully it expedites Netflix' efforts to do so.
As I'd mentioned before I can buy an ASUS Eee PC with an AMD C30 processor for $289 and be able to use the browser of my choice, sync my iPod/iPad/iPhone, play WoW, use Skype, hook it up to my TV in the dorm, use MS Office, Visual Studio, emacs, vim, etc...
It just feels like a half-baked implementation. The price point on this needs to be a LOT cheaper. Like $100 or free for a netbook, and make the money up with targeted advertising based on them being locked into Chrome. Otherwise this doesn't seem recommendable.
Or when all their friends are playing WoW and they realize that this device doesn't play it.
Or when they want to Skype with their grandkids they realize, they can't do that.
Or when they take the photo editing class and realize that the laptop doesn't run the software so they trot halfway across campus to use the lab that has the software installed.
Or when they go to get all their stuff on iTunes and sync their iPhone with it and realize that they still need their old laptop.
Or, or, or...
You can't drop this computer on any average Joe. The subset of people I could recommend this to is crazy small -- maybe zero given the price point.
Make it $0-$100 and I think we have a really interesting device. But at $300 or $20/month, that's a non-starter.
And I should note that I used to be the IT guy for my family and friends. I still am, technically. But it's basically a non-issue nowadays. The only question I've gotten in the past couple of months is someone forgot how to download pictures from her camera. Speaking of which, how well does that work with Chrome (seriously asking)?
And those people don't know what Google Docs are either. And when they get an Excel document where charts don't render correctly, or comments are screwed up, or pivot tables don't work against their datasource, they'll be POed.
Google likes this. Excel screws up? Perfect, just use Google Docs. Mission accomplished. People are surprisingly flexible if you throw up a barrier. An hour or so of pissing off a customer is a exchange Google is willing to make if it give them a shot at a new Docs user.
Really? Hardcore gamers are the last people who would use this, and the first people to recognize that.
Hmm, Skype doesn't work? I am sure the company with their own browser based video chat system is crying a river.
As the owners of Picnik, they are again very angry, I am sure.
Apple uses their mobile platform to encourage people to use Macs, why can't Google encourage use of their mobile platform with their laptops?
There are always going to be a million reasons why a new device won't fit the current system. But Google is making a big bet on the future, and for my point of view, this seems pretty ingenious. And an utter cash cow if they pull it off.
I don't know if you really understand how many people play WoW. Most of the avid WoW players I've known have not been "hardcore gamers" and they've played WoW on really crappy computers, with Intel GMA graphics and everything. There are many normal people that wouldn't drop the cash on a video card that play WoW.
Also, you didn't address things like downloading pictures from a camera, syncing with an MP3 player (not necessarily iTunes/iPod), or any of the other local, non-browser stuff that a normal person does all the time.
Plug in a camera and it offers to upload them to Picasa. With Google Music there is no need to sync anything. Anytime you want to listen to music on your Android phone it just plays from the cloud.
I'm on a 3-day trip to Paris, with my wife. At the end of day one we go back to our cheap 3-star hotel room, and we want to upload the day's pictures. All 200 of them (that's about 700MB on my photo camera). What do I do? Do I use my Internet roaming? That would be ~700 euro, so no. Do I rely on my hotel's crappy and expensive Internet connection to upload the photos to Picassa? No, because I don't want to lose half a night and ~100 euros (at ~20 euros per hour).
Why can't I just download all the photos on my laptop, no Internet traffic involved, and upload a select few on Facebook, like everybody does? (because what would be the fun of going to Paris if you can't brag about it on FB? right when it happens, not after 3 days, not after 3 weeks).
I would find a Chromebook extremely useful even though I have a laptop, desktop, and Kindle.
A Chromebook would be used for emailing, light reading (aka HN), and web surfing. It'd be an appendage, and not the end-all-be-all of my technology sphere.
I'm also an avid amateur photographer, but like many I never offload my pictures onto a laptop during a vacation or photo-shoot. Years ago, I bought two 16GB flash memory cards for the camera. With that, I can take thousands of pictures and never worry about offloading anything.
If in fact, I absolutely needed to offload data I'd just plug in a handy USB-connected external hard-drive and get instant access to 500GB more space.
As an aside, since you're in Paris you should by an Orange card. Its about 10 euros, and gets you Wifi access at many of their hotspots around town.
Alternatively, you should be able to get Wifi in certain public parks too without paying. I haven't done the later, but I have done the former.
You should be able to download all the photos locally to the Chromebook. Granted I don't have a one but on the Cr-48 it simulates a local filesystem for downloaded files/etc.
Ultimately though it comes down to get the tool that works for you.
Yet they will happily drop $15 a month subscription fee? Who are these people? Are there any stats published by Blizzard?
I'm not sure I understand this, what he was saying is that someone sends you an excel document and all you can open it with is Google Docs then he'll run into issues. Believe me, it is definitely not going to make them want to use Google Docs more. We're not talking about Microsoft Excel screwing up, to the consumer it'll look like Google Docs is crap and not compatible with their friends documents.
They can buy imo.im which lets you use Skype on a the browser. Problem solved.
What's wrong with the Office Web Apps?
> Or when all their friends are playing WoW and they realize that this device doesn't play it.
Nobody expects epic graphics to run on this. Nobody expects that to run on your netbook either (if it does, cool! but that's NOT why you bought a "net"book).
> Or when they want to Skype with their grandkids they realize, they can't do that.
It has a web cam. Do they have gmail accounts? This is likely intended to be purchased by gmail-using people. Just have them sign in to Gmail. It's not like the Chromebooks don't have cameras or anything.
> Or when they take the photo editing class and realize that the laptop doesn't run the software so they trot halfway across campus to use the lab that has the software installed.
Photo editing isn't an expected activity for these devices. And, as time goes by, more and more really awesome photo editing web apps will arrive. You won't need to take a class to learn how to edit photos.
> The subset of people I could recommend this to is crazy small -- maybe zero given the price point.
Please listen to everyone else here; you and your friends are not the target market for this device. We get that you don't like it and your friends won't either. We don't care. I know ~ 20 people who would absolutely love one of these. Our stories are nothing more than useless anecodes. Don't suggest this device is a failure because you alone can't find someone who wants to just use the web.
> Speaking of which, how well does that work with Chrome (seriously asking)?
Very well. Plug it in, dealy pops up.
The same thing that is wrong with all web apps, they are way, way less functional than their desktop counterparts. Crippled, you might say.
Web Word is missing things that I learned in Grade 2, like spacing options. Average users do actually care about this stuff.
> Nobody expects epic graphics to run on this.
Don't talk to many WoW players, eh? It runs on anything, and they will run it on anything. Most have a netbook they use to play on the go. WoW runs quite well on them with settings turned down.
> if it does, cool! but that's NOT why you bought a "net"book.
You're going to tell other people why they bought a computer and what they want to use it for? No wonder you have no problem forcing Chrome OS on your friends and family.
> It has a web cam. Do they have gmail accounts?
Installed userbase matters. You might be able to switch your grandma over to a Google video solution, your friends are just going to laugh, and tell you to get Skype like everyone else. They aren't going to sign up for another service, install, learn and troubleshoot another app just to talk to you.
> Photo editing isn't an expected activity for these devices.
Um, yes it is. You seem to have a lot of weird preconceptions about netbooks based off the name. They are PRIMARILY used to browse the web, but that is not their only usage at all. People use them for all light duty tasks, and simple photo editing counts.
> Please listen to everyone else here; you and your friends are not the target market for this device.
That isn't where he was speaking from. I could be wrong but I didn't pick up his intense need for Office & WoW from his comment, he sounded like someone who actually listens to what average users want instead of trying to tell them what they want from the point of view of what is easier for you, which is a trap many techies fall in.
> Don't suggest this device is a failure because you alone can't find someone who wants to just use the web.
Actually, I'm going to do exactly that. I've encountered tons of users through help desk work and independent consulting. I haven't met a single person that JUST uses their browser. This person doesn't exist in decent numbers, it's why MIDs failed as well.
Google's working on having me do even less as the IT guy for family and friends, and I fully support that.
At least Windows has remote desktop, your recurring appointment is going to turn into weekly "retraining" sessions.
Chrome OS isn't a solution to this, no more than any previous specialized Linux distro. It will work for a small handful of people, but most of your family and friends will reject it instantly, for the reasons Parent listed.
Chrome is clearly meant to be a "do one thing really well" product, not a catch all computing device.
Citation? The devices have USB ports...
"hook it up to my TV in the dorm"
The Cr-48 has a VGA output, IIRC. Perhaps future Chromebooks will have HDMI output?
"sync my iPod/iPad/iPhone"
This is an interesting problem for Google. Apple clearly has no incentive to support the platform. The value proposition for a home user is not strong unless a Chromebook can replace a Windows laptop. Besides photo uploading, what other device integration issues ruin the game? My wife would react negatively if she could not use a scanner. Google's cloud printing scheme is an obvious end-run around direct support of printers. Perhaps they will roll-out a similar scanning scheme?
In all seriousness, Google's proposition to businesses and schools is probably stronger than the offer to individual users. Corps/Schools feel the real cost associated with Windows desktop administration. Unlike individuals where Windows issues feel random, these organizations know the mean time between interventions and can therefore compute their expected annual service cost per Windows desktop.
These Chromebooks might share the iPad's limitations, but they don't seem to make up for it with any strengths that you couldn't get out of a regular netbook.
Can you expand on this? I've read that they're 'great' for portable web development, for some value of 'great'.
It's very very clear that this is not meant for full content creation and gaming and a giant desktop experience. This is meant for the web on the go. If you don't want it, that's fine. But are you seriously saying you can't imagine a single living human being wanting this device? Ken, you're being silly here. Clearly, this is something that fits the needs of a huge number of people.
This needs to be more like a Kindle. A device you get even if you already have a laptop and an iPad. The price needs to be way lower.
Look, it's not about the hardware. What software is that $289 machine going to run? Windows? Right, so you'll be removing viruses for years after people continue to watch seedy porn sites? Sounds like fun.
This device is intriguing and useful because of the software; it stays out of your way and keeps you safe. That's worth the price to nearly everyone who isn't a nerd.
In the old days you had to pay $50/year for virus protection. And you had to go to a brick and mortar store or order it from Amazon. Cost and effort made it less common for end users to have antivirus.
Now, I install it on every box I maintain. I don't even ask them (as before, I'd have to ask, do you want to pay $50/year and many friends would say "no thanks").
I just don't get malware/virus calls anymore.
For the most part I don't get many calls at all anymore. The ones I do are generally usability questions like how do I get my pictures properly downloaded and tagged. Or what's the password to my password manager again (yes, I keep a collection to other people's password managers in my password manager, because I've gotten this call often enough) :-)
That's the key: most users don't download and install things, don't know where to find what they want/need, and if they do they screw it up. They don't have free IT (i.e.: you) to do it for them. They want it like TV: turn it on, pick from a limited set of options, and just use it.
That's what Google just did. Some people want that. Badly.
Edit: Surely you'll see this problem with your scenario. You, Ken Jackson, must use the computer before your friend/family does, in order to make it safe. That's pretty messed up, no? This stuff should just work, no need to go find programs to download before your computer is working properly.
Yes it is.
Unfortunately due to antitrust concerns. I'm sure MS would love to bundle MS Security Essentials, but they fear doing so would likely end up in the courts.
Can't someone build a computer where you turn it on and it works safely the first time?
You can, although ironically its not in the best interest of most computer vendors. They get paid by McAfee or Norton to put a trial version on the boxes, which when expires usually results in a vulnerable box. Sure they could put a free version, but then they wouldn't get paid.
MS does directly sell computers, through their retail channel, with free antivirus pre-installed. AFAIK they're the only ones, but I wouldn't surprised if there is a small niche in the world of it.
Why should they care?
The reasons they should care are obvious. But they shouldn't have to care. I completely agree. It sucks. But I do think the visibility and sucktidiness of it is a lot lower than all of the other things that will suck when they unwittingly bring a ChromeBook home from the store.
Actually these days they can just opt to install Microsoft Security Essentials and they are done.
I could see some people using this and being okay but I see tons of others wondering where their microsoft office is, and to be honest a boat load of other problems from the people who malware is already a problem. (I can even see people asking where the internet is or how to get to facebook or google while looking at a chrome browser window).
These chromebooks sadly will only satisfy a niche market and this market probably would be served just as well with a similarly specked netbook running linux
Apple has shown the "walled garden" works, despite anguished cries from geeks. People want a machine that just turns on (fast), just works, just does most of the things they want to do without any worries about installation/updates/debugging. Give them enough zero-headache capability and they'll adhere to it despite what lacks.
In college I only bought ramen... on sale.
I had a schedule for when all the clubs at the school had free dinners.
I was mad when the taco stand increased their bean burrito price from 89 cents to 94 cents.
In college, I'd consider it a fair deal if you paid me to use the computer, and I'd put a Google sticker on the back of it.
Although it does seem like college kids are a lot richer nowadays.
Some people will believe anything.
But that's exactly what they've done with the monthly hardware/software subscription for businesses and universities. The hardware is free. You just pay $20-$30 permonth.
Edit: Looks like I was missing the fact that the subscription includes "service and support", although it's unclear exactly what that entails. Page supposedly isn't a fan of customer support (http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/03/mf_larrypage/all/1), which doesn't bode well.
This would be perfect and would solve my issue of her randomly getting toolbars installed and somehow getting Firefox into a state of uselessness.
With the ChromeBooks there's no drooling. The limitations hit you like sack of steel. And then you have to explain the upside, which frankly isn't that interesting.
Note the difference. With the iPad you have to convince people its a bad idea to buy one. With the ChromeBook you have to convince people its a good idea to buy one.
edit: why am i being downvoted? because i don't read tech blogs 24/7? because nowhere on the website does it actually say what a chromebook is?
I had actually totally forgotten about ChromeOS until the announcement. That being said, I really like it. For people (and there seems to being a growing number of my friends and acquaintances) who use primarily only web apps this is an awesome idea. I am actually considering buying one for my girlfriend when they come out.
Has any pricing information been released?
Their landing text. Assuming we didn't all see the forbes.com piece about this announcement yesterday, that text doesn't tell me a single thing. (Other than Google has a well-paid marketing department.)
 Being serious. They're selling a computer without showing a picture of it. I was surprised.
Contrast with the current CEO's views on support
"...Denise Griffin, the person in charge of Google’s small customer-support team, asked Page for a larger staff. Instead, he told her that the whole idea of customer support was ridiculous. ..."
If Google is truly going to support these devices, they're going to need a paradigm shift from Page's pre-existing "support doesn't scale" attitude... and bring their A-game.
I think this isn't targeted at the classic computer market, the one that Steve Jobs said is like like trucks. instead, it is an attempt at building a computer market that is closer to general appliances, like TVs or cell phones. Quite similar to iPad's approach, but with more focus on productivity and the web.
Whether it works will depend a lot on marketing, and also on us hackers creating the compelling web ecosystem. I already mostly live just in the browser and many do the same, so maybe the world is ready for this. We'll see
Part of the difference is that with ipod, apple had no other incentive for its design than to make consumers happy and thus get money. That isn't even close to the case here. Google has strategic objectives, and it hopes to promote those aims with chromebook. Google has a ton of bias distorting its vision as to what will excite users.
These new models have dual-core atoms, which will help, but mostly it's just the awful single-core performance that gets you. Even tying emails in gmail was an extremely painful experience; often the characters on the screen would lag significantly behind my tying, and it would take forever to load the different pages.
I don't think anyone is arguing that you can use these things for "real work". I'm going to argue that if you care about your time, you can't even use these things for any of the other stuff they advertise. Unless the new processors are significantly better, I'd say get something else.
The cavet being I cannot run hundreds of tabs, I usually keep it around 5, and when I'm on a flashy website it slows everything down.
Its getting better almost everyday though and now I can almost watch hulu videos in 480p.
From a product perspective it does have some nice benefits for the non-techies. I'd love to get my parents something that they could carry around to read email and view pictures on which wasn't waiting for them to drive by some hijacked site. The pitch about 'let your friend use it' was also clearly the other 'big complaint' about the iPad they are addressing. I hope that means the iPad will get a 'guest' mode where you can hand it to someone without them getting access to your cookies/email etc.
You don't need to immediately download another users apps. You just need to be able to quickly hide your private info.
It would be a mistake for the iPad (or Android tablets) to never get this feature.
Edit: In case it's not clear, anyone who looks at my Xoom - without even touching it - can immediately read my first three or four emails. Wonderfully convenient for personal use, terrible for privacy worries.
Couldn't they just have their data access mapped toward space under each current_user account?
Sure, you'd have to flush any cached apps, leading to a little more load time here and there, but even then maybe not until/unless the new user tried to switch to a task still-running under another account.
All data access going through the fairly narrow SDKs, and a lack of willy-nilly multi-tasking would seem to make this a fairly straightforward project.
ChromeOS has a lot of potential in institutional settings (much like the electric car) where corner cases don't exist or there can be a small handful of special purpose machines for those cases. IT costs for most organizations would plummet and manageability would go up significantly. I can't imagine how much money and software is used to lock down and secure Windows machines and back up data nine different ways. And subsequently how much is spent recovering or mitigating the loss / theft of sensitive data.
That's some very important information to put in a footnote at the bottom of the webpage. I'll have to check network availability in my most common locations before deciding whether or not this is useful for me or one of my children.
~PS OBVIOUSLY this computer will not ACTUALLY be always connected in the REAL WORLD, what were you expecting
Really weird of them.
Compare this page with an Apple page trying to sell a product: http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/ or http://www.apple.com/ipod
There's absolutely no comparison. My non-technical friends (heck, even me) are just absolutely more receptive towards that second page.
For all of Google's resources as a gargantuan company...can't they just find some small dash of good design somewhere?
(Not bashing Chrome OS. Looks absolutely wonderful. This is just what I thought when I visited the page...and HN sometimes is for nitpicking :)
The ipad, although superficially similar to a chromebook in some senses, is a completely different product. Its design, both software and hardware, is utterly and completely unlike chromebook. You won't get far extrapolating ipad's success to chromebook.
Microsoft would not be able to sell a version of Word without print capabilities, even though it would be slightly simpler. No one would buy it obviously. I think a lot of technically oriented people have the wrong idea about what constitutes a valuable trade-off between simplicity and power in a product. Like I mentioned, people want well-designed.
Chromebook is an uncanny valley netbook, and it will be a disappointment. Unless I'm wrong. :)
PS - Another thing technically literate folks overestimate due to tribulations of the past is the extent to which viruses continue to be a nuisance.
- boots in 8 seconds
- updates itself without bothering you
- battery that lasts all day
- backups taken care of (all data is in the cloud)
- built-in 3G with 100MB/month included
- doesn't get viruses
- Boots in 8 seconds: Why power off your laptop? I don't nor anyone I know.
- Updates itself without bothering you: Low value.
- Battery lasts all day: This is strong, if verified.
- Backups taken care of: Implications are mixed at best.
- Built-in 3G: This is probably stronger than some will give credit.
- Doesn't get viruses: As I suggested above, low value.
Yes, with the Chrome computers, you might not get viruses. But that would be the same as if you got any Linux Netbook that they sell, and would still have many more features than the Chromebook.
You also bring out a lot of anti-features with the Chromebook as well. When you give this to your parents, and they ask where their little blue "E" is, or where their Spider Solitaire is, what will you say? What about those students and businesses that require to have certain software on their system, that the Chromebook doesn't support? Suddenly you exchange technical problems like getting rid of viruses with explaining how to do things in a new environment, with new rules.
And at the end of the day, is it worth it? For me, I'd rather take that $450 dollars (or $350) and buy a fully functional PC that can run all my favorite software and also get me access to the web.
That is not to say, however, that I would not buy one in the future. If they brought the cost down ($150 would be almost an instant buy for me), and/or had a fully matured "app" store if you will, I would probably change my mind. But I look at it, and the only key features I see are the great battery life, and free 100MB 3G access a month, and a whole lot of negatives and unanswered questions (Are they going to have bad customer service like they did with the Nexus? Are they going to give up on this like the Wave, or keep pushing it?)
Thats less than a workday's worth of use at a desktop computer. And you're telling me that's the limit for a device that relies so heavily on the cloud?
Chromebook that have built-in 3G include up to 100MB per month
of Mobile Broadband service for 2 years, provided by Verizon Wireless.
According to this CNET report ( http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20061896-266.html ) chromebooks will be sold in several EU countries, so I assume there'll be a UMTS/HSPA model sold with contracts from various carriers.
(It's fairly clear that Google are targeting the same "curated computing" approach as Apple, but via a radically different delivery vehicle -- a netbook-like notebook PC rather than a tablet with a "clean sheet" multitouch user interface. Be interesting to see how the competition shapes up over the next year.)
Looks like Dutch users can expect wireless from kpn, with a gig of transfer per (garbled) for free, and then it's 20 euros/200MB.
Hell, I should have done the English/uk, They're getting internets from three, and It's 3gig transfer free for the first three months, then pay as you go after.
I mean here in Sweden I can get mobile broadband (i.e. a USB dongle I plug into my laptop) from Three with a speed of (up to) 6mbit/s and no datacap for 9 euro/month. 25 euro/month gives me up to 32mbit/s, and still no caps.
I wouldn't be surprised if they have some sort of operator kickback scheme for the chromebooks, but we'll see if/when they launch them in Scandinavia as well.
For anyone who's the the family tech support guy, it's almost worth buying these for your relatives just so you don't have to deal with cleaning up their malware infected, bloated PCs every 6 months.
$28/user/month for businesses.
$20/user/month for students.
How do you get J. Random User to use Linux?
Don't call it Linux. Don't make it look like Linux. And Chrome for Windows synced over to an identical looking ChromeOS means he's escaped Microsoft lockin without even knowing it.
Why do you want them to use Linux? Is it about the linux kernel? Is it about the GNU userland tools? Is it about Gnome/KDE, the configurability?
Android is 'Linux', but it's missing most of the Linux bits that I want. (ChromeOS is also missing most of the bits I want too.)
Possibly you weren't using computers in the mid-90s when Microsoft was synonymous with evil. Yes, we are merely nursing meaningless old grudges, but victory is sweet.
I'm not going to say Linux is better. It's just spite. How dare you get so rich selling rubbish to idiots? - I'm European and a lot of us really are communists.
That happened a long time ago. Google is already activating 400,000 Linux computers every single day for people all around the world. They call it Android.
You, sir, are living in the past. (Sure, the tablets aren't shipping in the hundreds of thousands per day. But they will be soon)
My mother would probably call your tablet "an ipad" because she understands the equivalence even less and would use a genericized trademark.
I can't find any info at Amazon/BestBuy or official website
$20/month/user for students.
(from the Engadget live feed)
I wonder what the timeline is on this, and if it will be frustratingly slow vs. a netbook.
It doesn't mention harddrive specs because this is supposed to be a "cloud computer." However, it definitely has a harddrive and I wonder if it is a SSD or regular spinning disc drive.
Since ChromeOS is still pretty deficient at file management (even for picture uploading and such), I don't see any reason why they'd provide bigger hard drives unless they were intended to dual boot.
It also allows international travellers to have two of them, one at home and one abroad. They don't have to carry one through customs and subject it to an unreasonable search by border agents. For a small number of people this will be a good value. (I know it assumes you trust the Google cloud more than you trust DHS but that isn't too big of a stretch)
I used to sell thin clients that ran off of CompactFlash cards. (they ran a version of XP, too)
I think the cost of the device should be low, most people in 2011 will buy these as an add-on gadget rather than one-sto-shop. I don't know of many add-on gadgets being massively popular while costing more than $250.
I don't think this is a PC, this is an internet window. What google probably chose wrong was the netbook form factor. It's an internet window which looks like a PC, specially the one that Steve Jobs trashed at iPad launch.
I use OS X as it has the perfect mix of Unixy goodness where superb OSS developer tools run great, graphics tools like Photoshop, and VMWare for Linux. Honestly, it is such a good platform, I cannot for the life of me think of a use-case for Chromebook. I'm actually a bit shocked that many HN users seem to be touting this thing as something revolutionary and/or desirable.
I already have a thin and light laptop that I'm pretty happy with - hopefully I can install Chrome OS from an image onto it to tinker with.
you can try it now
you can try the whole thing on a compatible laptop when the chromiumos builds are the same as the chromeos these ship with.
ChromiumOS, (build or download built) on anything it runs on
You can't build the browser Chrome yourself, because that is Google's trademark. But you can build Chromium.
There is little difference between ChromeOS and ChromiumOS, so it doesn't matter. What's wrong with something built outside google? Chromium will have all the beta features first, so it'll be better.
I guess the question really comes down to whether or not Google is planning significant work on the hardware hooks into the OS - will it be possible for manufacturers to write ChromeOS drivers for their devices, or will Google develop that on their own?
You can now give businesses an option that doesn't light the checkbook on fire while supporting all the bleeding edge web technologies we all wish were more widely supported. Sounds pretty awesome to me.
Anyway, the gist is, a web application (say, Picasa, or Facebook) can register as a file handler for certain kinds of file types (say images) and then handle the upload from the client. A little contextual menu comes up when you plug in a sd card or whatever that asks you which (if any) file handler you'd like to deal with the files.
as demo'd here: