Google attempts to bring cloud technology back down to Earth

In a bid to compete with super brands Apple and Microsoft, Google has embarked on the difficult project of bringing cloud computing to the masses.  In May this year Google released the Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook which is their second foray into the consumer cloud computing market.  The new Chromebook has been met with mixed reactions – CNET gave it a miserable 2 star rating while all user ratings on the same site awarded it 5 stars. 

Whether or not Google’s latest installation of cloud computing technology pleases today’s critics and users is irrelevant to the main issue: is cloud computing likely to be a serious player in the consumer computer market in the not too distant future?

Cloud computing devices such as the Chromebook differ from traditional computer systems as software and hardware can be accessed via an internet connection rather than needing to be installed within a computer’s hardware.  There is no desktop interface and almost everything is processed through software similar to a browser. 

Benefits of the Chromebook:

  • the start-up time is significantly less than a traditional computer (only 2-3 seconds to get to the login screen)
  • as the Chromebook does not require a large hard drive, there is space for a more powerful battery
  • devices last longer because their hard drive isn’t a major component of their processing speed
  • all apps and software are updated automatically within the cloud
  • there is a higher degree of customisation – users can choose the software and requirements that works for them

The downside of the Chromebook is its limited functionality when there is no internet connection.  This, along with the Chromebook’s current relatively high pricing, seems to be the main reason for the criticism it has received.

So – will they get it right next model? Will they get the perfect mix of browser-enabled performance and offline functionality? Or will they develop online solutions to replace how we traditionally work offline?  Only time and technology will tell.

Author: Virgina Bashford is an Account Executive at justONE