Google Chrome OS: My Concerns

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 20, 2009
Updated • May 21, 2018

Now that the source code of Chrome OS is in the open, the project has entered the second stage of the development phase.

I suggest to read the Chrome OS announcement article that was posted yesterday, and take a look at the video posted if you have not followed the news about Google's operating system closely.

In short: Chrome OS will be a cloud based operating system. This means that the majority of data - Google even says all data - will be stored in the cloud. The cloud means remote servers on the Internet.

It's the same thing that many web services like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, YouTube or Flickr already do, but on a larger scale.

Chrome OS will be minimalist which has the advantages that it will boot fast. Several security concepts like sandboxing processes or verifying core systems during startup make it harder to attack and less likely to spread.

Google Chrome OS: My Concerns

There is one premise though that users have to understand. Chrome OS is not aiming for the same market that Microsoft is targeting with Windows or Apple is targeting with Mac OS. At least not in the years to come. Why? Because it is too limited. Here are a few examples:

  • Cloud based data storage means that an Internet connection is required to access the data. Google probably plans to make it possible to store data on the local computer system (Google Gears?) so that it can be accessed without Internet connection. This does however mean that a fast connection is required to upload, download and sync the data. It could on the other hand be the perfect system for users who want to use it for very specific operations, i.e. banking, chatting or social networking to name a few.
  • Entertainment: If you want to play that 10 Gigabyte ultra-HD video sitting on your desktop you can do so by clicking on it. How will this work if the video is in the cloud? What about an audio collection? This could become really problematic if data cannot be stored offline, especially for users on slow Internet connections. But then again, who says that this is one of the applications of the OS?
  • Games are another area where Chrome OS will not cut it. You can play browser games sure but that's it for now.

There are however some advantages. This (likely) includes lower hardware requirements to run the operating system (not only cpu or memory but also hard drive space, optical drives), data backups that are taken care of, or a lower battery usage for the system.

Chrome OS will be a very specialized operating system in my opinion, and not the Microsoft Windows killer that many users hope it to become.

Additional information about Chrome OS, including links to source code, information for developers and contributors, and videos that explain what it is and some of its core concepts, are available on the Chromium website. There you also find a list of devices released by companies such as Samsung, Acer, HP or Dell.

Article Name
Google Chrome OS: My Concerns
The article looks at Google's new Chrome OS operating system, and lists the concerns that I have, and the applications it is designed for, and not suitable for.
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  1. Robomaster said on November 23, 2009 at 12:07 am

    If you’re worried about games, check out

    They’re doing a great job that you can have Halo Multiplayer-Like games in a browser without almost any trouble – it’s just that nobody’s utilizing the technology to do this except for a few people.

  2. Thomas Wade said on November 22, 2009 at 9:46 am

    I think it is an excellent time for Google to get into the operating system market. However I tryed a version of Chrome OS in a virtual machine and I didn’t like it.

    The newer concept of ‘cloud’ computing is interesting, but do we know for sure that it is the way of the future?

    I believe we need a corporate linux operating system to hit the market. But chrome OS really strips down the capabilities of linux.

    Linux is much more secure for two main reasons. The most important one is any thing that has to do with changing the system around requires an admin password. Contrary to how movies and tv shows about password breaking…IT really is a much more difficult task than you ;may realize. Effective Linux virus’s would have to break a password to be effective.
    The other thing is software comes from repositories. So it is tested before it hits your machine.

    Why can’t google come up with its own version of linux that supports applications? I think this would be a much better direction for google.

  3. Jojo said on November 20, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    A couple of links worth reviewing!

    Privacy & Google Chrome Browser

    Google Gmail/Chrome privacy issues

  4. Dotan Cohen said on November 20, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    > Chrome OS will be a very specialized operating system in my opinion and
    > not the Microsoft Windows killer that many users hope it to become.

    Actually, it looks like MS Windows will become the specialized OS, only for use by those who need local storage and offline access. And what about media, you ask? I would imageine Google having their own media library, all users could access what they want for a price.

    1. Martin said on November 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm

      Dotan, think of camcorder videos or video and audio rips. Even if they offer a media library it is most likely not a global one. What if I prefer English TV shows but cannot watch them because I’m living in a country where they are not offered? I’m really skeptical about exclusive cloud storage space. Don’t think it will work at all unless the user only wants to do something that can already be done today and does not need a lot of (if any) storage space locally at all. How many users do you think that will be?

  5. bill said on November 20, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Your statement, “Chrome OS is not aiming for the same market that Microsoft is targeting with Windows or Apple is targeting with Safari” may confuse some readers, as Safari is only a web browser – not an operating system such as Windows or Chrome OS. I use Windows, with Safari and Chrome web browsers, which sounds even more confusing, but I understand it (mostly…I think…….).

    1. Martin said on November 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm

      Bill I meant Mac OS, not Safari. Not sure how I ended up writing Safari, will correct it asap. Thanks for spotting it.

  6. ku said on November 20, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I totally understand your concerns about Chrome OS, and several of my friends take your point of view as well.

    What I think Chrome OS is trying to do is, as you’ve noted, targeting the netbook market. And in doing so, I think they’re hoping to revolutionize that niche market: create a snappy, conveniently portable computer that does one thing but does it damn well.

    The biggest concern that I’ve encountered is that Chrome OS’s limited set of functions are already carried out partly by smartphones and partly by laptops. A smartphone is fully capable, if not superior, in serving to quickly check one’s e-mail or look something up on Wikipedia and the like. A laptop is far superior when working on large or professional documents and such (unless they can somehow make great strides on cloud-based word processing).

    That said, I think the most crucial factor in Chrome OS’s success (other than that it does well what it’s supposed to do) is the pricing point of these machines. But given the general range that was mentioned (comparable to the current prices of netbooks on the market), I’m a bit worried that it’s value would be marginal considering the growing prevalence of smartphones and falling laptop prices. In my personal opinion, I think the sweet spot would be $150, give or take $50.

    But I’m no expert, so we’ll see what happens. I’m very excited, though, to say the least.

  7. Nephersir7 said on November 20, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Chrome OS is made for netbooks (although it could be of some use on my 8 year old pc)

    Offline usage concerns:-“net”-book = connected to the internet? And when its not, gears, html 5 offline storage, etc will come to the rescue..

    Multimedia concerns: -who watches hd video on a netbook?

    Gaming concerns: -who uses a netbook to play games?

    Also, because its open source, there will probably be community builds addressing the lack of local storage, etc.

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