It’s never a good idea to bet against Google, though they’ve certainly made mistakes in the past, but the more I hear about Chrome OS the less I think it will be a success. Here are my three big problems with Chrome OS:
1: Over reliance on Cloud Computing
Firstly, while the growth of cloud computing is undeniable, I think Chrome OS takes it too far. As the Wikileaks controversy has shown us, putting your faith in the cloud can be dangerous if you ever find yourself on the wrong side of government. Keeping your digital life synced with Chrome OS and Google’s cloud services means you have to trust that they will continue not to be evil.
Cloud computing also requires almost constant connectivity. It seems to me that instead of just relying on your computer, you also then have to rely on your connection and the remote cloud services you use. That’s more stuff to go wrong, which is bad odds. Will users really want to put so much trust in online services?
Can Chrome’s alleged speed and ease really be enough to sell the idea of living totally in the cloud? Current portable devices aren’t seriously hampered by local storage, especially as flash drives are becoming more widespread. Apple’s latest MacBook Airs have shown you can get plenty of local storage in a very light and very sexy package, running a proven full OS. Can Chrome OS really hope to beat that?
Currently, getting started with Chrome is a breeze, simply sign in to your Google account and you’re good to go. But as Microsoft found with Internet Explorer; too much integration can lead to charges of being anti-competitive. The European Union is already investigating the search giant for allegedly promoting its own services unfairly. Were Google forced to offer other online services as part of the Chrome OS experience, it would be much messier and perhaps lose much of its simplistic allure.
This is the big one: With Android being the chosen OS for lots of tablet computers, is there really much space for this netbook OS? Android is better developed and already popular with consumers. It’s also well integrated into Google’s services, and the gap between using them from a mobile browser and a desktop is rapidly diminishing. What’s the big advantage of Chrome OS over Android? Even some ex-Googlers are predicting Android will kill Chrome OS before it really gets off the ground.