The world of technology is changing very rapidly. Due to the stupendous success in miniaturisation of integrated circuits (IC), the computing devices are getting smaller and smaller in size. Add to that the immense potential of cloud computing, you have modern devices with a physical hardware. software user interface and all the services stored far away in what is called the computing ‘cloud’. The sudden explosion in the use of portable handheld devices of these days is mainly due to these developments. Into a world filled with PCs. Macs, iPhones and iPads, a small but simple innovation is slowly making waves. Enter: Chrome OS.
During the years of my undergrad education, Google was the main goto place for all things information. I still remember with pride the days when rumors of Gmail first surfaced and how it was an invitation-only service. When I first got my Gmail invite, I was overjoyed to setup an account and could see the potential in this different take of email by Google. Without any delay, services were added on top the platform beginning with Google Talk, Orkut then slowly Google Docs & spreadsheets, Google Labs, Google Wave etc. These developments were contrary to the rumors that surfaced in those days regarding the emergence of a Google OS which was spoken of, and yearned for in high regard.
Those were the days of an over bloated Microsoft and its Windows platform which dominated the entire computing world. How much I hated that ecosystem in those days is beyond words. It was so prone to virus and malware attacks that there a system formatting at least once in 6 months. Add to that the ugly Internet Explorer which couldn’t even be deleted from the system and the notorious blue screen of death. Even though Mozilla Firefox came as a redemption, it couldn’t successfully dislodge the notorious Internet Explorer.
Enter Chrome browser, Google’s bastardised version of the Firefox browser. It became so popular quickly due to its many quirky features. It was well received. But the users were still waiting for the OS messiah that would rescue them from the evil clutches of the evil, fat and stubborn Microsoft Windows.
Apple came into the scene with the OSX platform for their iMacs and Macbooks. The success of these devices were limited by their lack of availability elsewhere in the world apart from North America and Europe and add to it the exorbitant costs with owning a Mac. The Mac vs. PC campaigns of those days did dent Microsoft’s reputation and they resorted to copying many of the features in OSX which made its way to the much reviled Windows Vista and later the respected Windows 7. Apple quickly moved to aggravate the demise of the PC era by concentrating on iPods, iPhones and iPads which quickly became mainstream and popular.
Google after accumulating all the information in the world, quickly realised that the future was in cloud computing. They aggressively developed the Chrome browser and its capabilities in addition to providing value added services in productivity, leisure, entertainment etc. by developing webapps for the purpose. Due to the inherent power of cloud computing it was simply easy to accelerate the progression to a hardware-free and software-based solution to today’s computing needs. Partnering with all the industry leaders, they developed Chromebooks which were dirt cheap and a better alternative to the extinct netbooks.
Due to the rapid development in Internet connectivity in schools, these Chromebooks were quickly introduced there. Especially in North America, they became quickly popular. This success was bolstered by the power to communicate through Google Hangouts, productively collaborate through Google Drive, access to the world’s information by Google search, entertainment and knowledge by Youtube etc. The potential of this OS is breathless, especially in the field of education. Add to that these devices are so dirt cheap, the OS is hardware independent and updated constantly; all that one needs is a Google account and he/she can access his/her work/data anywhere on any device with access to an Internet connection. Since the OS is device independent, there is no question of virus or malware attacks of any kind.
This to me is the power of modern computing. The ability to transcend all the barriers that prevent effective generation of content using modern computing tools is highly necessary. Chrome OS has been highly successful in enabling the users with these abilities. If any of you haven’t these tools today, please do so immediately so that your content is available for consumption by the world.
This article is in no way endorsed by Google and the views are entirely of the author only.