If you are tired of running virus scanners, clean-up utilities, disk defragmenters, firewalls, and tired of having to ask a relative or neighbor to get your machine working again (or worse- having to pay someone to do it) then cloud-based computing may be for you. ChromeOS is designed to be an extremely fast operating system, start up in less than 10 seconds, and resume from sleep instantly.
One very important thing to note is that most Chromebooks do not have much storage space. I haven’t seen one with anything bigger than a 16 gigabyte solid state drive. However, you can use online storage, like Box.com and Google Drive. Setup for Chromebooks is suprisingly simple: start it up, connect to your wifi network, and you’re ready. A Chromebook is a fantastic laptop to give to someone who isn’t computer-literate. For advanced users, it may not be the best laptop. You can’t run Windows applications, and most “applications” (which are just shortcuts for a website) require an internet connection.
The Chromebooks were designed with security in mind: websites run sandboxed which means that malware can only affect what’s inside the sandbox, and can’t affect anything that is outside of it. The Chromebooks also have some features which would be extremely appealing to consumers, like it’s fast boot- the Chromebook is ready to be used in less than 8 seconds. Cloud storage is also a very convenient feature built into the Chromebook- you can take your files anywhere (with an internet connection, anyway).
There are also some disadvantages to Chromebooks. Is it the best idea to rely primarily on Google’s servers, with all the news of break-ins and data loss? The Chromebook is also linked with your Google account: Google could potentially collect more information about you this way. You also have less choice when using a Chromebook. Would you buy a laptop with an operating system where you had to use the default browser? To take advantage of most of the Chromebook’s features, you also need a good internet connection. Most Chromebooks come with Verizon 3G internet built in, but Verizon only gives you 100 megabytes/month. 100 megabytes can go pretty quick.
The Chromebook essentially is a web browser. It can’t run Windows applications, however, but you can access other machines running Windows on your Chrome device. With Chrome Remote Desktop, a web application for Chrome, you can access and run software stored on any of your other computers, over the internet.
Overall, the Chromebook would be a fantastic laptop to give to someone who isn’t very computer-literate. They’re fast, offer tons of web applications, backs up with Google’s cloud storage automatically, and have anti-virus and security measures built in. They also automatically update, so the user doesn’t need to worry about constantly needing to update their laptop. Chromebooks also have very good battery life- 6 to 8 hours of usage. Most users primarily use web applications and spend most of their time on the internet. The Chromebooks would fit the needs of most users, but the more advanced users may not like the operating system.