Head in the clouds?

Head In The Clouds Energise 2.0 Social MediaGoogle have launched their latest piece of hardware – the Chromebook. It is a laptop with a difference; it only accesses your online information (or the cloud if you prefer).

Some are already slating it for being well – before it’s time (see related ReadWriteWeb article). Can we blame them? It doesn’t have local software applications, forget about storage and it needs a 3g or wifi connection to be at all productive.

But how far fetched is this vision of the future?

I already keep a backup of all of my files on Dropbox, I have two main email accounts both of which are stored on Google’s Gmail servers. Many of my other activities involve accessing and updating hosted blogs, networks and applications – none of which require locally stored data.

Whilst I still rely on collaborating and saving on my C drive, mostly word and excel documents, I also frequently make use of Google Docs where more complex collaboration is required. If I absolutely had to have Microsoft Office cross compatibility Office365 might make this possible.

In short, I have stealthily moved much of my life to the cloud already. The question that remains is around network connectivity. With the exception of a few journeys I think my laptop time is pretty much spent also connected to the Internet.

Then there is the upside- I’m unlikely to ever pick up a virus nor need much in the way of local storage or processing power. Cheaper computing and a laptop that starts immediately would be another huge plus. I would never need to understand the technical intricacies nor fail messages of Windows or Linux ever again. I can also forget about patches and software upgrades. Finally and perhaps most importantly, I’m unlikely to lose any of my data when my laptop dies nor leave my data for others to find (on a train, perhaps).

Head in the clouds or nod to the not too distant future? I’ll leave you to decide.


As always comments welcome.



About Alan Stevenson

Over the last fifteen years I have split my time almost equally between Developing Digital strategies for public and private sector clients and helping organisations visualise, specify, plan and optimise technology-based solutions within their organisation.
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3 Responses to Head in the clouds?

  1. Hi Alan,

    I think at the moment it’s a vision to the future rather than being a particularly useful piece of technology just now.

    My own view is it’s fairly limited in what it can do, it’s not at all “cheap” as you can buy a laptop for less or indeed an iPad or other tablet for around the same cost.

    One of the many things Google is good at is moving on from their original versions very quickly and improving the functionality and usefulness of their devices like we’ve seen with the android tablet etc.

    One thing is for sure, the technology and way of working we will get exposed to and the benefit of over the next few years will be great to see.


    • Alan Stevenson says:

      Thanks Kevin – I think you are right on the “what Google are good at” front as with Android they gave away the operating system to other handset manufacturers (that was their innovation). Can’t help but think that their masterplan is not to punt laptops but to sell cloud computing services, more of us using Google Apps from all of our devices – mobile, laptop and tablet. The clever part is that Google are providing the OS and marketing muscle and companies like Samsung and Acer will reduce the costs for them. We will soon see Chromebook operating system on many more laptop machines (the price will definitely come down). The question is will we be happy relying an our internet connection on the last refuge for stored data – I think enough of us will to make this a goer longer term. I think this is increasingly less of a technical issue and more of a cultural issue. I’m noticing that Google (using 3rd party hardware providers), Microsoft (with their hibrid OS and Office 365) and Apple (own hardware, iOS and newly announced Cloud offering) are all positioning themselves in this area. Only Google are putting “all in” for cloud computing. I think it will stand up. As you say, the big winners here are you and I, more options can only be good for all of us.

  2. Pingback: Energise 2-0 Social Media Digest Vol 1. No. 11 | Energise 2-0 Social Media

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