It’s a computer Jim...but not as we know it!
By Richard Messik, Chartered Accountant and Co-founder of Cloud Advocates
One of the more interesting - non Apple - developments last year was the launch by Google of their Chrome based laptop. Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity of road testing one of these as produced by Samsung.
At first glance it looks just like any other laptop although its surprisingly weighty. A closer examination of the periphery reveals hidden slots for USB connections and SD cards - I say hidden because they are behind pull down slots, almost as if the message is “you don’t really need these but if you insist...”
Once the lid is raised, however, all becomes clear. Almost instantaneous boot up - no time to make the usual cup of tea whilst waiting for a windows laptop to kick into life - and all you see is the familiar Chrome browser and literally nothing else.
To those of us who are used to working mainly on the web it is not really any different from usual in that Cloud based files can be accessed as usual and everything that would usually be used through the browser on your desktop can be done here. There is a limited file management system but it works far more efficiently if you are using online storage, such as Dropbox or indeed Google Docs.
Any one using Chrome as their principal browser will be familiar with the App store - not as comprehensive as Apple but there is more than enough add ons to enhance productivity etc. And for most every day procedures it is more than adequate.
So is it a replacement for the normal laptop? For the Cloud enthusiasts amongst us, most definitely. I work entirely in the Cloud and really do not access anything on the hard drive of my desktop. For those not so comfortable with not having their feet on the ground, it is much more of a leap.
Where it does come into its own, is for those organisations who have rolled out Google Apps as their main operating system in place of Microsoft Exchange. Making new applications available to the team via the Google Apps interface is efficient and extraordinarily cost effective and it is in this arena that I can see it gaining traction.
Richard Messik is a Chartered Accountant who specialises in Cloud Computing. He is a co founder of Cloud Advocates,an association of consultants who aim to demystify the Cloud and provide pragmatic help and advice for businesses, organizations and accounting practices. To find out more, visit www.cloudadvocates.com
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