Archives: Google Chrome OS - Advantages & Disadvantages

Originally published in October 2010
Simon Nguyen

For nearly two decades, the PC operating system market has been dominated by Microsoft Windows. According to web tracker StatCounter, various versions of the Windows operating system account for roughly 90% of the global OS market. This is largely attributed to the lack of robust competition from other software companies. Microsoft’s monopoly will soon face a stern test, however, as fellow tech giant Google is set to release of its own operating system named Chrome OS.

Google is a company known for its forward-thinking, and Chrome OS will not be an exception. The new operating system is designed to specifically target the Internet generation. Chrome OS can be envisaged as a super web environment where life activities such as work and play are seamlessly integrated. The idea behind this operating system comes from the fact that web browsing is taking up most of one’s computer time. If we are spending so much time on the web, why not make it the focus of computing? Chrome OS is an attempt to transform your local computer into a global entity, active and fully connected.

One of the major advantages of Chrome OS is its impressive speed. Due to the fact that there is virtually no local program to load, the startup time for Chrome OS is expected to be in seconds rather than minutes. Unlike Windows which uses up a lot of the system’s resources, Google’s new operating system is designed to be light-weight and efficient. Chrome OS makes it possible that all computing activities can be conducted online. The user’s data and applications will not be saved locally. They will instead be stored at dedicated servers; users will have anytime access to their data and programs. This will ultimately eliminate useless system processes, reduce memory usage, and remove the need for a robust hard disk.

Another advantage Google Chrome OS has over traditional operating systems is in the area of computer security. Users will no longer have to install antivirus programs to protect their computers. Since all computing activities are done online, you can now leave the task of securing your data to providers of servers and online applications. This is a good thing as online hosts like Google are much better at protecting one’s data than the individual. Additionally, Chrome OS offers automatic updates and a sandboxing feature that isolates malware-infected or unstable programs from other applications and the system’s memory.

Will Chrome OS be able to grab substantial market share from Microsoft Windows? While Google Chrome OS may be able to put a dent on Microsoft’s monopoly in the long run, it won’t be as successful in the short term. Since the new operating system is web-centric, users are required to have anytime access to the Internet to maximize Chrome usage. Moreover, one will also need a reliable high speed Internet connection to run data-heavy applications or to perform multitasking. This is in contrast to traditional operating systems which allow users to run programs online as well as offline. The lack of offline support is a huge disadvantage for Chrome OS, as many people still don’t have 24/7 access to high speed Internet. Additionally, it is still unclear as to whether or not web applications can match disk-based applications in features and performance. 

These key drawbacks are likely to prevent Chrome OS from achieving instant success at launch. The operating system, however, should still be a hit with tech-savvy individuals. One would also expect Google Chrome OS to become the preferred operating system of mini laptops and netbooks, both of which are designed to run web applications. As high speed Internet becomes more widely available, Chrome OS will in due course evolve into a bigger threat to Microsoft Windows and other traditional operating systems.

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