December 27, 2010
by Mark Ollig
The first column yours truly wrote for 2010 was about the new Google notebook computer.
In that column, I wrote how Google anticipated their new Web-based notebook computer would arrive sometime late this year.
Well, apparently Google feels this is late enough in the year.
The new Google Chrome OS (operating system) notebook, or “Cr-48” computer was made available to Google’s pilot program beta testers about two weeks ago.
Google describes this first effort to provide a strictly cloud-based computing notebook as “their test notebook” and “the first of its kind.”
The notebook itself has a 12.1-inch LCD display screen with a resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels, a full-size keyboard, and a large surface touchpad.
The notebook weighs in at 3.8 pounds and operates with an Intel Atom N455 processor.
Its internal battery supplies about eight hours of continuous user computing activity and roughly one week’s worth of idle or stand-by reserve time.
There is a USB and SD card slot on the notebook. One beta tester mentioned “these don’t yet work properly,” and even Google states they do not serve any real purpose – yet.
To operate the Google notebook, one needs to be connected to the Internet and signed in under their Google account.
This notebook computer turns on (boots) very quickly (about 10 seconds) and will go in and out of standby or sleep mode instantly.
The Google Chrome notebook has been described as a larger netbook-type computer with a Web browser acting as the operating system inside of it.
What makes this particular notebook unique is that it uses “the cloud” as the venue, where all of its computer settings, music, video, work documents, games and other web applications reside.
I do see an advantage with this.
If the notebook computer became damaged or lost, a person could log back into their program applications using another Chrome notebook.
The user would have the very same desktop-like access to all programs and files in the identical manner they were accessed from the original notebook.
All of the computer’s bookmarks, applications and settings will be restored from the cloud.
This does mean, however, that you need to maintain a connection to the Internet in order to manage your applications.
The Google Chrome notebook is specifically designed to manage applications and programs from the Internet (using direct connection or wireless).
I read where Google is working to adapt their “Google Docs” online application to work in an offline mode. They expect this to be operational early next year.
The Google Chrome notebook allows for using multiple applications at the same time. Each application is opened using a separate tab – just like a regular Web browser can do.
A “full screen” mode key on the Chrome notebook allows the one application being used to occupy the entire display screen.
There are many applications and programs available for use with the Google Chrome notebook.
The thousands of existing applications now available for the Chrome Web browser (and soon to be added Chrome notebook) are accessible from the Chrome Web Store. They are easy to get – much like how folks access the iTunes Web Store or the Apple Store for their music and software applications.
The Google Chrome Web Store is at: https://chrome.google.com/webstore.
Google states the Chrome notebook evolves with the Web. Every time the Chrome notebook is turned on and connects to the Internet, it automatically upgrades itself with the latest features and fixes.
One feature on the Chrome notebook allows a user to keep a conversation going with an open chat window while composing an e-mail message.
One of the beta testers mentioned printing, from the notebook via Google’s Web Print, has some issues, and is “not stable.”
This beta tester also questions how one could easily move all existing music, photo, and video files stored on a computer hard drive to the cloud if a person wished to transition fully to cloud computing.
Sounds like the makings of a future Bits & Bytes column to me.
If all of our future computing does take place inside the cloud, we will no longer need the conventional Windows or Mac operating systems inside our notebook or desktop computers.
This is because the real action will be taking place over the network and inside the cloud; our computer will become just another simple hardware “device” connected to it.
The CNET website uploaded a YouTube video explaining their beta testing experiences using the new Google Chrome Cr-48 notebook at: tinyurl.com/25e6d3s.
Google has their own YouTube video at: tinyurl.com/34vtnnq.
You can also learn more about the Google Chrome notebook from: tinyurl.com/2g5vo2r.
Google created a humorous video about what happens when your new Chrome notebook is damaged beyond repair: tinyurl.com/266j64w.
The Google Chrome OS notebook computer to be made available for the general public is rumored to be in the $200 price range.