Since their release in May 2011, Chromebooks have taken the cloud computing world by storm. Google’s Chromebooks are the first computers to operate entirely in the cloud, as they run completely within the Google Chrome web browser.
These cloud-based computers even lack an internal hard drive. And while this idea may cause some to shy away, those who are already aware of the myriad of benefits the Google cloud network has to offer have moved to Chromebooks in order to take even more advantage of the cloud. This lack of a hard drive means that all user information is stored on the Google cloud network, rather than on the Chromebook itself, essentially allowing users to access their computer on any web-enabled device.
The differences between Chromebooks and traditional computers don’t stop at the absence of a hard drive. For example, from the moment you press the power button on a Chromebook, it only takes a mere eight seconds until the computer is on, connected to the internet, and ready for use. Try finding a traditional computer that boots up that quickly. Chromebooks connect to the internet on Wi-Fi, but users have the option of purchasing 3G service through the Verizon Wireless network.
So what programs can you run on a Chromebook? Google Apps, along with countless other web applications, run smoothly on Chromebooks. Users can get any number of web applications, that allow the Chromebook to do anything a traditional computer would do (and more), through the Chrome Web Store. These applications are quickly becoming available for offline use, as well, which means that even those who don’t purchase the 3G service can still use their Chromebooks on the go.
Another major advantage that Chromebooks hold over traditional computers is that they won’t become outdated in the blink of an eye. Rather, Chromebooks improve with age. This is because every time a Chromebook is turned on, it automatically receives an update to its operating system and applications. Thanks to these automatic updates, Chromebooks are always running on the newest available technology.
Chromebooks are also significantly more secure than other computers on the market. In terms of security, Chromebooks employ layers of defense against malware and viruses. The first layer is known as sandboxing and it means that every tab opened on a Chromebook operates in an isolated environment, known as a sandbox. This way any malware that might be hosted within that tab is contained within it and does not spread to the entire computer. However, if a virus does make its way out of the sandbox, the Verified Boot security layer will do its job. The Verified Boot will detect the virus the next time the Chromebook is turned on and it will fix any damage that was inflicted on the computer. Lastly, the Recovery Function will act as a fail-safe if a virus somehow manages to bypass both the sandbox and the Verified Boot. In such a case, users can simply push a button to fully restore the Chromebook’s operating system.
Not only do Chromebooks offer protections against viruses and malware, but they also offer them against other people. Users no longer have to be concerned about the privacy of their data from friends, as Chromebooks were designed with sharing in mind. Friends can sign into a Chromebook with a guest account in order to gain general web access or with their own Google account to access their personal information. While these guests can use the Chromebook and all it offers, they will never see anyone else’s information as all data is stored in the Google cloud, not on the Chromebook.
And what about theft or physical damage? For those who have traditional computers, a theft or broken computer can mean losing all of the important data stored on the hard drive. But, because Chromebooks run entirely in the cloud, this is not the case for these special computers. If a Chromebook were to be stolen or physically damaged, no data would be lost. Rather, all user information would be safe – fully intact and readily available – in the cloud.
For those who are ready to make the switch to Chromebooks and move fully to the cloud, there are currently two different models available, one by Samsung and one by Acer. While the models differ in size and price, both operate exactly the same and offer unmatched access to the cloud.