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January 03, 2011

Comments

Nice post. However, no one disputes that cloud computing will become more fundamental to the way we use personal computers or mobile devices. What's at issue is Chrome OS's place in that shift, given that what it is aiming to do can - more or less - be achieved through Android or the Chrome browser running on Linux/MacOS/Windows etc. The larger question is - do we need a specific OS to achieve Google's aims with Chrome OS? Some people think not.

I enjoyed the article. I do think that Chrome OS "will be" a big deal but not as much as you think. The reason we all still have traditional computers is that near line storage (our hard drives) is still much cheaper and faster than Internet based storage.

You sidestep the issue when you mention specialized software for video professionals etc but what about all those HD camcorders recording vacation videos? What about all those point-and-shoot camera being used by families to document their lives? These aren't professional users but no web app is going to replace iPhoto or Picasa or iMovie.

I can't imagine editing my family videos by first uploading the footage to a web based editor over my 16Mb/s Comcast connection. I can't imagine how inefficient my photography workflow would be if I had to dump the memory card from my DSLR to my hard-drive, then upload to a web based editor to make changes. iMovie and Adobe Lightroom 3 with my local 2TB of FireWire storage are much more efficient.

Your bias clearly shows by the way. You dismiss Hotmail as irrelevant but it's still twice the size of Gmail. And now that Facebook is in the email business — that's 600 million potential email account.

Disclosure: I'm a Google Apps user and consultant.

Darren-

I would argue that ChromeOS's biggest value is the fact that it includes so little other than the browser. That being said, I think the big battle to come is between web and native mobile apps and the OSes that enable them.

Khurt-

I absolutely agree that there are many tasks that aren't at all suitable for web apps, including video and photo editing. But lots of people don't ever edit video or even photos. They just upload them to YouTube, Vimeo, SmugMug, Facebook, or some other site. You're right that my biases are pretty clear. I try to be up-front about that. Even so, I stand by my assertion that whoever makes it easiest to use the web well will be successful.

Thanks,
Charlie

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