3 Reasons Why Google Chrome OS Can’t Replace Traditional Desktop OS

This article is written by Zhou Tong, a 15-Year-Old tech-savvy teenager from China. Besides being a tech blogger, he is also a web developer. You can follow this young tech geek @ZhouTongMe on Twitter!


A week ago, Google released the source code of Chromium OS (the official open source project of Google Chrome OS), and a developer has compiled the source code to VMware disk image, so that I’m able to try it out it on my Mac.

I personally feel that this version of Chromium OS is “just okay” and “not that exciting”. Well, the main reason is that I’ve experienced several problems while using this operating system and I’m not impressed by it. In this post, I would like to share with you guys my thoughts and opinions of why I don’t think Google Chrome OS will beat Mac OS X, Linux and Windows, and dominate the competitive and lucrative OS market.

Reason 1: Chrome OS Becomes ‘Junk’ When There Isn’t Any Internet Access

Google Chrome OS will be a device-based OS that must have Internet access to show to its best advantage. All Google Chrome OS applications such as Google Docs, Gmail, and Google Calender rely heavily on Internet access. Without any Internet connection, it becomes a ‘junk’. This is quite different from Windows 7 or Mac OS X as both software provide a full-featured, operating system for netbooks and other mobile devices. Using Chrome OS is the same as using Google Chrome in full screen mode.

Chrome OS is a “future OS”, and it still has a long way to go. Those traditional operating systems have enough opportunities to change. As a result, Google Chrome OS CANNOT beat them now, and most likely, CANNOT beat them in the near future either.

Windows is lousy right? (no offence :D) But 90% of computers are still running it. Why? Well, this is because people have to use it! The cost of migration to Mac or Linux is very high. Chrome OS brings us future concepts that most non-technologically-savvy people can’t comprehend well, so the cost of migration will be even much higher.

Reason 2: Hey, Computers Are Getting Faster & Cheaper Than Before, A Waste With Chrome OS?

I’m pretty sure you know that performance of computers are get higher and better everyday. I still remember that I was using a computer with Pentium II 300 MHz CPU and 128 MB SDRAM in 2000, and now I’m using a MacBook 13-inch unibody with Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz and 4 GB DDR3 RAM. The operating systems are requiring higher and better performance, and computers are less expensive than before. Chrome OS seems to cause a fallback in technology development, because we don’t need a state-of-the-art computer to run such a light weight operating system.

I believe that Google will find some ways to consume those unused hardware resources, but that’ll never be a good case. As the main concept of Chrome OS is just to put everything to the cloud and throw away traditional storage devices. What will our CPU and Memory be working for? We really need something to make use of powerful hardwares so that we are really getting what we pay for, and desktop applications are for this case. Can Chrome OS support desktop applications better than Windows? Certainly not!

Reason 3: Errr… I Think Android Is Much Better Than Chrome OS

500px-android-logosvgGoogle is currently developing two operating systems at the same time! That’s not true actually, but what I want to say is, are there any differences between Android and Chrome OS in terms of simplicity and target devices? Can they be combined easily? I found that the base of Chromium OS is actually Ubuntu, but why those developers choose a linux from Canonical instead of Android from themselves?

It really difficult to understand what Google really want to do, and I don’t want to guess or predict either, as it’s meaningless to guess what will happen in the future about a “future OS”. I hope Google is clear about its future.

I personally feel that Android is much better than Chromium OS. I love the amazing experience when running Android on my Mac in full screen (1280×800) with “Android LiveCD” and VMware Fusion. It’s simple, fast, easy to use and has a wide variety of useful apps. Android is a very good base for future cloud operating systems, but Google never use it. (So does that mean Chromium OS is not a cloud operating system?)

Chromium OS is “just okay”, and at least it’s working fine. That’s already quite good for an OS start-up, but the result is not as good as what I’ve expected. At the point of writing this post, I’ve already shut down the virtual machine running Chromium OS, and revert back to my wonderful Mac OS X. Frankly speaking, this might be the last time for me to use this version of Chromium OS. (Only lasted for 2 hours) So now you know, if Google doesn’t change some features in Chrome OS to make it ‘user-friendly’, then in the future, it will never become a suitable replacement of traditional desktop operating systems.