With the announcement of the Chromebook from Google, tech analysts, investors and consumers are watching closely to see if Google is more than a two trick pony. Google isn't the only company betting big on the cloud either - Apple, Microsoft and Amazon have all made big moves into the cloud.
However there are some distinct issues with Google's operating system that could be setting it up for failure in the future. It may play out more like a fad similar to the netbooks rather than becoming a true competitor of the notebooks or tablets.
Here are 3 reasons why Google's Chrome OS won't last:
Google is touting that the Chrome OS will never need virus protection and that your files will always be safe in the cloud. That is a great sales pitch. However, any cyber security analyst will tell you there is no silver bullet that can stop hackers.
According to Trend Micro's security consultant Rik Ferguson, hackers will always be looking for ways to get access to your files. If I can infect you for one session and steal your keys, well then I'll get what I can while I'm in there and then continue accessing your stuff in the cloud; after all, I've got your keys now, I don't need your PC anymore.
Not to mention, Google's servers have been infiltrated before, proving that the mountain view company is vulnerable when hackers in China broke into their email servers. And at a time when hacker groups like Lulz Security infiltrating targets like Sony, CIA and the US Senate, security on the web is on everyone's mind.
Google is quoted as saying that the Chrome OS will only get faster as time goes by because it automatically updates itself. But even if the OS had the ability to update automatically in the cloud, the achilles heel in the Chrome OS is the internet connection. And with the OS running on computers that try to stay light in the hardware department, it leaves consumers at the mercy of unstable 3G connections or the fluctuation through the day in their broadband connections. Not to mention most of the cellular companies will probably be putting data caps on their consumers running 3G, only crippling the potential of the devices.
Google just recently released their SDK (software development kit) to developers to develop native applications for the new OS. The type of applications that Chrome OS offers will ultimately be the determining factor of whether or not Google can succeed. However with the limitation of users' ability to connect to the internet to access their online applications, many powerful applications that already exist on Windows and OS X may not be able to run on the Chrome OS. This could greatly hurt Chrome's ability to gain market share, an argument used against Apple's mac in the 90's and early 2000's when most applications were only released for Windows.
Unlike tablets and smart phones, people are going to want more in a computer than just playing Angry Birds and reading the news.
In a note to Google, they probably should have been paying attention to the collapse of the netbook market before they launched Chrome OS. Consumers don't want limitations, they want flexibility. Even if the limitations that Chrome OS have are not the same as the netbooks, they have the potential of relegating Google's new product into irrelevance.