Sunday, February 06, 2011

Cr-48: Basic Web Apps, Advanced Web Concepts

So it's been almost two weeks since NET9 got the Cr-48 in the lab, and although I haven't used it every day I have thoroughly enjoyed the time using it. It turns on and boots up extremely fast [my most favorite feature], the hardware is solid and simple to use, and I don't see myself needing much more than Chrome OS has to offer. But this isn't a Cr-48 review, it's the begining of a series of posts surrounding our ongoing experience with Chrome OS as a whole.

Web Apps By Google
The first places I went after starting up Chrome OS were Google Docs, Gmail, Google Reader, and YouTube. Google Docs is how I take my notes, prepare blog posts, jot down ideas, and doodle. I have the ability to read and edit docs from other devices like the iPod Touch, and I have been using Google Docs primarily since it was Writely way back when.

Gmail was the next logical web destination, and my cornerstone of communication. I email, chat, and voice/video call all from Gmail, and have it in a pinned tab always. Instant access to email through the Cr-48 is what dreams are made of.

Speaking of dreams, Google Reader is perfect for my Cr-48 use. I use all the keyboard shorcuts to navigate, and for the first time in a long time, I am able to keep current with all my RSS feeds. In my opinion, Reader was made for Chrome OS.

YouTube, however puts the greatest strain on the Cr-48 of all the Google apps I've used so far. Video is hard work for the little notebook, and I'm sure it has everything to do with Flash at this point. Hopefully HTML5 will solve this problem if Adobe doesn't do so first. For now, YouTube videos on the Cr-48 are barely ok.

More In Store
Aside from the numerous Google apps running on our Cr-48, there are some other very useful apps in the Chrome Web Store. The Box.net app is essential to this sort of OS as a storage alternative/supplement, and a great way to transition to cloud computing in general. Then there’s Picnik, for editing photos online. The concept of editing images online is a powerful one, and Picnik does an excellent job of it. It connects to various sites like Picasa, Flickr, Facebook, and more to offer a seamless experience.

As the Chrome Web Store continues to mature, I’m sure there will be many great new options in the cloud for getting things done as well as an entertainment hub for the future of computing. It is a very exciting time for the web, and we are deeply invested in how mobile will shape it. The Chrome Web Store will be an integral part of shaping the web and how we use it in the future.

Smart, Fun, Cloud
Working in the cloud may be a big deal to most people trying to wrap their heads around the idea behind Chrome OS, but the entertainment and educational factors of such an idea are yet to be tapped. As entertainment is largely at the forefront of any great new technology, it is logical to see entertainment aspects of cloud computing being a very big contributor to its progress. Social games, audio/video streaming, and more will power the cloud after a days work.

Education is another large force that will help the growth of cloud computing the world over. Because it is more economical and encourages collaboration, the global reach of education via the cloud is boundless. Online books, video lectures, and various information on the web is accessible to most anyone. And thanks to cloud computing, more people will be able to afford and obtain an educational experience with greater ease and efficiency.

So cloud computing is here, and Chrome OS is doing an awesome job of bringing it all together so far. For me, it has sparked inspiration about where computing is headed and allowed me to view the web as more of a journey and less of a destination. We look forward to continue the journey by getting to know Chrome OS and the Cr-48 through the coming months, and we’re excited to see what becomes of cloud computing and how it eventually will infect mobile computing.