Chrome OS CR48 Notebook is an interesting test but looks more like a move by Google to control more of your data and eventually sell you more targeted ads based on your usage of the device
The Chrome OS Pilot program has now been running just over 1 month but since it’s launch not too much has been said about the device and there appeared to be no appearance at CES to show off a much needed 2nd generation device. My initial feelings around Chrome Notebook overview seems to be that this device is not really going to set the world on fire and seems to remind me of a cheap MacBook, which might have helped their competitor Apple sell more of their MacBook Airs over Christmas. You had to apply to be part of the pilot program which started with the process of application form which took around 15 minutes to complete but appeared to be a larger and more interesting marketing move for Google as they will likely receive a massive amount of applications of people that might buy the device in the future.
What user are you?
As you can see shown in the graphic below Google has gone that one step further to segment the CR48 applications into 5 types of user: Business, Education, Non-Profit, Developer, Individuals.
The very interesting part about this segmentation is that there are 2 uniquely different survey’s one for (Business, Education, Non-Profit) and one for (Developer & Individual), which gives you a good insight into the primary markets that Google is pitching the product towards but also how it will likely split the allocation. It’s very interesting to see that Google has recognised the individual possible evangelist users that might be very suitable as initial test users for it’s Chrome OS before it launches it to everyone in mid-2011.
Chrome Notebook Pre-Qualification Survey
There are a number of very interesting questions asked via the Chrome CR48 Notebook survey and I have done some basic analysis on what I see as the rational or logic behind Google needing to ask this information on those applying for it’s notebook. Remember that a large number of people are likely applying including your employees and staff who are freely sharing internal and confidential details on the chance they can win a free Notebook which will be drain on your internal resources as it is powered by the cloud and will use massive amounts of bandwidth.
Google wants to know how many people, in total, work at your organisation?
Analysis: This allows Google to increase the amount of information it knows about your company and confirms if account managers should be contact your firm to discuss it’s enterprise products like Search Appliances and Google Apps.
Google wants to know how you are using your computer today
- Operating System
- Web Browser
- Type of device used
- Type of smart phone
- Email & Calendar platform used
- How many hours spent online (upto 5, 5 to 16, 16+)
- Primary Office applications
Analysis: This is a fairly invasive question and one that Google already knows based on your Google account and from it’s Google Analytics platform.
Software Applications You Use Weekly
- Adobe Reader
- Adobe Dreamweaver
- Adobe Fireworks
- Adobe Flash
- Adobe Illustrator
- Final Cut
- WebEx or GoToMeeting
Analysis: It is interesting that a chunk of these applications can’t actually work on the device due to the high specifications required and also they make use of function buttons which were left off the CR48 Notebook. It is likely that Google has already developed an Alpha version of a few of the above applications and is wanting to survey the demand for releasing it’s own versions on a future version of the Chrome OS. If you application is listed above expect to see competition from Google soon as you can see Google is doing market research on your existing users to measure the possible demand.
Technical Survey Questions
- Do you use VPN or remote access
- Do you already authenticate via Google Accounts?
- Wifi Security Protocols
- Needing to have IPv6 support?
- How do you currently take notes
- Do you lock laptop machines to desks?
Do you use any of these productivity tools on a daily basis?
- 37 Signals Base Camp
- Microsoft Project
- None of the above
Analysis: Again it seems that Google is doing some market research with plans to roll out it’s own time management application likely as part of it’s Google Premier apps and much more powerful than it’s current Gmail task.
Chrome OS Overview
- Load Times – 10 seconds boot-up is no longer ground breaking and is expected
- Cloud Hosted – all your apps, and documents are hosted in the cloud which means no internet means you can’t work
- Security built in – Google has complete control of all your data no need for Street View Cars
- Continues upgrades – a great way to burn through the 100mb of free data Verizon provides you each month
- Adobe Flash support – a direct swipe at Apple devices not a selling point
As a number of tech writers have raised, Android actually makes for a better OS than Chrome which has been class as just an Application and not a true OS by PC Mag.
- No Capslock Key – NO YELLING OR EMPHASIS
- No Function Keys – Not suitable for non Google Applications
- 1.72 Kilograms with 12 Inch screen
- Intel Atom Processor N455 1.66GHz 512K Cache
- Memory is Hynix 2GB DDR3 1Rx8 PC3
- Solidstate Drive is SanDisk sdsa4dh-016G 16GB SATA SSD
- Qualcomm Wireless WAN
- AzureWave 802.11 3G adapter
- Atheros Bluetooth v2.1
Why Chrome fails?
The issue is that the platform requires almost constant connection to the web and the first Chrome OS laptop only comes with 100mb of free data from Verizon each month. While I would not say no to a free Chrome OS laptop the question is how scalable this product might be outside of the US as very few other markets have access to so much bandwidth at such a low cost. 100 megs of bandwidth maybe be suitable for most low activity users but the issue is that when the entire platform is stored in the cloud I would anticipate several Gigs of data required each month. The reasons are that how often the platform will check for updates and how frequently it will download and apply these updates automatically and this is just focusing on Chrome browser.
Primary Chrome Browser Updates
- Performed every 25 hours to check for updates, patches and plugins
- Every 30 minutes Chrome downloads a list of URL thought to be dangerous
So it will be interesting to see how their Laptops or platform will be changed and tweaked to suit markets outside of the US but I think they might have to rethink both the amount of included data and how much of their applications/software is hosted locally to save bandwidth and deal with the fact that the net is not always accessible.