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December 10, 2010

Google Chrome OS and Disposable Computers

When you use a Chrome OS computer, most of your data and your settings is saved online, so it doesn't really matter which Chrome OS computer you're using. Just sign in with your Google account and you can find your bookmarks, your applications and maybe even your documents.

Chrome OS computers are actually designed for sharing and there's even a guest mode based on Chrome's incognito mode. "When you use web apps on your Chrome notebook, all your documents are stored safely in the cloud. But certain kinds of files, like downloads, cookies, and browser cache files, may still be present on your computer. Your Chrome notebook encrypts all this data using tamper-resistant hardware, making it very difficult for anyone to access those files. With Guest Mode, you can let friends use your Chrome notebook without signing in. They can use the web freely, but they won't be able to access your email or other data. And once they sign off, all their browsing data is permanently erased from your computer," explains Google.

Glen Murphy, who is a Chrome user interface designer, tried to show what happens when an inexpensive Chrome OS notebook is damaged. Your data is still available because it's stored online and you can resume your work using another computer.


  1. Bad, bad Googlers. They kill 25 Cr48s :-(
    But no data was harmed ;-)

  2. Here Google is trying to highlight advantage of Chrome OS where everything is in the cloud when compared to Windows OS.

  3. They did have a lot of fun making this video it seems :p

    Though I'm wondering how he reopened that photo so quickly. It appeared to be magically there on login. It can't be one of its features to store online what pages were open, else the googledocs would be opened too.

  4. The engineer closed the gDocs tab but we still don't know if Chrome OS stores latests tabs or not :)

  5. How much a Chrome notebook would be ?
    $100 ?

  6. Yes, and even when you lock up your own computer safely or destroy it, an evil hacker may still be able to access your documents and emails and data (provided there's a security hole or they phished your password) :)

  7. So... You're all willing to entrust ALL of your personal information to the web??? You're willing to give someone else the responsibility and control of your privacy?? You're willing to trust the web to allow you access to your information at ALL times??? You're willing to believe that hackers can't or won't try to gain access or control over your information?? You're willing to entrust virus control for your files to some unknown cyber-space anti-virus system?? Do you NOT think you'll be empowering "the system" to utterly control your access by denying you service any time it wants??... TO THE POINT that you might not even be able to type a letter or play a game of solitaire, if it tells you you can't??... Sure... I guess I'm being paranoid....

  8. I already knew data are in the clouds, but my parents need to print docs properly as Excel or preview like IE.

  9. Why damage so many computers to convey a simple message when it was already done in a previous demo?

  10. Nagarjun Palavalli

    Because it cool, because this video is more likely to go viral than a simple demo, this video is more entertaining, better marketing, more fun to watch.

  11. @ Carl.

    I can see where you're coming from and am impressed with the concerns you raise. In fact, just last Monday, I submitted a legal paper about why stored email merits Fourth Amendment privacy protections.

    On the other hand, consider how many people were initially uncomfortable with using credit cards or are still uncomfortable with placing their money in a bank account: see starting at 6:10.

    Consider also that colleges and universities used to produce and control their very own electricity, overseen by "deans of electricity!"

    How many people were uncomfortable with using the Internet when it first launched or still are, today?

    How comfortable are we knowing that thousands of individuals have nearly plenary access to most or all of our credit history and social security numbers? (Take, e.g., the waiter at a restaurant swiping your credit card - I know because I was one.)

    What about sending emails and text messages, or engaging in voice and video chat?

    In short, I believe we're entering a new age of computing (the cloud) that, perhaps surprisingly, requires a new level of public trust, and, unless you or I have the resources on our own, I think it's unlikely we will be able to host our own computing platforms, anymore than most people could (or would want to) generate and control their own electricity.

  12. In response to Carl... yes! Can't you wait for the machines to take over? Unless, of course you have seen Terminator one too many times. Cloud based computing is way more efficient and user friendly. If some one steals your netbook/ lap top, you lose ALL of your data/information. Had you uploaded it to the cloud, you'd be less worried, but still out a few hundred bucks. Log into another computer and you can finish writing your report or what have you.
    This is the best way to go, my machine masters tell me.

  13. I am part of the beta program and can tell you that I am highly impressed with the hardware and the maturity of Chrome OS. It's not ready for public consumtion, of course, but works well.

    Some commenters asked if the tabs reappear when logging back in - yes they do. Very slick!

  14. @Michael.

    Wow. I'm so jealous and foaming at the mouth to get a Cr-48 in the mail.

    Any idea how you scored one?

  15. Seeing so many Cr-48's destroyed makes one wonder about the price tag that should be expected for this type of up-sized netbook.

    By presenting it a disposable computer they are marketing it as a cheap buy. Which means they should stay under the $300.- mark to keep it believable.

    Should the Cr-48 be presented as an equivalent of a small notebook like e.g. a HP Pavilion dv2 with a similar <$750,- price tag there really would be a big price to pay for a quickly booting computer with a tiny amount of storage And don't forget the large bill for 3G connection costs when you're on the go without free WiFi connections at hand.

    So it's cool, but will basically be one of those gadgets that make you pay through the nose to use them. Perhaps should prospective users also take into account the exploitation price/performance ratio of a CR-48, it may be more than they hoped for.

  16. Hahaha... keren nih, tidak perlu khawatir data hilang ya? kalau komputer sih bisa beli lagi, ketikan penting lebih baik diolah di google kalo begitu, hardisk rusak enggak masalah. maju terus google!

  17. @Faridx.

    Bisa tolong menulis dalam bahasa Inggris bagi kita yang tidak tahu bahasa Indonesia?

  18. I've commented on: OF COURSE IT IS! Waste of money.

  19. The problem with the cr-48 is that it's trying to replace things that all ready have greater functionality. To me the "cloud" will never ever replace offline storage. There are things I just wouldn't want to be kept online. All the cr-48 (and chromeOS) does is lower the bar to googles businesses like Android does for phones.

    So it loads a bit faster... pfft so what. Running a lean ubuntu install here and my computer loads plenty quick enough and I get to do a lot of things that I couldn't have done using chromeOS/ cr-48.

  20. @Anon.

    I can appreciate that Chrome OS is essentially Linux with Google branding.

    On the other hand, keep in mind that Google is the world's #1 brand.

    How many non-techies would understand what a "lean ubuntu install" is?

    As Eric Schmidt said in the 12/7/10 Chrome update, Chrome OS is far from being the first cloud computing concept, etc. On the other hand, it is the first time all the underlying technology has gelled together.

    I believe Chrome OS will be the first widely viable alternative to Windows/Mac OSX.

  21. Why beta programs like Cr-48 doesn't cover Canada? Shipping cost is almost the same anyways!

  22. @Carl: I am just as concerned as you are about privacy and all. Not that I can be talking; I trust Google much further than I can throw a Cr-48, but all the same there will be many who share your thoughts. The main thing is, most people don't know, and thus don't care...ignorance is bliss to the average user, who doesn't know what sort of things this "antivirus" stuff does, but just knows it does "complicated stuff" in the background and that "[insert whatever brand one has]" makes the best stuff.

    That right there is Google's selling point. Give the users simplicity, a thrill ride, and of course, let them save money and it will sell. Privacy concerns tend not to rank high on the users' concern lists. I mean, come on - how many users actually take measures to safeguard their data against attack? How many of us get hacked, phished, and scammed every day?

    I mean, I agree with you totally. I won't be putting any important stuff in the cloud (I mean, I could care less what Google does with my school essays, but personal things, preferences and stuff...well...) but most others will have no such inhibition. It's not paranoia; it's completely reasonable...but then again, not all end users are reasonable.

  23. @ Cougar Abogado: You beat me to it! I try to spread Linux to my friends (for FREE) when their computer tanks, and they decide to let the Geek Squad handle it (for $$$ by the hour) instead. It's Google, it's trendy-ish, and people like simplicity.

  24. @Anonymous: You make good points too, like Carl; at this point, I would never dream of entrusting my precious family photos and videos to some remote server. It just FEELS better to have them stored locally on a hard disk I can keep an eye on. And it's a pain to upload 1000+ 5 MB photos to the cloud with my current connection speeds.

    But with the rapidly developing world wide web (and its speed), the speed barrier will eventually no longer be a problem; once privacy goes away and people start using cloud storage and it proves viable, things will snowball and our mindset will change. I mean, the vacuum cleaner attracted all kinds of boo-hissing when it was invented...

  25. Google is always great. Thanks for sharing.

  26. I am eagerly waiting for this OS and i heard that google will come with new internet connection its great to heard.
    - Exchange Support Los Angeles

  27. Being in charge of IT for Atlantic Kayak Tours, ease of management equals more time to make money running programs. Our staff are spread out over three states where we offer programs. Over the past few years we have been moving most of our computing into the cloud. Using Google Apps as our main tools. My netbook does not have any program installed and is used entirely for web based computing. Small business are ideal for moving it's computing into the the cloud. We don't have a real IT department. Money is always tight. Having Google and others manage the back end is safer and less expensive for a small business. Listening to podcasts and reading all of the mostly negative reviews of Chrome OS, I think they are missing the mark. The average person needs a system which is managed and secured by professionals. Data needs to be accessible anyplace we are and from any device we have access to. Chrome OS sounds like a great solution for many small businesses. It will make our computing more mobile, productive and safer. Saving some money is an extra bonus.

  28. @techkayaker.

    Thanks for your insights. I enjoy hearing first-hand, non-consumer experiences.

  29. Why, oh why, didn't they give me one of those computers, instead of destroying it. I would have protected it, and shown it the respect it deserves!


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