26 Dec 2011

The Chromebook and Libraries

The Google Chromebook recently celebrated its one year anniversary.  The Chromebook uses the Google Chrome OS operating system and Chromebooks are primarily designed to be used while connected to the Internet. This means they have very limited offline capabilities. Instead of using traditional word processing software, the Chromebook uses web apps from the Chrome Web Store.

Recently, Google has been working with public libraries recently in order to promote its concept. At least three libraries have been working towards lending out Chromebooks to patrons for a period of time. The Palo Alto, California Library tested out 21 of the devices over a month’before deciding on an upcoming lending program in January. A senior librarian from the library pointed out that the typical response to Chromebooks would be, “that was pretty cool. I wish I could do word processing with that.”

The Chromebook has some positive aspects such as ease of use (if you can operate a browser, you know how to operate Chrome OS), cloud storage and a very quick boot on under 10 seconds. However, the disadvantages may outweigh these. These include inability to run your Windows applications directly, limited choice of browser and, most importantly, you need a constant good internet connection. It appears unlikely to me that the Chromebook will gain serious traction unless there is near ubiquitous quality internet coverage.

More information about the libraries initiative can be found on the following link: http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/libraries-begin-lending-out-chromebooks/

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