Rather, this computer installs “apps” made specifically for the Chrome browser, of which there are quite a few, and includes things such as music managers, video clients, games, and a whole lot more.
Because of its reliance on Google, you’d think that you would need to always be connected to use the Chromebook, but there’s more to it than that, as you can actually do things offline and then have everything synchronise when you’re in range of an internet connection at a later time.
While other parts of the world have had computers running Google’s Chrome OS for around a year, Australia has missed out.
But hey, it’s 2013, and now it’s time for Aussies to see what the fuss is about, with Acer and Samsung both gearing up and launching models respectively.
In this laptop, everything you do in some way connects to the web and, more specifically, Google’s Chrome browser.
For instance, every app you use runs inside the Google Chrome browser, even if it doesn’t necessarily look like it does. Google Mail is a shortcut to the web browser loading the website. Google’s note-taking Scratchpad is basically a tiny window to a document editor on Google Drive. Google Play Books is an online eReader handled through the Google Chrome browser.
Even the apps that aren’t made by Google follow this logic, such as PopCap’s “Plants Vs. Zombies” which runs the game inside a website with Flash, the music service “Soundcloud” being little more than a shortcut for the browser, and Microsoft’s “Skydrive” app which just loads the Skydrive website and allows you to see and edit files using web-based versions of Microsoft Office applications inside the browser.
Yes, it really is an operating system inside a web browser. We weren’t kidding.
The upside to this is that it means that any files made or edited on this system are linked to their respective online services, and if you say write a document offline, when you go online it will be synchronised and accessible anywhere through another browser, like that of a regular computer, regardless of operating system.
That makes it a truly platform agnostic experience, and whether you use Macs at home, Windows at work, or Linux in school, provided you have access to a modern web browser and can login to your Google account at one of these places, the files can be shared.
Acer’s C7 Chromebook does this in a body that’s reasonably slim (2.7cm) and weighs 1.38 kilograms, and while it’s obviously not an Ultrabook, it could be an ideal machine for the student in the family, thanks to the $299 price, compact size, and lack of obvious games and other distractions that run on other platforms.