If you’re considering buying a Chromebook you’ve most likely done some research online. There is plenty of information available on the internet about the Chromebook and the operating system it uses Chrome OS. One thing you may have come across is that a Chromebook is a cloud computer. If you understand cloud computing you probably did not take too much notice of this. However, if you’re unfamiliar with what cloud computing means, and you’re also new to the Chromebook. Finding out the Chromebook is a cloud computer may have just added another thing you need to think about.
In this article, I’m going to explain everything you need to know about Chrome OS and the Chromebook when it comes to cloud computing. Why cloud computing is a great thing, and why you should not be too concerned if you’re not too technical and find it all a tad confusing. I’ll explain clearly what it all means, so by the end of reading this article. You’ll know exactly how Chrome OS works when it comes to the cloud, and how easy it is to take advantage of what it offers.
WHAT IS THE CLOUD
Cloud computing is something you may have only heard about in the last ten years. However, cloud computing is not a new concept. It’s been around for decades but only became popular in the consumer computing world around 2007. The cloud simply means having access to files and computer processing power that is accessed remotely. Before cloud computing, most of us would have accessed our computer files locally. You’d buy a computer and when you needed to save files you would have saved these files to your computer.
Depending on how old you are. You’ll either remember saving files onto a floppy disk or a hard disk. Today, you’ll most likely find it difficult to find any computer that has a floppy disk drive. However, most computers still use a hard disk for saving files. One benefit of cloud computing is being able to save your files to a remote location. A location where you save files to a device where you don’t have physical access to the hardware used to save your files. So instead of saving files to your hard disk on your computer. You’d save files to a hard disk located on a server, which could be located anywhere around the world. This is known as cloud storage.
It’s not just about storage though. Although cloud storage was one of the first cloud computing technologies available to the consumer market. Another type of cloud computing is having access to computer processing power, which is not available locally. This type of cloud computing has become extremely popular in the last six years, and the Chromebook was one of the first consumer computers to take advantage of this. Chrome OS takes advantage of both of these technologies.
CLOUD STORAGE AND THE CHROMEBOOK
Storing files in the cloud is something most people are more familiar with. Although it may seem something that is complicated if you’re not that tech-savvy. The fact is, there isn’t much of a difference to storing files locally. The only difference is your files are saved on a hard disk in a data centre that could be located anywhere in the world. The biggest technology companies that provide this type of technology. Will save your files in more than one location. This is to ensure if there is a technology outage in one location. Your files can still be accessed from a different location.
The great thing about the Chromebook is cloud storage is integrated into the operating system. This means you don’t need to install any programs or visit any website addresses to upload or access files. To use a Chromebook you need a Google Account. All Google accounts come with 15 GB of cloud storage, which is available free of charge. If you need more than this, you can buy more storage at extremely competitive prices. This is provided by Google and the service is known as Google Drive.
Because Chrome OS is an operating system provided by Google. All Chromebooks and Chromeboxes have direct access to their Google Drive. You don’t need to install any extra software. You can access any files you save to Google Drive directly from the operating system. When you save files on your Chromebook you have the choice to save them to your downloads folder, which is your local storage. You also have an option to save your files in your Google Drive. Whether you’re saving files locally or to your Google Drive. The process is exactly the same, you simply choose the location when saving a file.
Accessing files you’ve saved in the cloud is also exactly the same as you would access files stored locally. You simply open the file manager and you’ll find you have access to your local files and any files you’ve stored in the cloud. Again, there is no difference in how you access these files. This is why the Chromebook is a great choice if you want to take advantage of cloud storage. It’s all built into the operating system and you don’t need to do anything extra to store or access your files in the cloud.
CLOUD COMPUTING AND THE CHROMEBOOK
So we’ve taken a look at what cloud storage is and how it works on the Chromebook. Something else the Chromebook takes advantage of is cloud computing. In fact, the Chromebook is the first computer aimed at the consumer to take advantage of Cloud Computing. It was also one of the reasons why the Chromebook was misunderstood when it was first launched in 2011. Something people found difficult to understand was that you did not install programs locally onto a Chromebook. Pretty understandable when you consider most of us were installing programs locally onto our computers in the two decades previous to this.
Not being able to install programs locally meant the Chromebook struggled to become mainstream in its early years. Fast forward ten years since the Chromebook was launched and the total opposite is the case. Nearly every single major software developer in the world now focuses on cloud computing rather than supplying programs to consumers they can install locally. The main reason for this is because the way we use computers has changed dramatically. Another factor is that more of us than ever now have access to high-speed internet connections.
Instead of installing programs locally such as a spreadsheet program. You would access this program from the internet. This would be either by visiting a specific web address, installing an Android app, or directly from the operating system. It doesn’t really matter which way you access the program, as either way still means you’re using a program located remotely. This means instead of installing a program locally, which will use your local processing power to perform. The program is accessed on a computer located on a server anywhere in the world. Although you’ll use some of your computer’s processing power. Most of the processing power is done on the computer that you’re accessing remotely. This is one of the reasons why the Chromebook does not necessarily need the same processing power as a computer that installs programs on your computer.
THE ADVANTAGES OF CLOUD STORAGE
Storing files in the cloud rather than locally provides two main advantages. The first is that your files are safer than having them stored locally. The second is that your files can be accessed from other devices you may own. When you store files locally you need to consider what you would do if your computer got damaged or lost. If you had not made a backup of your files to another hard disk. Then the files you had saved locally would be lost for good. This is a serious issue if you had important files you needed to access in the future.
Saving files in the cloud removes this problem. If your computer gets damaged or lost you don’t need to worry about not having access to your files. This is because all the files are stored on a hard disk in the cloud. These files can be easily accessed again on another Chromebook or any other device where you can gain access to your Google Account. Whether that is a mobile phone or another type of computer altogether. As long as you can access your Google account you’ll be able to access all of your files. This means you no longer have to worry about files being damaged, and backing up files to a separate hard disk, which can be a tedious task.
Having the ability to access your files on other devices is a great advantage of cloud storage. There are many times when I’ve booked a holiday and saved my travel tickets on my Chromebook. You simply save the files to a folder located in your Google Drive. You can then easily access these files at the airport using your mobile phone. It just makes life a whole lot easier.
THE ADVANTAGES OF CLOUD COMPUTING
A few years ago if you were considering playing PC games on your Chromebook you would have been unlucky. However, today, you can easily play most PC games on your Chromebook. Even games where you may have needed a high-spec PC with a dedicated graphics card can be played on a Chromebook without the same specs. Even a budget Chromebook can play these games without any issues. The reason why this is possible is because of cloud computing and fast internet connections. You can now play PC games by streaming them from a server located remotely. This server deals with all the processing power then streams it back to your Chromebook computer.
It’s not just games. As I mentioned earlier most major software developers now concentrate on cloud computing rather than what you can do on your computer locally. Microsoft is one company that has decided it’s a much better idea to offer Microsoft Office as a cloud-based program package. The advantages are easy to see for both the software developer and the consumer.
In the future cloud computing will get even more advanced. An example of this is video editing. Although you can video edit on a Chromebook. It’s not possible to get the same results as you would get from using advanced video editing software on a Windows PC or Apple Mac. This is because video editing needs and demands access to high-performing processing power. In the future though, as more people move to the cloud for computing. You’ll find that the biggest video editing software providers in the business will start to offer a cloud computing option.
THE CHROMEBOOK AND THE CLOUD
I hope this article has helped you to understand what cloud computing means. Also, why this has extreme benefits compared to a more traditional based computer where you perform everything locally. The days of using a computer locally to do everything you need are coming to an end. It makes no sense in buying high-performing laptops costing £1,500/$1,500. When you can buy a decent-performing Chromebook at half the price that is capable of performing the same tasks.
It always takes a long time for people to get comfortable with new technologies. Thankfully, with the help of the Chromebook, many people have already experienced the benefits cloud computing offers. If you’ve not yet made the switch to Chrome OS. Then perhaps now is the time to make the jump. Cloud Computing and all the benefits it offers is the future of computing.