10 Things Missing from Google Chrome OS

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-11-23 Print this article Print

News Analysis: Google's Chrome OS might not be the most viable operating system for every user, but it's certainly capturing significant attention. It has several neat features. But Chrome OS is also missing some important elements that it should have if it is going to win acceptance beyond the niche market of netbook users willing to rely on the Web for most of their computing needs.

After a relatively long wait, Google has finally shown off what it plans to achieve with Chrome OS. The operating system, which is designed specifically for netbooks, is already being heralded as one of Google's finest achievements. And although it won't be available for about a year, it's still making some folks look forward to what the future might hold.

But not everything in Chrome OS should be celebrated. Google's operating system is missing several key features. It's also unlikely to adequately satisfy all desires. Worst of all, there's no telling whether it will provide an experience that consumers, developers or the corporate world will be happy with. At this point, the operating system's value is very much an unknown quantity.

Realizing that, let's take a look at 10 things that, so far, Google's Chrome OS is missing.

1. Sorry, enterprise, this isn't for you

When Google previewed Chrome OS Nov. 19, any company waiting to see if the search giant's operating system would be able to address corporate needs was left without much hope. Chrome OS is designed specifically for the consumer. It's not the corporate device that so many users had hoped for. In fact, a recent report from an IDC analyst suggests that Chrome OS is still 10 years away from widespread enterprise adoption.

2. Local storage, anyone?

Chrome OS is designed to store any and all content in the cloud. Those looking forward to a future dominated by cloud storage may be happy to hear that. However, those who want to have ready access to content locally might not. Cloud storage is certainly compelling, but for many, it's a backup solution, not a primary storage function.

3. What about more capable computers?

For now, Chrome OS is designed for netbooks. Any user looking to run the operating system on a notebook or a desktop won't be able to do it. Google didn't make any promises about Chrome OS coming to more capable computers in the future, so it's tough to say if the company has that on its road map. If it doesn't, that could severely limit Chrome OS' appeal.

4. Several powerful apps

Chrome OS is stocked with several Web applications that might appeal to many users, like Twitter, Facebook, Gmail and Pandora. But the software lacks several key applications, such as Photoshop, Office and other prominent programs that, so far, just aren't capable of running online in full form. That's not to say that stripped-down versions of those applications won't find their way into Chrome OS, but for now, many of the apps that work with the OS are admittedly lightweight.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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