Before they were one of the biggest internet giants out there, Google started out as the simple webpage, www.google.com - the most basic and widely used search engine of all time. The simplicity of the search engine itself has not changed a bit, other than interface updates and faster servers. Until the 21st century, Google had very few products other than the original search engine. In the past 5 years, Google has produced new programs and systems all compatible with the search engine as well as Google accounts. It wasn’t until recent years that Google started producing their own hardware, with the help of existing computer manufacturers, like Intel and HP. Google has created their own OS (Operating system) called Chrome OS. They have also created a developer version of the OS called Chromium OS. Because of this, they are able to install this OS on existing hardware, mostly on intel based PCs.
These new computers with Chrome OS are called Chromebooks or Chromeboxes. A Chromebook is a laptop, and a Chromebox is a mini desktop. Plenty of manufacturers have embraced Google’s new OS and made their own models of Chromebooks/Chromeboxes. These manufacturers include companies like Lenovo, HP, Acer, Samsung, Toshiba, Dell, ASUS, LG, and a few more. The new product is now being widely used and is a growing competitor to Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s macOS. While Windows PCs and Macbooks have a big storage device most of the time, Chromebooks do not. Google wants to make everything online-based using some of their existing programs, like Google Drive and Google docs; this means not much HDD/SSD storage is needed.
The largest amount of physical storage you will normally see in a chromebook is about 16 GB (gigabytes). Because Chrome OS is an online based operating system, there is obviously a web browser. Google released their web browser Chrome quite a few years ago, so they implemented it into Chrome OS. Almost everything on a Chromebook works through this browser. Other than the browser, there are not many applications other than Chrome itself; however, third party applications on the Chrome web store can be installed as an extension into Chrome. Still, Chromebooks can do very little compared to Windows PCs or Macbooks. They don’t install applications to the hard drive directly; they are just added to your Google account. They also don’t run very many file types, like executables. Chromebooks overall are starting to be used more and more in business and classroom environments. Projects and documents can be shared through Google Drive for two or more people to edit at once. This is useful in schools, because it allows students to do group work through district networks where files are not likely to be lost.
This is also good in business because many of Google’s services are free, like Google docs or Google slides. Administration controls can also be applied to Chrome OS by businesses or school districts by blocking things like games and untrusted applications. Chromebooks are great for business and schools, but they are probably not something you would want for home use due to their current limitations. Security-wise, the chromebooks are very hard to mess up with viruses and unwanted programs. It is uncommon to see these on a chromebook, due to the new security systems Google has made.