An issue that Google still grapples with in Chrome OS is how to increase it’s adoption among users and businesses. Being based on Linux, Chrome OS offers better stability and much more speed compared to the same hardware running Windows, but the benefit of being on Linux also hurts its chances of being picked up by most users.
With a lack of compatible applications that people use on the Windows platform (more along the lines of Adobe’s software suite and Office), Chrome isn’t seeing the kind of rapid adoption that spurred Android to dizzying heights. Google figures it can fix that, however, by partnering with VMWare to offer virtualisation of Windows apps in a virtualised environment.
The way Google’s approaching this is through VMWare’s cloud-based Desktop as a Service (DaaS) offering. Much like Amazon web services, DaaS offers users a virtualised Windows environment hosted on VMWare’s servers and, unlike others, is persistent. Using HTML5, VMWare can run remote applications on the user’s desktop as if they were native.
“Cloud applications allow flexibility, scalability and security and enable a work-anywhere environment, but many of our customers still use traditional desktop applications,” the company writes in their Enterprise blog.
“Desktop as a Service (DaaS) helps bridge the gap between the cloud and a traditional desktop by allowing you to run your traditional software in the cloud and have applications appear on your Chromebook similarly to how they run today.”
This comes at just the right time for Google, as Microsoft’s Windows XP is less than two months away from officially becoming abandonware. The company notes this in it’s reason why consumers should switch to Chrome OS.
“As the countdown to Windows XP end of life continues, deploying Chromebooks and taking advantage of a DaaS environment ensures that security vulnerabilities, application compatibility and migration budgets will be a thing of the past,” Google states.
Its an interesting idea and I wonder if there’s any way Microsoft can counter this or find a way to legally block Google from offering this. If it makes the service free, even for a year, the low-end Windows craptop market may be in for a shock. In 2013, Chromebooks were among the best-sellers on Amazon, Newegg, Bestbuy and Wal-Mart’s product list, which goes to show that people are willing to overlook the locked-down OS in favour of a cheap notebook for home use.
Chrome OS is perfect if you use your computer mainly for accessing online services and don’t need to store things locally. In fact, it’s so close to the original promise of the Netbook that it may revive that market all on its own.