Google’s Chrome OS boasts large popularity, but it still doesn’t account for much market share compared to other platforms like Windows or Mac. It operates mostly with a basis of being connected to the web for access to web-based apps, cloud-connected accounts, and internet browsing all through the minimal Chrome backbone that started as simply a browser. There may still be much need for the use of traditional computer operating systems that can run numerous native apps and games without the requirement of a web connection, but Google’s Chrome OS is continuing to grow and Google along with its partners are offering more choices to consumers than ever before which could end up shrinking the gap between Chrome OS and larger, more traditional offerings.
What was only a handful of different products just a few years ago has expanded into a complete lineup of Chromebooks and Chromeboxes from various manufacturers at different prices, all ranging from $199 to as high $1,299 for something like Google’s premium Chrome OS experience, the Chromebook Pixel. Google also just recently unveiled a collection of new partners and products that are slated to roll out over the next few months too, which will only give consumers even more options, including the ultraportable ASUS Chromebit, a $100 HDMI/USB dongle that contains a full Chrome OS computer inside to be connected to displays and TVs. Google sees potential in the existence of Chrome OS, and consumers are likely starting to see the same thing.
Chrome OS may work mostly off the web and focus most of its productivity with a dependency on the Cloud, but Google is making the web-connected apps more powerful by enabling things like offline mode which allows users to work on projects when offline, saving those files to the internal hard drive, and then syncing them to the cloud-connected accounts when a connection to internet is reestablished. The library of Android apps that are available on Chrome OS are due to grow as well now that Google has opened up the App Runtime for all developers, which in time could help those who work primarily through Android Apps get things done on through the Chrome OS interface. Businesses, schools, and even personal use are becoming more and more connected to the cloud which only serves to make Chrome OS a more useful platform for consumers. Google certainly didn’t invent the cloud, but it seems like they have embraced it a little bit more with the Chrome OS platform than competitors Apple and Microsoft have with their respective OS offerings.
Although Microsoft’s OS may be less reliant on the cloud than Google’s Chrome OS, they’re still embracing the cloud in other ways, like with Office 365, giving users full access to a web-connected version of the traditional Microsoft Office suite consumers have been used to for so many years. Chrome OS comes with its own office web apps on board with Google’s Docs, Sheets, and Slides available, but Office 365 is still an accessible option to Chrome OS users, so those who may either be more familiar with the Office 365 tools or simply prefer them can choose to use them, where you used to need a Windows machine to run Microsoft Office programs. This cross-platform compatibility gives less of a reason or need to have a Windows machine. Google’s offerings are also significantly cheaper in contrast to what Microsoft and Apple both offer, although Microsoft has been rumored to have a collection of $150 Windows 10 laptops launching sometime later this year to compete with Google and the expanding fleet of Chrome OS products. Google is making Chrome OS more accessible to users on a global scale and as more and more tools, apps and services become available in the cloud, Chrome OS only stands to become more of a dominating force. It may take some time before Google is able to grasp a larger piece of the pie, but their future looks promising and Google shows no signs of slowing down.