Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Chrome Challenge

How much time do we spend on the browser? Does the future of desktop technology lie solely on a browser like Google Chrome?

Some people know me as the creator of Cyman System, a digital butler currently on Android.  Others simply know me as a Google product fan.  And no, the blog post title does not help.

 I am generally fascinated by the way we use technology tomorrow.  I am a technophile.  As a software developer, I like to help the process forward every now and then.  Hence the Cyman System I developed (shameless plug number 2).

Google appears to be convinced that our future lies on the web.  Their Chrome Browser has been biting on the heels of Internet Explorer as the most popular browser globally.  According to W3C, since August they actually have the highest web browser market share (

But Google did not stop there.  They have created an operating system to compete with Windows, Mac OS X and Linux called Chrome OS which is essentially just a Chrome Browser with a few extras.  In layman's terms? Google believes that we can do everything we need to do on just a web browser. Is this far fetched? It may not be as crazy as it sounds.  Read on...

More and more of us now own smart phones and tablets. What do we do offline? Perhaps playing games, reading, note-taking, and checking calendar? Although games are increasingly social, books are downloaded from the internet, calendars and notes are synchronised on the cloud.  These all need internet connections.  On our PC's there are other offline applications we might use frequently.  Writing documents, spreadsheets, editing photos, editing videos, email and much more.  But again, if we really look at how much time we spend offline vs online, some of us might realise the shift to online activities.

Chrome OS and indeed the Chrome browser have apps and an app store too.  These apps are essentially well designed websites which utilise key HTML5 technology to allow some offline activities.  Believe it or not, you can edit word documents and spreadsheets with the Google Drive web application without being online.  Once online, it will synchronise it in the cloud for you.  This goes for other key web applications.  You can view your mail offline with GMail, and you can even view your Google Calendar offline.

Some of my Chrome web applications

With all this in mind, is there a web application for everything we need to do? Is it worth purchasing a Chromebook? A laptop which boasts a Chrome OS, an operating system based completely on the Chrome browser - nothing else.  In the next few blog entries I intend to find out if this is possible. I will be taking on what I have called the Chrome challenge.

The Chrome Challenge - For 1 week, I will use nothing but the Chrome browser to do everything I need to do on a laptop.

From the 3rd of December until the 10th, all my word documents, spreadsheet editing, even programming will all be done through the browser. I will be documenting the web applications I find, and the difficulties I come across.  At the end of the week I will give my conclusion. I have done some preparation work.  I know I need to write some music, so I have found a music notation web application.  The most challenging part is programming.  How does one code without a traditional desktop? Only using a browser?

These questions will be answered during the next week!

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  1. I'm reading...watching to see what your conclusions are. I won't mind the google OS as long as I can have iTunes. Everything else I do on the computer, I think I'll be able to survive doing it all inside chrome..evernote, web surfing, all google related stuff...yeah...

  2. Fantastic idea, can't wait to see your conclusion!

  3. Bolu, I'll be getting to music this week too! Essentially, having iTunes at home syncing to Google Music is a great combo. Day 2 is a music related post though, take a look!

    So far, things are looking good for chrome...