This morning, I wrote an article detailing why I hate the idea of an OS built with cloud dependence in some of its core features. The fact is, there are many reasons why an OS built with the cloud in mind at its base is a good idea. This is especially true for users that are frequently doing work from the road that needs to access the most up-to-date copies of files.
Files and Content Remains Synced
Doing work in the cloud can be a tremendous help, especially when you’re collaborating with a team that aren’t in a single physical location. Cloud-based office applications like Google Docs have revolutionized the way many businesses think of telecommuting and allowed them to save significantly on overhead costs and infrastructure.
Chances are, something you’re doing on a web-heavy system will likely be backed up and synced across all of your machines no matter their build and specs. My desktop at home will have the same access to the same content my Chrome OS notebook would from the coffee shop down the street.
Hardware Costs are Much Lower
While I did cite hardware is getting cheaper and faster every day, the current state of the economy can’t be ignored. Spending thousands on a powerful system capable of doing tasks that can be done on a web-based platform isn’t always a viable solution. If I can accomplish the same output from a $200 netbook or a $1,000 notebook, I’m going to pick the netbook every time.
Battery Life is Generally Better
Wi-Fi and 3G connections eat at battery life, but not nearly as quickly as a system running hot because of clock cycles being spent running intensive programs. If I streamed music from Pandora and updated my blog on a Chrome OS system, I’m more likely to have a lot more battery life than I would playing music from iTunes and running Microsoft Word on Windows 7.
A Hardware Failure Doesn’t Destroy Anything Important
If you do a lot of work on the computer, you’ve probably had a hard drive, motherboard, or other major system component die on you at one point or another. A hard drive going out is a terrible event that has causes countless hours of work, photos, and other important data to be lost. The most important benefit to working within the sphere of the cloud is that your data is completely backed up. The chances of losing your online data to hardware failure is minimal as long as you’re using reliable services.
Overall, I think the idea of a cloud OS can be both good and bad, depending on your perspective on things. It might not hurt to have one of these resource frugal operating systems installed as a dual boot option for times when you’re on battery power and need to get something out on the net. What does concern me is how Microsoft and other major operating system developers intend to integrate the cloud in to their flagship desktop systems. If they do it right, it could be the best of both worlds.