Navigating the Cloud OS Revolution with Google’s Chrome OS
Chrome OS, Google’s operating system built around the Chrome web browser, has emerged as a key player in the computing world. With its reputation for simplicity, speed, and security, Chrome OS provides users with a unique experience built around Google’s suite of applications and services.
Chrome OS has exploded over the past few years, surging 275% in the first quarter of 2021 alone. It’s dominated Apple’s macOS in sales, and Chromebooks outsold Macs two to one globally. At New Zealand schools, Chromebooks top the list of learning tools. Chromebooks are the number one device in K-12 education globally with 50 million students and educators using them worldwide to create, collaborate and communicate.
Its popularity continues to grow as it evolves: Chrome OS has more features and benefits than ever. While Chrome OS initially grew because of its popularity in classrooms, it’s become more popular among small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in recent years.
7 Benefits of Chrome OS
What makes Chrome the up-and-coming cloud OS? Its powerful benefits. Here are seven benefits of Chrome OS and popular use cases.
1. Simplicity and Ease of Use
Google focused on simplicity and ease of use when building Chrome OS, making it a great choice for many users, including those not technically savvy. Chrome OS provides a streamlined and intuitive user interface, making navigating and accessing applications easy. The advanced operating system concentrates on web-based applications and cloud computing, reducing the complexity associated with traditional desktop operating systems like Windows.
The critical elements of the Chrome OS interface are the Shelf, Launcher, and easy window management features. The Shelf is similar to a taskbar in other systems and is located at the bottom of the screen, where it houses app shortcuts. The Launcher is accessed through a circular icon on the Shelf and offers a search bar for web and device searches and suggested or installed apps. Window management is efficient and effortless. Users can snap windows to the side to access side-by-side viewing or use the “overview” key to open windows at once.
Chrome OS also leverages web apps, Chrome extensions, and (if supported) Android apps to enhance ease of use. A streamlined Chrome OS Files app acts as a file manager, while the intuitive settings panel allows users to customize their categories. In addition, recent versions have virtual desks, or virtual workspaces, to help users keep tasks and projects organized.
While Chrome OS is simple, it still has customization options for personal preferences and workflow, balancing its intuitive interface with user flexibility.
2. Speed and Performance
You may be ready to get to work, but is your operating system?
Chrome OS is designed to boot quickly and provide fast performance so users can start working within seconds. The lightweight nature of the operating system ensures resources are used efficiently, resulting in smoother and faster performance on lower-end hardware.
Its lightweight structure gives it a significant advantage over Windows and macOS because it needs minimal hardware specifications to run. That means that even budget-friendly Chromebooks provide smooth performance for email, web browsing, and everyday user tasks. Chrome OS operates in this way because it focuses on web applications that run in a browser instead of traditional desktop applications that use more processing power and memory.
Many operating systems lose speed and performance over time. Not Chrome OS. Its minimalistic design and reliance on cloud storage mean there’s less clutter on its local system that would slow it down over time. Chrome OS has automatic updates that keep the system secure and ensure optimal performance. The updates often have performance enhancements and optimizations. They also don’t interrupt user workflow because they’re applied in the background.
3. Enhanced Security
Security is one of the top concerns for businesses today. Cyberattacks are growing, and companies are increasingly vulnerable: IBM reported that more than 50% of organizations experienced significant IT and business disruptions due to a cybersecurity incident.
Chrome OS is known for its robust security features. It employs a sandboxing architecture that isolates applications and web processes, reducing the risk of malware and virus infections. If the Chromebook is directed to a page that is infected, it contains the threat to prevent it from impacting anything else on the computer. Plus, Google delivers automatic updates to ensure devices are consistently equipped with the latest security patches and bug fixes. It downloads updates in the background and prompts users to restart when ready, reducing user neglect.
Chromebook offers hardware security out of the box on the latest models with Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs) to encrypt data by default. Chrome OS comes with a process referred to as “verified boot” that prevents malware from tampering with OS kernels. If it detects anything unusual when a user starts the OS system, it automatically repairs itself without any user intervention. It will even revert to an earlier OS version if necessary.
Chrome OS uses TPMs to:
- Ensure no rollback occurs for software and firmware versions
- Monitor switches between normal operation and developer modes
- Safeguard encryption keys associated with user data
- Secure specific RSA encryption keys
- Offer evidence of tampering for installation attributes
- Defend the encryption keys of stateful partitions
- Verify keys are protected by TPM
- Verify the current operating device mode
Unlike most operating systems, Chrome OS doesn’t allow users to install traditional software or execute command lines. Limiting control increases security by reducing how a bad actor could compromise the system.
4. Cloud-Centric Approach
Chrome OS is fundamentally cloud-centric and seamlessly integrates with Google’s cloud services, such as Google Drive and Google Docs, enabling seamless collaboration and file storage.
At the core of Chrome OS integrations is Google Drive, which works seamlessly with its Files app. Considering that Google Drive is the most used cloud storage service globally, it is a powerful bonus to have the ability to access it like local files. The operating system emphasizes cloud-based storage, reducing the reliance on local storage and facilitating access to files from any type of device with an Internet connection. It can access these files from all devices with the user’s Google account, with all changes saved in real time in the cloud.
Google’s productivity suite, Google Workspace, works flawlessly on Chrome OS with immediate saving and easy sharing capabilities that facilitate collaboration. Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Calendar, and Gmail are easily accessible, and users can manage notifications directly in the Chrome OS system tray.
Chrome OS is deeply interwoven with Google’s cloud services, so work is always synced, backed up, and accessible.
5. Reduced IT Management Overhead
IT teams often juggle many different projects and priorities. Chrome OS helps streamline IT processes and reduce overhead by offering centralized device management through the Google Admin console. It helps by providing administrators with comprehensive control over an organization’s fleet of devices. Plus, the cloud-based management system offers easy provisioning, policy enforcement, and remote troubleshooting, reducing the time and effort required to manage individual devices.
Other critical ways it reduces IT management overhead include:
Easy Deployment and Scaling. Chrome OS is easy to set up immediately. IT administrators can manage it remotely, configure settings, manage users, and deploy apps. When looking for ease in cloud OS deployment, Chrome is an ideal option.
Robust Built-In Security. With features like sandboxing, verified boot, and automatic updates, Chrome OS reduces the need for additional security software or constant manual updates. It also lessens the risk of cyber threats, minimizing the resources and time IT teams devote to security measures.
Automatic Updates. Chrome OS updates automatically, reducing the time IT needs to perform manual patching and upgrades.
Cloud-Centric. Because Chrome OS is cloud-based, there’s less need to manage local storage or run backups since most user data is in the cloud. Users can log into a new device if theirs is lost or stolen and regain access to all of their data.
Reduced Troubleshooting. Because of its simplicity, less can go wrong compared to other complex operating systems. This significantly reduces the need for IT support and troubleshooting.
Easy to Manage App Ecosystem. Chrome OS apps are distributed through Google Play or the Chrome Web Store. IT administrators can easily control which cloud-based web applications can be installed on the devices and even push mandatory apps to all devices the company controls.
Google designed Chrome OS with streamlined IT management in mind. From deployment to maintenance, updates, and security, its simplified nature significantly lowers the total cost of ownership, making it a compelling choice for many organizations.
Chrome OS is often more affordable than traditional Windows-based devices. It’s the most cost-effective option for organizations with budget constraints.
The streamlined nature of Chrome OS reduces hardware requirements, making it possible for organizations to leverage lower-end, less expensive devices without sacrificing performance. It’s more energy efficient than other operating systems, which can help businesses save on their electricity bills. Plus, Chrome OS is designed to be reliable, reducing the need for extensive maintenance and support.
7. Seamless Integration with Google Ecosystems
The seamless integration of Chrome OS with the Google ecosystem presents a variety of benefits, offering a cohesive and streamlined user experience.
Chrome OS seamlessly interfaces with Google Workspace tools such as Gmail, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive, and Calendar. This integration enables easy creation, storage, and collaboration of files and documents in the cloud. Changes are saved automatically and accessible from any device, giving users a convenient and flexible experience.
The deep integration with Google Drive allows users to access and manage their cloud files as easily as local ones, which promotes efficient file management and automatic backup. Plus, the Google Play Store offers a range of applications that users can access with compatible devices, increasing the system’s utility.
A single Google account allows for synchronization across all Google services, allowing users to access all emails, documents, photos, and calendar events regardless of their device. This uniform access provides a consistent browsing and working experience across all devices.
The comprehensive integration of Chrome OS with Google’s ecosystem enhances its value for individual users and organizations alike, delivering an intuitive, productive, and collaborative experience.
Chrome OS Use Cases
Chrome OS is known as a versatile operating system that uses multiple platforms and devices. Here are some of the most common use cases for Chrome OS:
Chromebooks and Chromeboxes. Chromebook and Chromeboxes leverage Chrome OS as their operating systems. The devices are used primarily while connected to the Internet since most applications and data reside in the cloud. They are popular because of their affordability, ease of use, and robust security features.
Kiosks and Digital Signage. Chrome OS is ideal for kiosks and digital signage because of its simplicity, security, and ease of management. Digital signage benefits from Chrome OS’ ability to show web content and videos, while kiosks use full-screen apps and locked-down user experiences. Additionally, IT administrators can manage them remotely with the Google Admin console.
Chromebox for Meetings (CfM) and Chromebase. Chrome OS powers devices like CfM and Chromebase for business and collaborative environments. CfM runs on the Chrome operating system and is typically used with video conferencing software in meeting rooms. Chromebase devices are all-in-one machines with a built-in screen to use as a regular computer or a self-service kiosk.
Chrome OS Flex. Chrome OS Flex is a version of Chrome OS used to bring new life to old PCs and Macs. Organizations and users leverage Chrome OS Flex to repurpose hardware they already own, extending their lifespan and offering the advantages of Chrome OS without investing in a new device. It’s an excellent solution for businesses that want to transition to Chrome OS without investing in hardware upfront.
Cloud OS for the Future of Business
Businesses have to consider various factors when choosing an operating system. Chrome OS provides users with versatility, affordability, ease of use, and seamless integration with the Google ecosystem, making it an appealing choice. Its streamlined, cloud-centric operating system excels in performance and security without compromising IT management overhead.
Chrome OS can be used in several applications, from Chromebooks to kiosks to enterprise collaboration. Plus, with initiatives like Chrome OS Flex, Google expands the reach and utility of Chrome OS by revitalizing older hardware and extending the lifespan of existing devices.
To learn more about leveraging Chrome OS in your business, contact our experts today.