Chrome OS-based computers are simple, lightweight and easy to manage. Because of this they make a perfect fit for a number of applications. Sure, we’ve heard a lot recently about Apple’s decision to offer Mac OS X Lion run in Safari-only mode, but that does not detract from the fact that many everyday places and businesses we frequent could do well just implementing Chrome devices for easy internet access.
Hotel Business Center
Theses are machines that are normally used to print out airline vouchers; expense reports or whatever else needs to be done right away while you are traveling. These PCs are usually the last option when you are trying to get things done. My favorite is when these computers are hooked up to ten-year-old inkjet printers that are coated in a thick film of dust.
Many flights these days offer a touch screen in the headrest for you to enjoy music, movies and even shopping. What’s stopping that device being a Chrome OS-based screen that runs web apps that can give you access to almost the same exact thing? And since we’re not far off from seeing the Netflix plugin come to Chrome, you’ll be able to get all of your entertainment from there as well.
Executive Office Space
You’ll find these in larger cites and in expensive resorts; they can best be described as an “office away from your office”-type of situation. Many people need to find quiet spaces that require longer amounts of time that what you would typically need in a hotel business center. Good luck finding a desktop here with a recent version of Flash installed.
This is more common in Asia, but you can still find internet cafes in some locales stateside and other parts of the world. You might find them as a place to go for younger people to congregate and play online videogames. They are also a great place to run to when you are traveling to get caught up with email, get on Facebook or whip up a blog post.
Friend/Relative’s Home PC
Have you ever been to a friend or relative’s house and tried to use their PC? Often times you’ll find an array of interesting computer programs installed on these machines, ranging from WeatherBug to an interesting array of third party toolbars. You’ll often be told by your acquaintance that they don’t even use those programs, promoting you to roll up your sleeves and fire up Control Panel…
The Common Thread
Why am I listing out these for different machines? Because despite the fact that you will find these in very different scenarios, when I have come across these PCs there is always one striking similarity: many of these machines still were run Windows XP with Internet Explorer.
While to many this might be concerning, to me I see a great deal of promise: all of these machines could likely be replaced with Chrome OS devices in the near future. With the emergence of WebGL Internet Cafes could be deemed much more protected from viruses than ever before. With Google Cloud Print, you’ll never go to a business center fearing that printing is going to malfunction. Your friend or relative will be able to loan you a machine that you can use in guest mode – or even better, you could easily sign in with your own account from there as well as from any office location.
Do these situations seem realistic? Would you prefer to see Chrome OS on a random PC you encounter, or the Windows/IE combo we’re so familiar with seeing today?