Some Shortcomings of the Google Chromebook

I am not one single bit anti-Google but despite being impressed with what Google delivered in its Samsung and Acer Chromebooks for business and a pure internet browser OS, I can’t help noticing that there are some weak links in the otherwise superb framework.

Businesses need to be aware of these loopholes before the devices hit the shelves. Below are some points outlined that throw light on these aspects. Ultimately I hope for the best that Google would refine the Chromebook to make it a better platform.

Virtual Private Networking

The Chromebook’s Chrome OS have an internal Virtual Private Network capability that needs some serious makeover, since its BETA version is nothing short of an immaturely delivered package. In order to activate the VPN functionality along with its other BETA version features one has to;

Type; “about:flag” in the address bar. Then select “Enable VPN support” from the list of experiments displayed.

Then there is still a Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol/Internet Protocol Security (L2TP/IPSec) private network from the Chromebook’s network control to be added. In its BETA version Chrome supports L2TP/IPSec via a pre-shared key or user certificate. Chrome OS will support VPN from Cisco and Windows servers but not from OpenVPN.

Wi-Fi is rather picky

WLAN security comes in different forms. Yes if that is news to you try it with the Chromebook. The Chromebook supports many of the more common Wi-Fi security methods but not all of them. Frustratingly even WPA2 and Cisco’s LEAP is not accessible onto the platform. But one can try and experiment them from the same place where VPN was test-run, because the hardware does support it.

File manager

The Chromebook’s file manager is opened by the “Control + M” keyboard combination or is automatically accessed after inserting a memory card in the card reader. But just try to manually double-click a file and it starts acting up. Some files may be opened via the file manager, others give an error while even others are opened in a different manner. Google should make one type of system to file opening and running as well as provide the right actions for their respective file types.

Easier System Access

The Chromebook’s system is a little weird in a different way I must say. Although the browser OS covers the entire concept of the netbook, I still feel something is amiss.

Being a Linux and Chrome Web based browser nearly everything is governed with the Wrench tool and the setting control. But about:flags isn’t the only obscure thing that is necessary to functionality. In order to set up an SSH network connection one has to press control + alt +T for the CROSH shell. The combination is not even found in the Chrome OS keyboard overlay (control-alt-?).

The Samsung’s Chromebook developer mode has a more powerful BASH shell but I would not recommend that to average users.

Google’s Chromebooks are truly an innovation but Google was too hasty and launched a raw, dysfunctional and a mediocre technology item. I had expected that Google even if it had meant to develop plain old netbook, would have thrown in some genius factor in it to make it worthwhile not only for business and utility purposes but also as a premium browsing machine out of hobby or entertainment uses.

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