Upgrade Of Google’s Operating System Gets Tepid Reviews; Chromebook Won't Do The Job For Most RIAs Hot

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Chrome aims to replace Microsoft Windows. It runs on ultraportable computers called Chromebooks and uses a productivity suite that would replace Microsoft Office on your computer or Office 365, Microsoft's cloud-based productivity suite. Samsung, in tandem with the release of improvements to the Chrome OS, today released a new Chromebook Series 5 555, with a 12.1-inch, 1280 x 800 display, that weighs 3.3 lbs. and offers six hours of battery life.
The new release moves toward solving a major flaw: users could not access any of their documents without an Internet connection. You could not work offline if you were on a plane or in a dead spot for Internet access. With the new release, however, the New York Times reports you can work offline on the last 100 documents you have worked on in Google Docs, which is also called Google Drive. Engadget’s review, by far the most comprehensive I came across, points out that you still cannot edit Google Calendar offline. Other improvements worth noting:
·         You can now view multiple windows on screen.
·         A simple photo editor has been added
·         You can use Chrome to access and control remotely apps on any PC or Mac that’s powered on and running Google Chrome browser. (It’s confusing but Google calls its browser Chrome and that’s also the name of it OS.)
·         After purchasing the hardware, businesses can now buy lifetime management and support for $150.
Despite all these advances, the new version, the 19th, was roundly criticized as a weak alternative to Microsoft’s operating system and productivity suite.
 “In all likelihood,” says Information Week’s Thomas Claburn, “Google will be banging on some boardroom doors for the next decade before Chromebooks really take off.”
“For every feature that Google has added, there are two more that remain unavailable,” says Engadget’s Dana Wollman. Wollman says that while you can access your emails offline using Chrome, only emails from the last month are available for download and that assumes you always take the time to sync for offline access. “There will always be some hole in your workflow that keeps you crawling back toward your PC,” Wollman says.
In addition, the $549 cost of the Chromebook is only a few hundred dollars less than the price of a Mac Air laptop, which gives you all the power and more flexibility than a Chromebook.
At a recent A4A webinar, we conducted a unscientific poll and found that only about 10% of advisors are using Google Apps to run their practice. However, half of the advisors queried said that they were planning on moving their practices to cloud-based system by the end of the year. So it is important to keep up with Google’s progress.  


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