Anyone who has had the opportunity to walk into a support/call center for a bank or telecom company in the past would have definitely seen these small and “thin” machines being used to provide support. Now these machines aren’t just called “Thin” clients because of their physical size and shape but also because of the way these machines would handle computing requirements.
A full-fledged PC usually carries out all the computing requirements locally and then can communicate and pass or store data in a server. A thin client on the other hand is a trimmed down version of a PC that has a very low end processor, minimal flash memory and doesn’t have any moving parts like the fans and hard drives that you see in the normal PCs. The reason for the same is that thin clients usually pass on most of the work to the server they are connected to. Thin clients need to be connected to a server to be able to carry out its processing requirements and to store all data.
The advantage that one had using thin clients was that data would be more secure since it was all stored in one location on the server. Thin clients also would cost less than a full-fledged PC and would allow companies to scale easily while protecting their data as the requirements for more terminals came up.
Google’s Desktop OS is called Chrome OS which builds on the thin client architecture but instead of using physical servers that thin clients do, Chrome OS unlocks the power of Google Cloud Services to achieve maximum efficiency and allow scalability at a fraction of the cost.
Chrome OS completely changes your hardware requirements since it doesn’t even need your hardware to have large hard disk drives. It doesn’t require you to install applications that you require and it lets you use applications from its web browser of the same name. All your data is stored securely in the Google Cloud. You don’t have to worry about security patches and updates since your hardware boots up each time with the latest version of the OS. The boot time is also very quick since the machines are very light on its storage, is built for web capabilities and usually boots up in seconds. The OS is also very light in size. For example, Windows takes up over 60 times the space required by Chrome OS.
After Google’s Chrome OS, the concept of netbooks came up that allowed hardware manufacturers to replicate the success of laptops but at a much lower price point. A number of support centers and educational institutes have taken advantage of Chrome OS to allow team members or students to be connected to the internet and allow them to run applications securely over the cloud. It also allows multiple people to use the same machine and have access to all their files and folders from the cloud and run the applications they require to ensure productivity. It allows all of this in the same secure cloud based environment that Google provides and all the Cloud based services that comes with Google.
Thin clients are hence a concept of the past and Google has been collaborating with hardware manufacturers to ensure that its Chromebooks or other netbooks use Chrome OS. Hardware has changed at a very fast pace and is still changing at a very fast pace and Google is driving a large part of this change with its advanced Cloud Based Operating System – Chrome OS.