Friday, February 22, 2013

The pixelated cloud

I know +Sundar Pichai said that Google's new chromebook is named Pixel because we'll never have to consider pixels again once we start using it to access the cloud, but I thought it would be useful to consider what it would mean to add Pixel-like machines to the cloud.

First off, I think Google is dreaming here, but it's an intentional act of dreaming as indicated in this article shared by +Tracy L. Crawford. What currently boils down to a $1200–1500 high-end web browser is not a mass market machine. Instead, it's meant to evoke in the minds of people who can do something about it the kind of scenario where the Pixel makes sense. In a nutshell, I think that scenario is as follows:

  • Most of your processing power lives elsewhere. Google engineers using the Pixel are compiling on linux workstations back at the office. They're accessing Gmail and internal Google+ hosted by Google.
  • You're not hampered by legacy software compatibility needs, in particular the need for seamless Microsoft Office compatibility. It's amazing how embedded office is in the infrastructure of even new phenomena like eBooks or electronic publishing. Microsoft Word is effectively still the standard of exchange for a large part of the content production industry.
Who do I think this most closely fits right now? Students, traditional small businesses not heavily into content production, web-only content creators, and cloud software developers are a few groups who spring to mind.