Google Chrome OS long seemed like a solution looking for a problem. In a world dominated by Microsoft and Apple, it was hard to find a purpose for a lightweight platform that was mostly for basic applications like word processing and spreadsheet usage – and an OS that required internet access to function.
Then K12 came calling. Chromebooks – lightweight, durable, cheaper than their Apple and Microsoft alternatives – caught on with school districts looking for a suitable vehicle as 1:1 programs took on steam. However, school districts across America got a wake-up call on the potential hazards of putting all their eggs in Google’s basket when a network policy update pushed by the search giant’s administrators caused devices to temporarily lose internet connectivity. This would be a headache for any notebook computer, of course, but in a Chromebook environment, this is mission critical: without internet access, a Chromebook becomes a paperweight.
Google won’t say how many users were affected, but one school district alone believes that all 20,000 devices in its network were impacted. The issue was fixed on the same day, and Google posted a series of steps that districts could take to solve the problem. But many IT professionals are now concerned, especially if Google pushes a major update that isn’t rolled back easily.
As school districts seek to facilitate active learning, they turn to Silicon Valley in ever greater numbers seeking to adopt the right technology. But even mighty Google isn’t immune to technical difficulties.