So, the Google CAB yesterday wasn't just about security and privacy. We looked at the roadmap for Google apps, and at some exciting new developments - which I could tell you about, but then I'd have to kill you.
We also had an interesting session on Chrome OS, and Chromebooks, which are optimised for the web, and in fact only have a browser on them. Google's pitch is that they're easier to manage, more secure, have a lower TCO and make for more productive users. They're very quick to load - about 2 secs from sleep - and have 8 to 10 hours of battery life. Although we didn't get to play with one (they won't be in the UK till later this month), we were told they feel like a tablet. So, one question for Google might be - is there going to be a Chrome OS tablet?
They're secure, in that every app runs in its own sandbox, the OS is separate to the browser, local data is encrypted, and they only boot to a verified OS.
They can also be easily shared, as once you log in to the browser, it's your machine. I could see a really good case for using them as loan machines for students in places like the Information Commons and teaching labs. Or even coffee bars, the Student Union? We'll be getting hold of a few for a trial as soon as they come out.
The final presentation was probably the best. It was from ESSEC, a French Business School with campuses near Paris and in Singapore. They have embraced Google apps in a big way. They describe it as an ecosystem - they have no VLE, doing everything in apps, and they don't develop anymore but instead look for solutions to problems which are publicly available, for example in the Google market place.
They make extensive use of Google Sites to produce learning materials, and more than 70% of courses currently have a site. They also provide life-long access to course documents to alumni.
There's a nice site here with information about how to use apps. Hopefully this will be a Google case study soon. We saw a good video, which Jean-Pierre and Benjamin who were at the CAB star in, but I can't find a subtitled version on YouTube. So, for those of you who speak French, it's here: