Recently I’ve had a couple of conversations with friends about the state of my aging iMac and how I need to replace it with something newer. That got me thinking though about what I use my primary desktop computer for. I play a few games now and then, but it’s not my primary gaming system; for that I have other devices. What I really use it for is my general life productivity and internet tasks. That’s when I realized that 90% of what I do happens within a web browser.
My primary productivity suite is Google Docs, and for my email client I simply use the standard Gmail web interface in a pinned tab. All my social media is web based, or mobile device based, meaning that I don’t need to have any stand alone clients running. The only thing that I really need running on a constant basis is Google Chrome. The only time that I open up a standalone application with regularity is when I’m going to process photos in Adobe Lightroom.
That brings me to the point of this post. Of all the things that I do on my desktop, the one thing that I simply haven’t been able do on the web, is manage and process RAW photos with the ease and power of Adobe Lightroom. It is second to none in it’s capabilities as a photo organization tool, as well as advanced photo processing and editing. I occasionally open up Photoshop if I need to put together something that Lightroom can’t handle, but those times are few and far between. Yet, on my current computer, Lightroom takes multiple minutes to load. If I want to keep using it, I’m going to need to upgrade to something better.
However, there are some new options appearing out there that are trying to make it more feasible to do away with Lightroom. One of those is Polarr, an online photo editing tool that works on a Google Chromebook. It’s priced at $20 and has a huge chunk of the primary features that Lightroom has. From my initial glance at it, it doesn’t have nearly the library management features that Lightroom has, but most of the standard editing tools seem to be in place. I haven’t purchased it yet, or really run it through its paces, but I’m thinking I probably need to soon.
If a tool like Polarr can take the place of something like Lightroom, we’ve reached a new state of functionality with living in the cloud. I mentioned to my friend at lunch that the platform wars between Windows and Mac are over, and Google won.