Once upon a time, there were terminals that connected to mainframes.
In order to do anything, you had to log on to the mainframe.
And in order to change or add any new capabilities, you had to convince your IT department come and install it.
Next came terminals and minicomputers
You still had to log on to get anything done.
But you could now handle your own changes and additions without needing to go through a centralized IT department.
Next came personal
After that, you didn't need to log onto anything
unless you wanted to set it up that way.
You could handle your own updates and additions without needing to involve anybody else.
But these were isolated machines. So your PC couldn't communicate with any other PCs, or share data without first writing it to some form of media. Thus sneaker-net
Then along came Hayes and USRobotics, and FidoNet and RBBS-PC who gave those early PCs the ability to communicate through noisy modems.
Next came 3Comm and Shiva, who brought the benefits of inexpensive data networking to the PC so that the digital resources of all PCs could be freely and efficiently shared.
And last came the semi-divine ARPANET and it's half-sister The Internet.
And now all the personal computers of the world were finally able to have complete and total access to every computational and information resource of the planet Earth. And thus were the people of Earth united into one global community, even if this global community did not come in a form those who wished for one expected.
And the people of earth looked upon it and saw that - even if it was not perfect - it was still rather good.
And thus, a new era in human consciousness and evolution was born.
Then along came Google and it's bastard stepchild ChromeOS.
And suddenly, you once again had to log on to do anything.
And if you wanted anything added or changed, you could still (technically) do it yourself provided Google had what you were looking for.
Otherwise you'd need to petition Google's IT department to set it up for you.
And though the PC had evolved and become much smarter than it's ancestor the terminal, it was now regulated to the position of again being a device that relied on communicating with a mainframe in order to function.
Admirers of Google were quick to point out there was no such thing as a mainframe any more.
And to those who said all this was 'a giant step backwards,' Chrome's defenders replied: "We think of it more as coming full circle!
But whether or not there was one big central machine, or many smaller ones floating in a virtual cloud, it still amounted to the same thing: You needed to go through something else in order to do anything.
The so-called "personal computer" was once again little more than a terminal client on somebody else's network
But at least the graphics were pretty...
And for many people, that was enough.