Late Tuesday night, the Google Blog officially announced that the Google Chrome OS was a reality and would appear on netbooks some time later next year. So it seems now is the time where a lightweight contender with enough focus, and enough driving force could succeed in tipping the balance finally from desktop to web.
Google chrome OS
If you remember the very first Micrsoft WPF demos, they showed desktop applications which were email-able, inherently connected. At the time I considered these islands in the cloud, whether that was the future of apps, indeed it seemed silly to have to start an OS, to start a web browser, to start an app. Why not cut out the middle man (as does AIR). But this big old web-browser kept on being too useful, too good at connecting the dots, so it lingers. When you turn it into the OS, that doesn’t cut out the middle man, it cuts out the old guy that was behind him. Indeed most people don’t even know what the browser is/was.
Google Chrome OS is nothing new, from the Pogo of the 90’s, to linux netbooks of this decade, to the Crunchpad of next, we’ve seen these light-weight alternatives come and go, but this is a war of attrition, and it’s the users that are the grains of sand wearing down at the walls of the Fat Operating System, not the technology.
The announcement contained a thesis statement that is a bit more significant than it might appear at first: “It’s our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.” That statement has both strategic and practical implications, which we’ll consider in turn.
From a strategic perspective, “what operating systems should be” clearly involves a heavy dose of Google-driven Web apps, from e-mail to spreadsheets. The entire OS will be focused on getting users into a Web browser as quickly as possible; any other applications will be secondary and probably not provided by Google. Instead, once the browser launches, users can do their computing via online applications, saving their data in the cloud
Google views this as computing nirvana for users, saying, “[Users] want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files.”
But there are still a variety of applications that simply can’t be replicated within a browser, and consumers have had a mixed reaction to Google’s own apps, embracing Gmail but finding its presentation software to be severely limited compared to its desktop app counterparts. But the Chrome OS will be appearing first on netbooks, which can’t handle some of the more heavyweight desktop applications in the first place. And the new offering has the potential to drive users to rely on Google’s online offerings, which certainly would further the company’s goals.
Google expects this to be a a full fledged open source operating system built from the ground up. Its focus will be on speed, security and simplicity much like the Google Chrome web browser and Android OS.
Google says that they are working on making netbooks running Google Chrome OS for availability sometime in 2010 with the help OEM like HP, Dell, Acer etc… Your move Apple and Microsoft.