Google has announced a new operating system project: Google Chrome OS. This is separate from Android, Google’s mobile phone OS.
Chrome OS is a “open source, lightweight operating system”. It won’t be available until the second half of 2010, but the source code will be made available later this year.
At the heart of the OS is Google’s Chrome browser. In fact, the operating system appears to be little more than a secure platform for the browser to run upon. Google says the following: “Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds.”
Some reasons Google Chrome OS will do wonders,
– It is OPEN SOURCE
Chrome OS appears to be based on a Linux kernel with a custom windowing system. It’s worth remembering that windowing/desktop interfaces matter less when you consider this is simply a browser-based operating system designed to get you online and push you towards online applications.
– GOOGLE is taking on MICROSOFT
Google is producing a product that directly competes with Windows. To add insult to injury, it’s open source — the one thing that Microsoft really hates.
By using open source, Google is positioning itself diametrically opposite Microsoft. In some ways, Google had no choice but to embrace open source.
– Chrome OS is just another sign that open source is going for an all-out attack on the netbook arena.
With Microsoft allegedly limiting the power and size of discount Windows XP-licensed netbooks, the door is open for Chrome OS to back better machines.
Some challenges for Google Chrome OS,
– Netbooks aren’t the world
Netbooks may be important, but they remain a tiny part of the world’s PC sales. Google’s bet is predicated on strong demand for weak computers. It also takes advantage of a kink in Microsoft’s armor: MS actually needs to sell its operating systems while Google can, for now, afford to just give Chrome away.
Google is counting on users of small computers not being tied to specific applications and being willing to accept low cost and, perhaps, ease of use over a more familiar and more powerful environment.
– Microsoft can shoot to kill
I’m Steve Ballmer and here’s what I say: Windows 7 NB (for netbooks) will be free through all of 2010. Starting right now. Anything Google can do, Microsoft can–at least theoretically–do better. Google wants to give away a netbook operating system? So can Microsoft.
It will be hard for regulators to complain as Microsoft is now reacting to a powerful competitor’s frontal assault on Windows. And placing and end date on the freebie–which can always be extended–allows MS to charge once Chrome is vanquished.
– Google Docs is the best they can do
Google’s cloud computing strategy so far is “applications lite,” which may be fine for occasional use, just like a netbook, but don’t meet enough needs to be a real solution.
Compatibility, both hardware and software was the major reason why the world anointed Microsoft its King of Computing.
Compatibility really matters and while Chrome’s world may be complete as far as it reaches, there is always more. That’s why Windows, frustrating as it may be, will prevail. The “20” in the 80/20 Rule matters a lot more than proponents of “80 is good enough” like to think.