Google Chrome OS: Promising – but promising what, exactly?

In his article “Five Reasons Google Chrome OS Will Fail“, David Coursey argues that Microsoft is simply too powerful in the OS market for any new OS to succeed. His collegue, Jared Newman, argues in “Five Reasons Google Chrome OS Will Succeed” that Google is so well-known and well-loved that it will surely succeed, and will help (if not cause) a market shift, moving a large part of the PC-owning population to Netbooks. Neither of them look at what Google promises with Google Chrome OS:

  • speed
  • reliability
  • low-cost

None of these are good enough reasons to move to a different OS, for most of us: most of us do not work on the web on a day-to-day basis. I know you are probably currently on the web (how else would you be reading my blog) as am I (how else would I be writing it – actually, any number of ways, but that’s beside the point). Desktop systems are used all around the world for a large number of things, including, but certainly not limited to web browsing and using on-line applications.

Does that mean that Google is missing the boat? I don’t think so. I’m assuming that they know that most people (probably including themselves) don’t work on the web all the time. I, for one, am perhaps on-line most of the time, but am certainly not using a web browser most of the time. I would assume, therefore, that even if the OS doesn’t come with a developers toolkit and word processor pre-installed, that doesn’t mean they can’t be installed. Hopefully, X (either Xorg or XFree) will run on Google Chrome OS, which means so will by far most applications based on gtk or Qt

I agree with most of the premises Google bases Chrome on – which is probably why I use it if I can: the web browser should stay out of the way as much as possible, have as little of a GUI as possible, and be as fast and secure as possible. Chrome (the browser), however, doesn’t lack any features that a browser needs (except perhaps a good Java plugin). I’m assuming that the Google Chrome OS won’t lack any necessities either – but I might be assuming too much.

About rlc

Software Analyst in embedded systems and C++, C and VHDL developer, I specialize in security, communications protocols and time synchronization, and am interested in concurrency, generic meta-programming and functional programming and their practical applications. I take a pragmatic approach to project management, focusing on the management of risk and scope. I have over two decades of experience as a software professional and a background in science.
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4 Responses to Google Chrome OS: Promising – but promising what, exactly?

  1. detoxdiet says:

    Chrome OS would be very competitive on Microsoft operating systems. I was thinking that one day, Google would launch an Operating system that would complete with Windows XP or Vista. Google and Microsoft would compete head to head now that Microsft launched its Bing search engine.

  2. Ronald says:

    Yes, well, that Google and Microsoft are going head-to-head on competition is, in my opinion, a Good Thing: competition in business helps us (the consumers) in that it brings the price down and (at least in theory) adds an incentive for better service. Microsoft hasn’t been very good at those two things (IMHO) mostly due to its monopoly.

    On the other hand, I do not believe a company should be punished for being successful: I am not one of those people that will simply shout “down with Microsoft” or “go Google” because Microsoft is making too much money and has been doing so for quite a while now. There are things about Google that I consider worrying as well. So I won’t be “rooting for” Google because they’re the “good guys” that might provoke the “demise of the evil Microsoft giant” – I’m just hoping more competition will lead to a better end-user experience, making all our lives easier.

  3. with the release of Google Chrome and Microsoft Bing search engine, one would expect that there would be a very stiff competition between Google and Microsoft.

  4. Linux is not an OS: it’s a kernel. As such, you can build an OS on it, as Debian, Red Hat and many others have done – using mostly tools from GNU.

    What I expect Google will do is to build a minimalist OS on top of the Linux kernel with a windowing system that might be of its own making – or might be Xorg or XFree – and a desktop environment which will, for all intents and purposes, be its browser. If the OS does not have too many services to launch (e.g. doesn’t start things like exim, apache, etc. etc.) but goes straight to launching the windowing system and web browser, start-up should be considerably faster than either Windows or any GNU/Linux distro in existence today and, Google’s purpose being to get the user on the web as quickly as possible, that purpose would be attained.

    Microsoft will probably respond with its own stripped-down version of Windows built around its NT kernel and its Internet Explorer, and competition will henceforth be a fact.

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