Yep – it’s true. Google are venturing into the world of computer operating systems and have clearly put Microsoft on notice.
In case you missed the news, last week Google confirmed that they will be launching an operating system (known as Google Chrome OS) that will provide PC and laptop users with an alternative to Microsoft’s various Windows operating systems.
According to Google’s announcement:
Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we’re already talking to partners about the project, and we’ll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.
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. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.
Many people in the industry will see Google’s decision to develop an operating system as a significant deviation from their core focus – Search and internet apps.
But when you read between the lines, Google Chrome OS isn’t really a direct attack on Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Google are actually positioning themselves at the forefront of the next computer frontier – The Cloud (the internet).
To use a well beaten cliche, Google is helping to “move computing from the desktop to the browser”. And Google Chrome OS is aimed squarely at facilitating this shift.
Google Chrome OS isn’t about massive processing power; it’s about getting users online – fast and securely, and leaving the processing and storage to The Cloud. Given their existing work with the Android mobile phone operating system, Google Chrome OS seems a fairly logical extension of this development path.
With a year (at least) until we see Google Chrome OS in our computers, what would we expect to see happen during that time?
Here’s some of my speculation:
- Microsoft trying to fast track adoption of the Windows 7 OS
- An expensive advertising and PR campaign by Microsoft to sell the virtues of Windows 7 and repair the damage caused by Windows Vista
- Google expanding their portfolio of cloud based apps and tools
- Google negotiating with hardware manufacturers to ensure Google Chrome OS is the default operating system on new machines
- Google finally injecting some energy in the Android Mobile push to create some pull demand for Chrome OS.
- Microsoft investing in more cloud based applications and tools and really promoting the Windows Live brand (or dropping it in favour of Bing Live)
And don’t expect to see Yahoo! to do much in the OS space, but potentially trials some Cloud based stuff – unsuccessfully.
So what do you think of all the Google Chrome OS hype?
- Would you switch from Microsoft Windows or Mac OSX – Leopard?
- Do you think it will spark a critical mass migration to Cloud computing?
- Is it a dangerous distraction from Google’s core strategy of Search and Internet Apps?
- Will it make you consider (or reconsider) the impact of cloud computing in terms of how you operate your business?