One thing I did realize is that it is not in competition with Firefox or any other browser. This is competition directly aimed at Microsoft Windows. This is fairly obvious, when on the welcome page, creating “application shortcuts” is highlighted.
If you click through to the post that is linked, it should look familiar. Yes, it is my blog and my opinion, and I just wanted to say “I told you so” 🙂 In all seriousness, this is not a surprising move for Google as they have been trying to get on the desktop for what seems like an eternity. You could go as far back as the release of Google Gears to really get a sense of it.
The official announcement was made late last night and almost every tech blog known to man is covering it. Here are the more important parts:
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.
The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.
The OS is going to be open source and is really just a windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. Obviously, this is a play more to netbooks than traditional desktops. However, anyone that follows the computer industry knows that laptops have continuously gained marketshare, so this is a simple attempt for mainstream acceptance using a somewhat limited beta test.
The other side of this is that it could render tablet PCs obsolete before they get off the ground. Not surprisingly, Louis Gray already thought about that:
The focus on those people who spend most of their time on the Web sounds like it would be in very close proximity with the CrunchPad I covered over the weekend, but funded by a company with thousands of employees, not a few dozen.
Basically, Google has known that mobile computing is the future for quite some time. They already have a phone OS in Android, and now they have a Netbook OS with Chrome. If you already have most of your documents online using Google or Zoho, what do you really need a standard operating system like Windows for? If the Linux kernel is there for basic device support and printing support, what else is needed? As a consumer operating system, what is simpler than a browser?
I do have a few minor notes based on other ideas I have in my head or heard on the interwebs. It will take a long time for this to become a developer operating system. Eventually it could happen, but there is a lot of work needed for something like that. Also, this is not targeted at Apple at all. Apple has often expressed their disdain for netbooks and if they ever do come out with a tablet computer, it will be all pretty and people will buy it anyway. Apple has always loved form over function, so their tablet would likely be a beautiful machine. Plenty of people have bought into the iPhone and iPod OS as well, so the OS war for mobile computing could become a three horse race of Google Chrome, Google Android and Apple.