ChromeOS Will Fail, Unless Its Purpose Is Not To Succeed

Google sort of released ChromeOS yesterday. I say “sort of” because they released the source code, but the official release of the OS is supposed to be in a year. Even the Chrome Blog hedged a bit, “Today we released Chromium OS, the open source project behind Google Chrome OS.” So, they released the open source project Chromium OS. As has been stated from the beginning, ChromeOS will be focused on Netbooks and people who mostly just use the web for everything. As with all things Google, the release has been all over the blogosphere, but there has not been the typical “THIS IS AWESOME” response. There are two reasons for this. First, Chromium is seriously an alpha product. If ChromeOS will not be ready until this time next year, there must be a ton of work to do. The second reason, which many blogs have not stated, is that everyone knows this will fail.

ChromeOS will fail because the timing is not right. If mobile phones were still those nasty little devices that made even checking email a chore, it would have a chance. However, with new BlackBerry devices, Droids and iPhones, we have the web everywhere we go. So, if the major benefits are web-only applications and a small and fast operating system, what do I really need it for? Even the mobile devices can store applications and tons of music. ChromeOS is not going to let me store anything local? Well, how do I play my music? How do I look at my pictures before I upload them to Flickr?

What if success of ChromeOS is not the point? What if the point is to get you used to Google having an operating system on your netbook or PC? What if this is just a big UI or skinning experiment? Maybe this is just a stepping stone until Android is really ready for your PC. That sounds like a real plan, especially from the likes of Google. Get some serious hype around a product, deserved hype as well from what the reviews say, and start leveraging its success in other areas.

That is why ChromeOS will fail, because it is not supposed to succeed. It is just an experiment in UI and operating system design. Whatever they learn will then be pushed into Android, the desktop OS.

7 thoughts on “ChromeOS Will Fail, Unless Its Purpose Is Not To Succeed

  1. Agree on your view.

    Regarding the local storage, Chrome OS might be building some web services/storage as part of their OS development in order to allow the user to store and review their documents before uploading to the target site (like, youtube or Flickr!).


  2. Veera

    The main reason I pointed out local storage is that it is a fundamental concept. Even if it is planned for development, it is very surprising to “release” the project without it. I know Gears is talked about a lot, but no local storage makes it much more difficult to work with.


  3. Kyle

    I thought you were a protector of Google 🙂

    Seriously though, I am not sure if it is a stupid idea to have a lightweight, web optimized OS. Honestly, it sounds like a decent idea, but the implementation so far is lacking.


  4. Hey Rob,

    Not a defender of Google, just reason and practicality.

    One of the main points people are failing to understand about this is that it’s essentially just another GUI for the Linux kernel. It’s not some super special new OS, but just a pairing down of hardware and software features with a new window dressing. That’s all it is.

    This sort of Operating System has not only limited scope but limited practical use – I have a netbook, but at any given moment I can be running Pidgin, Firefox, Netbeans, Notepad++, StarUML, FileZilla, gimp, or a number of other products.

    All of which are definitively not browser-interface resources.

    To me, this is about as useful as the OLPC product in a, say, San Francisco environment.



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