Google Chrome OS: Linux finally conquers the Desktop
Details are sketchy but Google is finally throwing their huge sombrero into the Operating System ring. After years of surveying the competition and developing online versions of all the popular office applications, Google is now going to tackle the foundation of the PC platform. We know it will be a new windowing system that will run on a Linux kernel. It will also be completely open source (the GPL wins again).
There are several obvious things that will happen here. Google is going to put it’s considerable marketing muscle behind getting Netbooks to use Chrome as the default instead of various other flavors of Linux. Microsoft is going to push these same vendors to use Windows 7 instead. Google is going to price this thing rock bottom, in all likelihood it will be a free download. Couple that with Snow Leopard’s ridiculously low upgrade price and it becomes clear that this OS cycle consumers are going to be the big winners.
I have long maintained that the only thing stopping Linux from becoming a viable desktop OS is that design (UI/UX or otherwise) doesn’t work by committee. But the community is perhaps the single most important part of the open source movement. By putting Google designers in charge of figuring out the windowing system Chrome is probably going to be the first linux flavor to be genuinely polished from a UI perspective (Even though Doug Bowman might disagree).
There is one big problem though. I can’t use it. Not as my primary OS anyway.
Google say the only way developers will build applications for it is through web technologies, taking a page out of Apple’s iPhone 1.0 marketing spiel. Given enough bandwidth you might be able to get away without access to the internals of the PC but as long as there is a need to run compiled code for applications/games like Photoshop or Fallout 3 this is not going to be my OS of choice. It will however be perfect for any number of people that just want a computer that does their email and web stuff. Throw in the occasional flash game for good luck.
Cower in fear Microsoft, this is the moment Balmer has been sweating for years (literally). Maybe Microsoft should sue Google for monopolistic tactics. After all, you can’t install a competing web browser when the OS is the web browser.