I wonder if people are freaking out at Microsoft this morning: Google announced they are launching an operating system, putting them in direct competition with Microsoft Windows -- it's a little like one pirate ship firing a cannonball across the bow of another, only the pirate ships are multi-billion dollar tech corporations. It's also a little like David Vs. Goliath, given how monolithic Microsoft is in the operating system space.
According to Google:
Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks.
Google's strategy to take on the eight-million pound OS gorilla of Windows is obvious: "Lightweight and open source" is, basically, the exact opposite of Vista's throw-in-everything vibe, so Google seems to be pitching an operating system that addresses and destroys the common problems caused by (or at least not solved by) Microsoft's Vista. It's hard to read this description of Chrome and not see it as shots at common problems with Windows:
People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files. Even more importantly, they don't want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates. And any time our users have a better computing experience, Google benefits as well by having happier users who are more likely to spend time on the Internet..
In other words: "This OS won't perform like Windows."
When combined with Google's mobile OS, it looks like the company is making a serious play to take over every shiny, rectangular tech surface on earth. But whether they'll end up successful is anyone's guess. Google's Chrome browser, while excellent, hasn't gained much market share since it launched. IE remains the most popular web-browser by far--maybe simply because people are used to it--so it's hard to imagine too many people lining up to change their operating system at the drop of hat. Open-source Linux-based netbooks have been available for a while now, and it's not like everyone (or, really anyone) uses them. Chrome OS has got to come out swinging pretty hard to capture the market beyond the tech-heads who love anything new.
We'll all find out in the second half of 2010, when the first Chrome OS equipped netbooks hit market.