Although it's still struggling to compete with its Android mobile OS and Chrome web browser, Google's Chrome OS has a great chance at shaking up the netbook market in 2010. While numerous pundits expected the company to get into the OS market, PC Magazine predicted that the Chrome browser would evolve into an OS back in September 2008. Columnist Tim Bajarin had the presence of mind to write:
"Chrome already acts more like an OS than a browser: It loads Web-based applications, manages memory and processor use, and keeps apps from interfering with one another.
Now, the cynic in me says that this is just another reminder that Google wants to control the Internet and make everyone its slaves. Google does want to expand its dominant position, but making the browser more powerful and developing it in the likeness of an OS is something you can expect from Microsoft, too, as well as from other open-source browsers on the market. Clearly, other browser makers understand that the browser is destined to become an OS and are working on similar strategies of their own."
With the proliferation of web applications, the browser is becoming more important and the OS is becoming less so. Relying on the cloud lets consumers work and play on less powerful and less expensive machines in an acceptable fashion. Chrome OS is indicative of this ('90s corporate buzzword coming) paradigm shift in computing. Whether it sticks or not remains to be seen. Ultimately, web-app developers will determine the success of Chrome. I can't wait to see how it all pans out. For now, I'm impressed that Bajarin was astute enough to call Chrome OS -- makes me proud to be a PC Magazine alum!