Hey Google, Chrome OS or cloud computing — what's it gonna be?

Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised. But I was. This morning, I woke to hear that Google has unveiled a new operating system — dubbed the Google Chrome OS — for netbooks, desktops, and other consumer-grade computers.

Isn't Google the same company that promotes cloud computing? You know, the paradigm that lets you access your applications and data anywhere, anytime, regardless of which operating system is running on your device? So why is Google creating yet another OS?

The folks at Google are unquestionably savvy. So I'm sure they've worked out the business case for the Chrome OS. But consider this: Twenty years ago, two OS providers, Apple and Microsoft, dominated the consumer PC market. And, despite some dips in Apple's marketshare (long since regained), the story hasn't changed much, aside from a relatively weak incursion by Linux.

So why does Google think they have a chance? And, given that developing an OS is a hugely expensive (and unending) project, how much will Google profit from the new Chrome OS? There's no question that Google has undertaken a major challenge — though, admittedly, they are one of the precious few companies who could pull it off.

What about you? Do you think (or hope) that Google can make a sizeable dent in the Apple/Microsoft hegemony? And if so, will that be a good thing for consumers?


Malte said...

I was disappointed to read that Chrome OS in fact will not be a new development but a YAL - Yet Another Linux. If it was a real new OS, it would have been interesting.

Sameer, presently of bangalore, india said...

That's correct. Another "Recompilation of the Linux Kernel". Another frivolous use of a frivolous OS. What is the Cloud anyway ?. Some more jobs to india. The slogan should be - Discard and Simplify. Other things in the remove list can be :

1. Most digital-serial bus - in favour of Ethernet. Though there can also be UART for those times where the simplest connect is needed.

2. Software Engineering ( Six Sigma, Compliance etc ).

3. Optical Compact Disks. Maybe somebody can device optical storage within a diamond.

4. Most programming languages in favour of C and Assembly, and maybe some simple non-java scripting.

5. All but 32-bit x86.

6. All memories ( SRAM, DRAM, Flash and spinning-disk ) in favour of Nantero's universal memory.

7. Outsourcing to india.

8. Moralistic projects like OLPC. Giving away cheap computers does not educate anybody.


I can remember only these now. Please respond.

Paul N. Leroux said...

Interesting points, Sameer. Your comment re OLPC reminds me of an educator boasting a few years ago of how they were helping young students learn how to create spreadsheets and learn other computer skills -- in some erroneous assumption that this would prepare them for the future. How about turning off the computers and helping them learn how to think?

Sameer, presently of Bangalore, India said...

I think You will agree that a computer is helpful when a spacecraft descends through a planetary atmosphere mostly on fire. But a MS Excel spreadsheet and Power Point came about because somebody would rather believe in numbers, charts and graphs than in simple words.

A senior rocketry engineer is somebody one would expect to be familiar with computers since long. Now, what the Chairman of ISRO ( Indian Space Research Organisation ) said to college students in Bangalore recently was that - Indians, meaning Hindus, used space technology five thousand years ago. And this is the mildest dating of "Indian" history according to "Indian" scientists.

What that would mean for History is that Iraq, Egypt, China, Greece were probably present in a parellel world.

Religion perpetuates via the Lowest Common Denominator being given right to communicate.

Elon Musk's Space Exploration Corporation has built better rockets in seven years than the much rich and resourced ISRO has in the last 50 or so years of its birth. Compare the SpaceX Dragon
manned transporter to what of ISRO.

And giving cell phones and broadband internet to indian villages will not make them stop wasting water on growing rice and vegetables, and killing ladies because they fell in love, and that is when a female escaped being killed in the womb.

Its rather unthoughtful that people today go from Spring Framework to Ruby Rails, without them of any real use in the Natural World. Just them being part of somebody's management-speak.

Maybe most electronic computers would be replaced in a few years by Biological and Nanomechanical ones, in the manner of the Dune world Butlerian Jihad ( those superb books by Frank Herbert ).