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?