Friday, July 17, 2009


My dream of a Google operating system has been announced. I thought it was too much to hope for. I thought Google grew up too late to bother with an OS at this point. With everything moving into the clouds, who would start a new OS today?

When Andriod came along, I thought, well, there's one avenue to compete with MS and Apple that could expand into a desktop OS. Then, when the Chrome browser came out, I thought it might be the Google alternative to developing an OS. So, I was quite surprised to learn that Chrome is the stepping stone towards a complete desktop OS.

I love the idea of a Google OS for several reasons:
  1. COMPUTING POWER: Let's face it, unless you are working at CERN or Pixar, the vast majority of computational power that you are consuming today is happening on Google processors. It doesn't matter whether you are accessing your university's library or kicking back and watching Jacko's head on fire, the vast majority of the high-value math that is going on to bring you what you want is coming from Google. So, it might make sense that the people doing most of the process have a greater say in how the process components are fitting together.
  2. GREAT APPS: While not every Google Labs graduate knocks it out of the park, the batting average at Google is extremely high. Google Earth, Google Maps, Picasa, Google Desktop Search - these are all category killers. Remember MapQuest? Remember Adobe Photo Album? These applications were quite dominant and Google shoveled dirt on them. And it wasn't power that brought them to the fore, it was simply that they were better applications. Google Earth is practically miraculous considering the volume of data and processing that it must require, yet it runs more smoothly than iTunes.
  3. OPEN AND INNOVATIVE. Apple is the undisputed king of innovation when it comes to user experience, but its legendary secrecy kinda creeps me out. I have a hard time believing that it can be sustainable once Jobs leaves. Linux is the undisputed king of open, but I've never seen a single innovation come from Open Source. It's great at replicating, terrible at innovating. And MS spent the last 20 years trying to hold and fortify whatever area of computing it considered a chokepoint. It's worked well for investors, but it's a very unpleasant starting point. Google is the only one that seems to optimize for all. It's very open, very innovative and it always seems to find business models that optimize value for all.

I'm looking forward to the Chrome OS.


  1. I'm not expecting much on this, although I've predicted years ago that Google would make their own OS someday (of which I dubbed as 'Google OS'), given the tech skills they got. Why?

    1. Perhaps because it is too late for any new OS to appear to make a change? I think things would be different if it was released 2 or 3 years ago when a new OS release would make a major impact not only on computing but also user experience as well. Apple is going to release Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard soon 9or already?) and Windows 7 is just around the corner while Linux, particularly Ubuntu keeps being better and better each passing days. That makes Chrome OS almost irrelevant.

    2. Not everything is connected today as Google assumed. True, cloud computing is the 'in' thing today but good and affordable internet connection is still scarce like oasis in the desert. I mean internet connection is everywhere but not that many people are lucky enough to enjoy it, especially in the 3rd world nations that consisting the largest group of people in the world today. I'm currently using 3G; sounds hi-tech but then even that one shucks terribly (terrible, because port forwarding on 3G is like a taboo. Can you imagine that?). For many people, computing is still something that is better offline most of the time. In fact, many people still prefer doing their work offline as they only see the internet as nothing much but an extension to the existing phone networking/connectivity. Honestly, I see the advent of Chrome OS is like Google's (evil) attempt to make people switching their computing way from offline to online. In other words, to force people to rely on online services for all their computing needs. It sounds bad in some way or another, at least for me. Evil? Maybe not really but Google itself can be considered as an online (virtual?) company that relies on people's usage/utilization of online services to make money, which means the more people use online services, the more money they can get (even though most of their software are free). In this case, offline computing is like a bad thing to them.

    3. It is Linux-based. Linux ain't that bad but Chrome would be a BAD OS if it still feels like Linux when using it. Although Mac OS X is Darwin-based (a Linux-Unix flavored OS core) but they managed to churn-out something innovative and visually attractive from it. Unless Google can do something similar to what Apple had done, Chrome OS would become another lame OS.

    Anyways, I'm looking forward to the OS as well since I'm the long time (veteran?) Google search engine user.

  2. Those are some interesting comments halfey. I completely agree with you that Chrome must feel very different than Linux. Your point about Google using Chrome to entice people into the cloud is interesting. I think that it will offer a degree of simplicity and reduced costs (no hard drive, no software $$, no incompatibilities) that most people will find beneficial.

    Thanks for your insights.