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Google Chrome OS: The Perfect Web App OS?

chrome_os_streamPeople have been talking about a Google OS for years; I even wrote a post for GigaOM Pro recently speculating on a Google “Web OS” (subscription required). Well, late yesterday Google (s goog) announced that it’s working on a brand new operating system, Chrome OS. According to the announcement, Chrome OS will be a natural extension of the the excellent Chrome browser. This will be a new, lightweight operating system, designed from the ground up — not based on Android — and originally targeted at netbooks.

The announcement rightly points out that the major operating systems available today were designed before the web existed. With most people’s computing activity centered on the web today, a new OS that makes the web the platform makes a lot of sense. As James Kendrick over at our sister blog jkOnTheRun notes, Chrome OS is a “web, or cloud, OS that puts the bulk of all user activity firmly up in the web.” For people primarily using web apps, a lightweight operating system designed for working on the web with instant access to all of your applications and most of the heavy lifting done by the cloud could be perfect. But let’s not get too excited just yet — Chrome OS isn’t expected to be available until the second half of 2010.

What are your thoughts on Google Chrome OS?

10 Responses to “Google Chrome OS: The Perfect Web App OS?”

  1. Honestly I have to laugh at the MS bashers wishing for Google to do to Microsoft what MS did to OS2/Apple etc…then where will be be…oh yeah they’ll start hating Google for being all dominating and a monopoly. A webOS is not a new idea, a search engine was not a new idea, Google don’t do new ideas. To their credit they do improve what they copy and push Apple/MS etc and there is nothing wrong with that. By all means people should be enthusiastic about a new entrant but perspective (see the 1st comment for example) should be maintained.

  2. @Chrome OS Zone – “MS will do just fine just like they haven’t been phased by Chrome Browser but others have.” I’m not sure about that! IE is losing marketshare rapidly. maybe the other browsers are losing more of their share to Chrome, but Chrome is another browser that’s better than IE, and another nail in the IE coffin.

  3. Chrome OS will likely cannibalize the Linux market like Ubuntu. And might even get some of that MAC market if Apple still refuses to make Netbooks. MS will do just fine just like they haven’t been phased by Chrome Browser but others have.

  4. Its groundbreaking idea from Google web OS and they are planning to wipe out Windows in a most strategic manner. Google clearly pointing to Microsoft when they say “The operating systems that browsers run were designed in an era where there was no web”. But there are few questions which are unanswered like what will happen when we will go offline in Chrome OS? Can we use offline applications like iTunes or Photoshop? Can we run third party applications? How they are going to make profit from it ? I am also bit concerned whether Chrome OS will be embraced by enterprises as it is open source and web based as there is always a security issue….Just wait another thought can Chrome OS will become a global hit especially in small countries where internet is very fickle. But leaving these things aside its going to be win-win situation for the users and it will be interesting to witness the war between giants.

  5. @rick – I can live nearly 100% of the time in the cloud right now — I couldn’t have said that a year ago, & second half 2010 is a long way away yet. I’m not sure that it is 5 years too early, but you’re right, it will be very challenging to make something that will work well for everyone just yet.

  6. But it’s not a local OS. SO @1 sounds to be out of luck. And it’s not a new OS – from the announcement it sounds like the Linux kernel, probably a new graphics manager (not X11) and the Chrome browser. I imagine there will be some basic device drivers peripherals, but this is meh. Few of us can really live in the cloud 100% of the time and 2010 won’t change that. As a netbook OS this sounds great – light, fast and cloud oriented for a device that’s mostly a way to check stuff on the web.

    But if they expand it to a real OS that runs local apps (not locally hosted web apps) they and their fans will see all of the hard things about an OS – device compatibility, recompiling for a new OS, etc.

    Verdict? So far it’s a nice OS for netbooks, tablets etc. It’s also about 5 years too early as it wants us to live entirely in the cloud.

  7. At SplendidCRM, we are die-hard Microsoft supporters, but we would be interested in a Google OS so long as Miguel de Icaza and his Mono team can enable us to run our .NET application on the new OS. As application developers, we are less enthusiastic about learning a new OS or a new API, but we would be very open to running our application on a new, fast, simple and secure platform.