Why Google Chrome OS Will Have No Huge Impact

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 10, 2009
Updated • Jan 1, 2013
Google Chrome

Many news websites, bloggers and even conventional news sources such as newspapers or TV news have reported about the Microsoft killer Google Chrome OS, the cloud based operating system by Google that is based on their web browser Google Chrome and a modified Linux kernel. Google Chrome OS is expected to make its appearance on netbooks and other mobile devices in mid 2010. So what exactly is known about Google Chrome OS? The only viable information that are available stem from a post at the official Google blog that is introducing the Google Chrome OS.

According to this blog post the Google Chrome OS is "an open source, lightweight operating system" targeted initially at netbooks. Google will publish the code as open source and netbooks running the operating system will be available int he second half of 2010. The operating system is designed to boot up and display the web in a few seconds with a minimal user interface and most of the user experience taking place on the web. Google Chrome OS is compatible with today's chipsets and uses a "windowing system on top of a Linux kernel".

Journalists create a Microsoft Windows killer out of these information. It should be noted that Google is initially targeting the netbook market which has risen in popularity in the past years. Netbooks currently have a market share of about 20% of the mobile PC market which is predicted to increase further in 2010. The concentration on netbooks on the other hand dismisses the rest of the mobile PC market and the complete desktop PC market. It is impossible to become a Microsoft Windows killer with such a narrow focus.

Google probably has plans to offer their operating system to manufacturers of laptops and desktop computer systems as well although no announcement has been made so far.A cloud operating system could confuse and irritate customers as they might be buying a PC only to find out that they need Internet and cannot play the latest games or run Microsoft Office on it.

Talking about PC gaming and software programs. It is very likely that PC games will not run on the Google operating system and that game developers will not develop games for the operating system until it has a market penetration that makes developing worth their while. Web browser games are surely going to work but they usually cannot match the quality of desktop PC games. It is possible that PC games will use a netbook with the Google Chrome Os as a secondary PC but it is very likely that they stick with a PC running Windows in the near future.

The same is true for software programs. Many users are used to certain software programs which they do not want to change. A switch to a cloud based operating system would mean that these users have to learn new interfaces and programs. Tech savvy users on the other hand are used to these web applications and are therefor the most likely to give the Google Chrome OS a chance.

Businesses on the other hand are also not likely to switch to a cloud based operating system as it would raise security and privacy concerns but also mean intensive training of their staff.

Here is a prediction: Google Chrome Os will be a niche product in the next five years. It will not be a Microsoft Windows killer and it will mostly be used by tech savvy users who use the Internet all the time.

What's your take on the new Google OS? Will it be able to compete with Windows 7 in the netbook market or be a niche product just like the Google Chrome browser and Google Android?


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  1. Taco said on July 11, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Martin, my opinion of you has just risen. I will NEVER use cloud computing no matter if it’s open source or who develops it. No company in there right mind would either. This is all just hype, frankly the Chrome browser is overrated too. There are too many cheerleaders out there writing articles these days and it’s nice to see a little reality sneak in.
    Now, tell everyone that Windows 7 is a joke and XP is king and all will be right with the world. :)

  2. Rambo said on July 11, 2009 at 9:01 am

    As far as the Google Chrome OS is concerned, lets see how it comes out, after all its Google,

    Yes i also prefer the Personal OS, not web oriented

    but as far as Windows 7 is concerned yes it is good,
    way good in fact, i would recommend it as the OS, except all the apps now need to become compatible with that now.

    the problem is whichever is in the market has to be around long enough for apps to be able to work on them to be developed.
    If they start creating newer versions , games, apps etc dnt have th time to adapt.

    but as far as the browsers within the OS’s,
    IE8 which comes by default on Windows 7 and Chrome , come-on IE8 is still so far behind , in usability, Firefox and Chrome are way ahead.
    I still prefer Firefox for all the addons and scripts.

  3. Jamy said on July 11, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Everybody here says Microsoft is that and this but we all used it. I can only say one think. I did not liked as much Microsoft before Google. Now I love Microsoft as its the best competition Google has. Im really afraid on how Google wants to control data of the users leaving everybody out. They want to control the Internet and data. I hardly use a Google service as I dont like to be forced into one brand monopoly which is exactly what Google does. Believed or not, Windows and Microsoft lets me customize everything and use what ever I want. Google forces you into their services which is really EVIL.

  4. Roman ShaRP said on July 10, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    I’m strong fan of personal, not web-oriented OS.
    But I want to be free from Microsoft one day. So… I have to wait. :)

  5. n said on July 10, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    It is a much more valid point when speaking of the desktop, but I would think that if Chrome OS is successful on netbooks it will open developers up to making games for it when it arrives on the desktop, or else Google will just be forced to make some big contributions to Wine to make it work better with games.

  6. RG said on July 10, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    I have been around long enough to see that Windows 7 is getting some of the best initial impressions/reviews MS has ever gotten, that in itself is trouble any new competition, no matter what the kind (cloud, etc.) is. If this holds true when 7 is widely available the idea of cloud computing will be set back even more.

  7. paulus said on July 10, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    I dont no Martin this because Intel is going to cooperate with Google chrome OS, this in spite of there (Intel) one Moblin (Linux) OS. And i think that Microsoft is not ferry pleased with this.

  8. n said on July 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Somehow I don’t detect any real gaming appeal in Windows netbooks either. If you intend to play “quality [ ] desktop PC games” I doubt you would try it on a netbook. Cramped screen, cramped keyboard and the horror of using a touchpad for gaming (if you don’t pick up a new mouse with it) aside, netbooks almost universally have terrible graphics cards. Wine will work out of the box on Chrome OS, or somebody will port it and then you will be able to once more play whatever 2D indie games you were missing from your Windows netbook (though of course, indie games are wicked).

    And yes, if you really need Microsoft Office and can’t be bothered to use OpenOffice (there are valid reasons, I know) then that too has been working in Wine for ages. Wine might be considered a bit too much work for the average user, but if Chrome OS needs Wine to succeed, then I have confidence that Google will include it and any tweaks needed for running popular stuff perfectly.

    I don’t think it will be a Microsoft killer, but hopefully Google’s familiar name will help it do better than those crippled Xandros Linux netbooks.

    1. Martin said on July 10, 2009 at 7:25 pm

      The gaming remark was aimed at the whole PC market. If the Google Chrome OS wants to compete there (and become the Microsoft killer) they will have to find a way to get the games working or they lose a lot of customers before the competition has even started.

  9. Rarst said on July 10, 2009 at 5:53 pm


    >What makes this flavor of Linux different?

    I shall cynically say – Google’s cash. :) Look what it made of Firefox which is just browser.

  10. DanTe said on July 10, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Typical fandom response from “GBot”. Someone questions your gods so you label them “hater”. And the other lovely politically correct labels you folks love to use: “obstructionist” and “ignorant”. I’m sure there’s plenty of other labels, I just don’t remember them all. (Let’s start a contest listing politically correct labels.)

    Fact is: Google OS is just Linux. With all your info in Google’s Cloud. Linux came out first in netbooks and it still lost to Windows. What makes this flavor of Linux different?

  11. GBot said on July 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    You sound like a hater. At the very least, we have more competition for the blossoming netbook market, which is good for the consumer.

    I don’t care about killing Microsoft, I just want a better Google Apps experience in a portable form. iPhone is a damn good Google Mobile experience, but there is room in my heart for a GNetbook…

  12. Rarst said on July 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Nothing would happen instantly that for sure.

    But remember how netbooks started out with Linux and suddenly Microsoft was trying hard as hell to get Windows on them and Internet was suddenly full of news how are customers dissatisfied with Linux on netbooks?

    Microsoft sensed threat and moved fast to get rid of it.

    So now I find interesting how Google’s first target for their OS is precisely same spot. It is not about slaying Windows, it is about breaking first wall on that path.

  13. GeekLad said on July 10, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I agree that the Chrome OS won’t exactly be a Windows killer (initially, anyways). Besides, Microsoft is already working on Windows Cloud. Apple’s OS X has yet to kill Windows and I doubt that Chrome OS will have much more success.

    However, Google does have one advantage over Apple in trying to kill Windows. The OS won’t be attached to a very expensive (albeit pretty) and glorified PC.

    It will definitely be fast and it could potentially take a lot of netbook share, especially since they won’t have the Microsoft tax attached. Of course there will be a Google tax, but it will probably be considerably lower.

    As for gaming fitting into the equation… I don’t know that really will have that much impact. The PC gaming market has been steadily losing market share to consoles and I think that trend is going to continue.

  14. dip said on July 10, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Well since an internet-connection would be required for cloud-computing, streaming games would be made available as well, I doubt google would have a problem to provide the necessary infrastructure… but I too, wont be using it, no matter what.

  15. Anonymous said on July 10, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud

    let’s all type cloud some more. cloud cloud.

  16. Kaushik said on July 10, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Yeah, every new product is either a Google killer or a Microsoft killer. I’m tired of this nonsense and it’s irritating when it comes from some of the top tech sites.

    If I were Microsoft, I would be the least bothered. Chrome OS can’t be a Windows killer for the same reason why Linux and Mac OSX aren’t, and definitely not a cloud OS.

  17. DanTe said on July 10, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I wouldn’t trust any software from Google. They have proven the old observation: those who protest the most is guilty of what they’re protesting. And they protest to “DO NO EVIL”. So far they’re doing ok – if being a BigBrother is not evil.

    Like I would trust my personal data to their snoopy cloud computing. HA!

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