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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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.