Early this morning, Google posted information on their official blog about their upcoming Google Chrome OS. Needless to say, many in the tech world lost it. Ever since Google's "evil" plans for world domination were first set into motion so many years ago, many have wondered when they were going to drop the bomb and launch an actual OS. Speculation about what this means has pretty much dominated conversation and many are even wondering if it will ultimately kill Windows.
Google Chrome is the light-weight, standards-compliant, blazing fast Google web browser that we covered last year. It has since gained momentum and many, including me, use it as their default browser. The point of Google Chrome was to show browser developers and users what is really possible with a browser.
Since we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if you started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that's what we set out to build.
The final sentence of this quote provides a clue to the recent news about this Google Chrome OS. They set out to build "a modern platform for web pages and applications." Google Chrome OS is the obvious next step in this evolution.
Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.
This is not really a new concept, but the fact that it's being implemented by Google is what makes it exciting to many. I worked for a company back in 98 or so that built Linux-based thin clients whose sole purpose was to allow internet access with minimal overhead. We installed some of these at the Atlanta University Center Library. Getting everything to fit and run properly took a lot of hard work and creativity, but that was a long time ago. Google has grown a lot since then.
Most of the applications we use on a daily basis are now available in the cloud and many are provided directly by Google. I'm not sure if they planned it that way, but an OS that focuses on the browser is much more feasible because of it.
Will It Kill Windows?
This is the sensational question posed by Mashable. They also ask will it run Photoshop. Google is primarily targeting netbooks, which are pretty low-powered laptops created specifically for users who just want to do basic things like...browse the Internet. If you want to play games, edit videos, or process photos, you probably don't want a netbook and you may not want Google Chrome OS.
Is everyone going to drop there current OS of choice and start using Google Chrome OS when it drops next year? Probably not, but it definitely has the potential to gain traction and provide competition. Google is betting on the cloud being the future, people storing things remotely and working primarily in the browser. The potential here is that we can do more with less, opening doors to get more of our community online. The hardware will be less expensive, the operating system and web applications will be free and free is one feature that neither Microsoft nor Apple can compete with.