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There’s hardly anything to add to the actual announcement– the whole world is talking about it, and I don’t just mean TechMeme entirely taken over: when Reuters, The New York Times and just about all mainstream media reports it, you know there’s something big – but is it nuclear? We’ll have to see.
Krish’s first reaction: Google Chrome OS: Why? Why? Why? Our in-house Open Source evangelist regrets Google did not rally behind one of the existing Linux distros – well, Linux had already failed on the Netbook market: the initial batch of Netbooks in 2008 were mostly Linux-based, and 4 times as many of these were returned then the WinXP –based ones. Google is clearly better off coming out with their own one and they have the Brand Power to push it as new and fresh – oh and of course there is the benefit of tight integration with Google’s own Chrome browser.
Oops.. what did I just say? Tight integration of the OS and the browser? But wait, wasn’t that Microsoft’s capital crime, in fact didn’t the EU just force Microsoft to ship a browser-less version of Windows 7 to Europe? So Microsoft is Evil Monopolist for doing it but Google isn’t?
This debate goes back to the 90’s and Microsoft’s forceful bundling of browser and OS was a purely market-driven move, whereas Chrome OS is all about taking us online: we’re not really working on the computer itself, but on the Net: the computer (keyboard, screen) is just our way to access the net. In that concept not only the is the browser an intrinsic part of the OS, it is the OS itself. In fact the browser is the computer, as As Coding Horror’s Jeff Atwood outlined last year.
I for one would like a lightweight, easy to use and fast Netbook that is not bogged down by a bloated Operating System not optimized for web-work, but meant to do zillions of other things I don’t need. But at the same time I still have a powerful, traditional desktop with Microsoft’s OS on it, and I do tasks like video processing, which, under the current computing economics makes sense locally. There is not one cookie-cutter computing model anymore. A lightweight system and a full-blown OS both have their own places.
With prices dropping, we can afford to have multiple devices for multiple purposes: we have entered the age of situational devices. Another interesting concept when all we need is a browser the PC-less PC, where, instead of having several situational devices, we just carry a dockable smartphone that plugs into whatever peripherals we find, bringing connectivity, browser and some personalization, while the actual work devices are the cheap displays, keyboards, and the the apps and data are on the Net.
But I have to wait for my netbook, powered by Chrome OS, simply for the reason it does not exist: it is only expected to be available late 2010. Whichever way I count it, it’s more than a year, and a long can happen in that time. This pre-announcement is highly uncharacteristic of Google, which often allows new products to be discovered first, before officially launching them. Microsoft, on the other hand is known to pre-announce products a year or more ahead, only to be severely late: apparently Google took a page out of Microsoft’s FUD-book this time. Let’s hope delivery won’t follow Microsoft’s style…
Google has picked up the nasty habit of pre-announcing technology.
Guys, you stole the wrong playbook. And, uh, we don’t want it back.
Krish also warns us:
I think it is time we do a reboot and think if it is in the good interest of the users to cede complete control of their Cloud based life to Google.
Oh, but we already know that. Google is unstoppable. They want to manage all data, but our life is increasingly all about data and what we do with it. The former Borg in Redmond is now a toothless veteran, slowly dwindling away – Google is the New Borg. Resistance is futile. We’re being assimilated. And we like it. For now. Enjoy the video.
Update: Robert Scoble thinks this was a pre-emptive announcement to match what Microsoft will announce next Monday:
Why did Google announce Chrome OS this week?
Well, of course, Microsoft has a big announcement coming on Monday (I’m