Google Chrome OS: I Called It Right

by Maskil on 21 Jul 2009

I just have to point out that I called it right in September 2008, when I predicted that the launch of the Google Chrome browser could be the prelude to an incursion into the PC operating system space. In my blog post at the time I said:

What else is significant about this? Well, Google is moving deeper and deeper into the desktop space. Google Pack could be seen as their initial incursion into the desktop, and once it matures as a product, Google Chrome will hold real territory rather than just a bridgehead. Google’s next step may well be its own operating system (or browser platform, as some now see the OS). This may end up being a Google distribution of Ubuntu Linux, for instance (packaged with an extended version of Google Pack perhaps), but may well be an OS written from the ground up.

Those competing (whether by design or not) in the areas Google has marked [staked] out for itself should be afraid, very afraid.

The post is here on my shiny new WordPress blog:

Nice browser, now for the browser platform …

The original post is also still available on my legacy Blogger blog:

J-Blogosphere: Nice browser, now for the browser platform …

Here’s a link to the official announcement regarding the Google Chrome Operating System:

Official Google Blog: Introducing the Google Chrome OS

Although I’m all in favour of some competition for the dominant (unchallenged?) Microsoft Windows operating system, I’m a little bit dubious too. I’ve seen MS-DOS bury the technically superior DR/Novell DOS, Windows bury the technically superior OS/2, and various flavours of Linux (mostly free) desperately clawing for a toehold in the desktop OS market. Windows is hated and loved in equal doses, but nothing so far has managed to gain sufficient mind-share to even compete with, never mind topple Windows from its perch.

If anything is to challenge Windows, it will first have to be thought of as “cool”. If Google Chrome OS can achieve the right degree of coolness (even if it’s a dog), it may stand a chance. And Google is certainly the right shop to give a new OS suitable cool credentials.

My final reservation: Does Google have what it takes to manage a product through its production phases; to keep it patched, refreshed and supported from launch through retirement? Google’s record is a little spotty in this regard. I’ve seen far too many Google products launched (or just announced) with great fanfare, then being allowed to languish, wither and die (or just never grow).

In summary:

  • Welcome, Google Chrome OS. We could use the competition.
  • Is it cool enough to compete? Can anything compete with Windows? Will the Google name make a difference?
  • Can Google be trusted to not just develop, but maintain a mission-critical piece of software like a desktop operating system?

It’s time the desktop OS space started becoming interesting again!

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