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July 8, 2009

Google operating system to take on Microsoft Windows?

googlechrome.jpg And now, faithful readers, we receive news that Google is planning its own operating system, in a direct challenge to Microsoft and its Windows hegemony. The New York Times and tech-news site Ars Technica, broke the news on their respective websites. Inquiries from the press forced Google to disclose the news a day earlier, last night, on their official blog, which gives a light rundown on why they're doing what they're doing.

In a nutshell, Google is looking to expand its Chrome web browser as an operating system for the cheap netbooks that have proliferated in the marketplace. Some initially believed we'd see a version of Android, Google's mobile computing platform, transmogrified into some type of operating system. But Google went with the Chrome platform instead. In the company's own words:
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.

So what does this all really mean? From a competitive standpoint, some folks, like the guys at TechCrunch, see it as Google dropping "a nuclear bomb" on Microsoft, which dominates the personal computer OS market.

Most netbooks run slimmed down versions of Windows, running the XP platform, or Linux. Some tech watchers seem to think the netbook market is a race to the bottom -- in terms of price point and profitability, which is why many think Apple has shied away from putting one out -- and companies may eventually give them away for free in exchange for a commitment to a wireless Internet provider.

Do you think a Google Chrome OS can really compete against Microsoft Windows?

It appears that Google, at least for now, is mainly targeting the cheap netbook market with some good instincts: on ultra portable computers, people just want them to fire up quickly and get them on the Internet.

Having a fairly small, light Dell laptop running XP myself, it usually takes several minutes -- about 5, really -- to boot up from a cold start and get online. If Google's new OS can chop that time down to a minute or so -- without sacrificing security and functionality -- I think we'd have a contender. And maybe that's the sweet spot for Google -- getting your little laptop/netbook fired up quickly, without hassle. Does the thought of that get you going?

Want to read up on the Google Chrome OS news? Check out these stories.


This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 8:38 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: *NEWS*
        

Comments

YES! Ohhhhh, how us web designers suffer under windows and I.E.

This would probably hurt Apple more than anyone. I have bought 6 macs over the years just because i despise using Windows so much!

Let me get my operating systems straight:
Windows
OS X (Mac and iPhone only, unless I build a Hackintosh)
Linux (Many flavors)
UNIX

Now, Google enters the fray with the Chrome OS. It's not too large a leap given their release of Chrome. Still, though, Android is open source, so you may still see someone have fun with that as a netbook OS.

Do I see them dethroning Windows? In all likelihood, no. A well-received Windows 7 is on the way, and the best time to capitalize on MS when they were down has been between the release of Vista and, well, now. Google seems a little late to the fray.

They may have some niche machines, but it kind of reminds me of Larry Ellison's foray into NetPCs. Remember that?

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About Gus G. Sentementes
Gus G. Sentementes (@gussent on Twitter) has been writing for The Baltimore Sun since 2000. He's covered real estate, business, prisons, and suburban and Baltimore City crime and cops. He was one of the first reporters at The Sun to use multimedia tools and Web applications -- a video camera, an iPhone -- to cover breaking news. He hopes to cover Maryland geeks and the gadgets and Web sites they build, and learn -- and share -- something new every day.

Gus has a wife, a young daughter and two feuding cats. They live in Northeast Baltimore.
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech
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