Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Will Google's Chrome OS be successful?

Google announced it's Chrome OS project last night. Google is developing a secure, simple and fast PC OS focused on web applications. This is a forward looking move given cloud computing and Software-As-A-Service's projected growth. Will Chrome OS succeed? I see a few trouble spots in Google's blog post that they will need to overcome internally to have a chance at success.

Trouble spot #1: Because we're already talking to partners about the project, and we'll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve. .... 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. .... Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel."

Google claims to know how to do a secure Linux OS (Linus must be thrilled), simple distribution (yet another Linux distribution) and fast windowing system (yep, Linux is weak here), and they're sharing their vision (via a blog post) with the open source communities. Hubris usually doesn't go far with open source communities.

Trouble spot #2: "Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems."

Google has two emerging and competing OS projects. Both are each up against strong, entrenched competitors. 'Netbooks' are an emerging market with a few OEMs (Freescale, Acer) planning to use Android as their OS. While Google has the extra cash to fund competing projects, OEMs and retailers don't have the resources to support both. They need to invest to make one succeed.

Trouble spot #3 "We have a lot of work to do, and we're definitely going to need a lot of help"

Given today's economy, everyone is willing to spend their abundant resources and time to help Google become more powerful. Right? Yeah, I thought so too.

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