Information released!

After much speculation (and a few faked screenshots) it appears we finally have word from Google as to what & when.

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. 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. Source: Googleblog

There can be little doubt that after the success of its search engine and the popularity of its other services that Google pretty much knows its customers.  In my opinion Google has what some other companies do not and that is honest champions/advocates of their services/products.  How many people have you heard complain about Google in the average computing environment?

Ever since the news broke of the Google OS we’ve had many thinkers regarding it.  We see the frightened (Wintrolls in comp.alt.linux.advocacy) the over enthusiastic (the promoters of fake screenshots) and the “lets wait and see”.  Now we get further details.

It is being reported that the Google OS (which is browser based) will offer most of its services online and the user having their data stored on Google servers.  There’s been much debate about this (and surrounding topics) and the Do you trust your data to be stored in the cloud? is probably one of the issues that will come out of this eventual release.

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. Source: Googleblog

Users of Chrome OS will reportedly not have to worry about updating their software and having other advantages, one being a 7 second boot time (allegedly) IMO there really is much to look forward to when the finished product hits the shelves.  The OS itself is apparently going to be free, with Google working with manufacturers to further provide a better integration between their software and hardware.

Chrome OS is reported to be its own Windowing system on top on a Linux kernel and I think shows yet again that worth of Linux and its community.  I have documented my use of Chromium since its early builds and I must say that the layout (providing it resembles the OS) is intuitive, friendly and quick.

Google also made this statement:

We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better.

and in my opinion its a shame Microsoft didn’t listen to that message (IMO).

The Chrome OS is aimed at Netbooks and whilst we are on the subject of Netbooks earlier in the year Windows 7 for the netbook, hardly got the glowing praise with Tomshardware.com noting that Windows 7 took 2.5 hours off your battery life and benchmark tests between 7 and XP showed XP outperforming 7 in most tests.  Is that what Microsoft wants to hear when its trying to get in with 7 on the netbook?

So whilst there has been more information released it still leaves many questions unanswered.  Will Chrome support Silverlight? (or does anyone care?) What about drivers for existing and new hardware?  Is Google considering its OS for anything other than Netbooks?

Lets remember what Mr Ballmer CEO of Microsoft had to say about Google (allegedly)

Google’s not a real company. It’s a house of cards.

Source: Techcrunch

Try not to be too hard on him though.  His “teacher” (IMO) Bill Gates said in the 90’s:

The Internet? We are not interested in it

and another alleged comment that Bill Gates made (which may ring some bells with Windows users)

If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.

Source: http://www.quotesandsayings.com/quotes/bill-gates/ (and theres many more Gates crackers there too)

Microsoft scared?

To ask if Microsoft is scared is wrong.  Microsoft is not a person.  Detractors to Linux make many claims, they would like you to believe its a hobbyist platform.  They would like you to believe its difficult to use.  They would like you to believe that it won’t be compatible with your hardware.  I would put money on similar being said about Chrome OS.

I think Google’s move to produce this software shows an attitude change in the average computer user.  We no longer need to rely on Microsoft to get jobs done in my opinion and there are many alternatives to Microsoft products, either proprietary or indeed FOSS.

The BBC seem to think the Chrome OS will have an impact on the market:

….could dramatically change the market for operating systems, especially for Microsoft…

It certainly will be interesting next year.  Bring on Chrome OS!

Sources

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8369611.stm

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/introducing-google-chrome-os.html

http://technologizer.com/2009/11/19/chrome-os/

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com