Introducing the Google Chrome OS

Daredevil

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Introducing the Google Chrome OS

7/07/2009 09:37:00 PM

It's been an exciting nine months since we launched the Google Chrome browser. Already, over 30 million people use it regularly. We designed Google Chrome for people who live on the web — searching for information, checking email, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends. However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web. So today, we're announcing a new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It's our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.

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.

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.

Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.

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. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.

We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files. Even more importantly, they don't want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates. And any time our users have a better computing experience, Google benefits as well by having happier users who are more likely to spend time on the Internet.

We have a lot of work to do, and we're definitely going to need a lot of help from the open source community to accomplish this vision. We're excited for what's to come and we hope you are too. Stay tuned for more updates in the fall and have a great summer.
 

Daredevil

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Another competition for windows operating system. I hope they make worthwhile OS just like they did with other google products.
 

Pintu

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BBC NEWS | Technology | Google to launch operating system

Google to launch operating system

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley



Google is developing an operating system (OS) for personal computers, in a direct challenge to market leader Microsoft and its Windows system.

Google Chrome OS will be aimed initially at small, low-cost netbooks, but will eventually be used on PCs as well.

Google said netbooks with Chrome OS could be on sale by the middle of 2010.

"Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS," the firm said in its official blog.

The operating system, which will run on an open source licence, was a "natural extension" of its Chrome browser, the firm said.

The news comes just months before Microsoft launches the latest version of its operating system, called Windows 7.

'Back to basics'

"We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you on to the web in a few seconds," said the blog post written by Sundar Pichai, vice-president of product management, and Google's engineering director Linus Upson.

Both men said that "the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web" and that this OS was "our attempt to rethink what operating systems should be".

To that end, the search giant said the new OS would go back to basics.

"We are 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," said Google.

Google already has an operating system for mobile phones called Android which can also be used to run on netbooks. Google Chrome OS will be aimed not just at laptops but also at desktops for those who spend a lot of time on the web.

'Truly competitive'

The announcement could dramatically change the market for operating systems, especially for Microsoft, the biggest player with around 90% share.

"This announcement is huge," said Rob Enderle, industry watcher and president of the Enderle Group.

"This is the first time we have had a truly competitive OS on the market in years. This is potentially disruptive and is the first real attempt by anyone to go after Microsoft.

"Google is coming at this fresh and, because it is based on a set of services that reside on the web, it is the first really post-web operating system, designed from the ground up, and reconceived for a web world," Mr Enderle told the BBC.

Last year Google launched the Chrome browser, which it said was designed for "people who live on the web - searching for information, checking e-mail, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends".

Stephen Shankland at CNET said the move had widespread implications.

"One is that it shows just how serious Google is about making the web into a foundation not just for static pages but for active applications, notably its own such as Google Docs and G-mail.

"Another, it opens new competition with Microsoft and, potentially, a new reason for anti-trust regulators to pay close attention to Google's moves."

Some commentators said Google's motivation in all this was pretty clear.

"One of Google's major goals is to take Microsoft out, to systematically destroy their hold on the market," said Mr Enderle.

"Google wants to eliminate Microsoft and it's a unique battle. The strategy is good. The big question is, will it work?"

At the popular blog, TechCrunch, MG Siegler said: "Let's be clear on what this really is. This is Google dropping the mother of all bombs on its rival, Microsoft."

Microsoft releases Windows 7 later this year to replace Windows Vista and Windows XP, which is eight years old.

The Redmond-based company claims that 96% of netbooks run Windows to date.

Out of beta

In a separate announcement Google also revealed that many of its most popular applications had finally moved out of trial, or beta, phase.

Gmail, for example, has worn the beta tag for five years.

"We realise this situation puzzles some people, particularly those who subscribe to the traditional definition of beta software as being not yet ready for prime time," wrote Matthew Glotzbach, the director of product management in the official Google blog.

The decision to ditch the beta tag was taken because the apps had finally reached the "high bar" mark, he wrote.

More than 1.75 million companies use Google apps, according to the firm.
 

Pintu

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Another competition for windows operating system. I hope they make worthwhile OS just like they did with other google products.
Rightly said, DD, I totally agree on this and more over this is coming as an open source operating system like Linux, as well as lightweight.

Warm Regards
 

Pintu

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BBC NEWS | Technology | Hardware makers support Google OS

Hardware makers support Google OS



Google said the Chrome OS will be
free to download and use


Google has announced which hardware firms have pledged to build machines that will run its Chrome OS.

The search giant said it was working with many firms on Chrome OS hardware including Acer, Asus, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and Toshiba.

The software is designed to work with the web and Google said it was most likely to appear on smaller portable computers known as netbooks.

The browser-based operating system will be released to the public in 2010.

Web futures

In a blog post announcing the hardware partners, Google said that the code for the Chrome OS would be open sourced in late 2009. Google said that the software will be free to download and use.

The first netbooks that can run the software will be ready in late 2010. Since Asus launched the first netbook the cut-down computers have proved hugely popular.

Analyst firm Gartner predicts that 80% more netbooks will be sold in 2009 than sold in 2008. However, so far, the small computers only make up 8% of the total PC market.

The Chrome OS will be designed to work with Intel chips that appear in the vast majority of desktop PCs, laptops and netbooks as well as the Arm chips that power most of the world's mobile phones. Texas Instruments and Qualcomm, who both build devices based around Arm chips, were also unveiled as partners on the Chrome OS project.

In a blog post announcing some of the hardware partners, Google also said it was working with Adobe on the operating system. This could turn out to be significant because of the wide use of Adobe's Flash software.

Flash is used to power many multimedia websites but Adobe has been working hard to extend its capabilities via the Air technology and make it more web-centric too. Microsoft is developing its Silverlight technology to do a similar job.
 

Soham

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I gotta try this. I love google.
 

Pintu

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^^^ True Soham, I am also eagerly awaiting for this OS to be launched.

Regards
 

Pintu

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Technology Round-up- The Week That Was-The Sunday ET-Features-The Economic Times

Technology Round-up
12 Jul 2009, 0006 hrs IST, ET Bureau

Google-Microsoft war may lower PC price

Google Inc’s bid to compete with Microsoft Corp’s Windows operating system may help lower the cost of personal computers
at a time Check out what’s new in Windows 7 Exploring, Internet Explorer 8, Google Chrome Brain behind Google Chrome when prices are already being pinched by inexpensive netbooks. Google said it will offer its just-announced Chrome operating system for free when it is launched in the second half of 2010, a move that could force Microsoft into a price war.

Sony to enter netbook mkt with vaio

Sony Corp said on Tuesday it plans to launch a new Vaio laptop that will sell for around 60,000 yen ($629) in Japan in August, making its entry into the fast-growing netbook market. Netbook PCs are smaller and cheaper than traditional notebook computers and optimised for simpler computing tasks such as Web browsing and email. Pioneered by Taiwan’s Asustek in 2007, other global brands such as Acer Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell Inc have pushed out their own lines since then. The new Sony machine is equipped with Microsoft Corp’s Windows XP operating system and Intel Corp’s Atom processor.

MphasiS partners with Singularity

IT services firm MphasiS on Wednesday said it has partnered with UK-based software vendor Singularity for using the latter’s technology for automation of business processes for its clients. Under the agreement, MphasiS will use Singularity’s business process management (BPM) technology to automate processes for clients across sectors like financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, communications, transportation, consumer and retail and energy, MphasiS said in a statement.

BPM technology eliminates unnecessary steps and reduces manual inputs in a process, increasing the number of activities that can be carried out in parallel. “This alliance in particular reflects our long-term focus on driving new levels of efficiency in knowledge intensive sectors such as banking, energy and health-care,” Singularity CEO Padraig Canavan said.
 
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i don't think the Google OS will be as useful as the OS-7, which is gr8 and can be used for a lot of very very complicated applications. wasn't impressed with Google browser, am sure the OS sucks as well.
 

Vinod2070

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i don't think the Google OS will be as useful as the OS-7, which is gr8 and can be used for a lot of very very complicated applications. wasn't impressed with Google browser, am sure the OS sucks as well.
Well, it is targeted for a different workload, the web applications. You won't get the rich suite of desktop applications with the OS. It will be mainly limited to start quickly and run a browser.
 

Vinod2070

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Google Drops A Nuclear Bomb On Microsoft. And It’s Made of Chrome.
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by MG Siegler on July 7, 2009


Wow. So you know all those whispers about a Google desktop operating system that never seem to go away? You thought they might with the launch of Android, Google’s mobile OS. But they persisted. And for good reason, because it’s real.

In the second half of 2010, Google plans to launch the Google Chrome OS, an operating system designed from the ground up to run the Chrome web browser on netbooks. “It’s our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be,” Google writes tonight on its blog.
But let’s be clear on what this really is. This is Google dropping the mother of bombs on its chief rival, Microsoft. It even says as much in the first paragraph of its post, “However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web.” Yeah, who do you think they mean by that?

And it’s a genius play. So many people are buying netbooks right now, but are running WIndows XP on them. Windows XP is 8 years old. It was built to run on Pentium IIIs and Pentium 4s. Google Chrome OS is built to run on both x86 architecture chips and ARM chips, like the ones increasingly found in netbooks. It is also working with multiple OEMs to get the new OS up and running next year.

Obviously, this Chrome OS will be lightweight and fast just like the browser itself. But also just like the browser, it will be open-sourced. Think Microsoft will be open-sourcing Windows anytime soon?

As Google writes, “We have a lot of work to do, and we’re definitely going to need a lot of help from the open source community to accomplish this vision.” They might as well set up enlistment booths on college campuses for their war against Microsoft.

Google says the software architecture will basically be the current Chrome browser running inside “a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.” So in other words, it basically is the web as an OS. And applications developers will develop for it just as they would on the web. This is similar to the approach Palm has taken with its new webOS for the Palm Pre, but Google notes that any app developed for Google Chrome OS will work in any standards-compliant browser on any OS.

What Google is doing is not recreating a new kind of OS, they’re creating the best way to not need one at all.

So why release this new OS instead of using Android? After all, it has already been successfully ported to netbooks. Google admits that there is some overlap there. But a key difference they don’t mention is the ability to run on the x86 architecture. Android cannot do that (though there are ports), Chrome OS can and will. But more, Google wants to emphasize that Chrome OS is all about the web, whereas Android is about a lot of different things. Including apps that are not standard browser-based web apps.

But Chrome OS will be all about the web apps. And no doubt HTML 5 is going to be a huge part of all of this. A lot of people are still wary about running web apps for when their computer isn’t connected to the web. But HTML 5 has the potential to change that, as you’ll be able to work in the browser even when not connected, and upload when you are again.
We’re starting to see more clearly why Google’s Vic Gundotra was pushing HTML 5 so hard at Google I/O this year. Sure, part of it was about things like Google Wave, but Google Wave is just one of many new-style apps in this new Chrome OS universe.

But there is a wild card in all of this still for Microsoft: Windows 7. While Windows XP is 8 years old, and Windows Vista is just generally considered to be a bad OS for netbooks, Windows 7 could offer a good netbook experience. And Microsoft had better hope so, or its claim that 96% of netbooks run Windows is going to be very different in a year.
Google plans to release the open source code for Chrome OS later this year ahead of the launch next year. Don’t be surprised if this code drops around the same time as Windows 7. Can’t wait to hear what Microsoft will have to say about all of this. Good thing they have a huge conference next week.
Google Drops A Nuclear Bomb On Microsoft. And It’s Made of Chrome.
 

Vinod2070

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What Would the Operating System Look Like if It Were Designed Today? The Chrome OS Q&A

I think the real question is (that) if you were going to design an OS today, what would it look like? The OS that we’re using today is kind of in the model of a ’70s or ’80s vintage workstation. It was designed for a LAN, it’s got this great display, and a mouse, and all this stuff, but it’s not inherently designed for the Internet. The Internet is this resource in the back end that you can design things to take advantage of. You can use it to synchronize stuff, and communicate stuff amongst these devices at the edge.

A student today or a web startup, they don’t actually start at the desktop. They start at the web, they start building web solutions, and immediately deploy that to a browser. So from that perspective, what programming models can I give these folks that they can extend that functionality out to the edge? In the cases where they want mobility, where they want a rich dynamic experience as a piece of their solution, how can I make it incremental for them to extend those things, as opposed to learning the desktop world from scratch?” – Ray Ozzie, 3/10/2008, in an interview with Om Malik
Of the two things I’ve consistently said about Google since, oh, 2004 or so, one is still true: Google is still authoring aggressively operating system independent services. Today’s announcement of a desktop operating system based on Chrome notwithstanding.


What is less obvious is whether or not Google’s to date successful approach of not trying to out-Microsoft Microsoft is still in play, or whether they’re finally succumbing to the blinding temptation to own, well, everything. While I could build and defend either case, the Department of Justice is almost certainly going to concern itself increasingly with the latter scenario.


More immediately, the pending Chrome OS is in many respects the realization of a decades old vision, as Rafe reminds us. Known by a variety of names, the most common appelation of Network Computer would be easy to apply to a Chrome OS equipped node. It’s not quite a network computer, of course, in that the netbooks that will be the Chrome OS’s first hardware platform typically have at least some on board disk space. But the basic elements are there; a hardware platform and operating system pairing that is optimized to do one thing superbly – access network services.


As much as Oracle and Sun’s – isn’t that quite the coincidence, incidentally – vision for network computers failed, it appears in hindsight to be a classic case of being early to market. Remember what the world was like in 1996? No cellular data networks? Hell, the wifi patents were still in the filing process that point. And I won’t even get into what the web looked like back then; fortunately the crimes I myself committed against it are lost behind a prescient robots.txt file.


Even with more ubiquitous connectivity and an accelerating web, however, the outlook for – and implications of – the Chrome OS depend on a number of variables. To explore these, let’s turn to our old friend the Q&A.

Q: Before we begin, do you have anything to disclose?
A: A variety of companies that are involved in this discussion are RedMonk clients, from Adobe, IBM, Microsoft and Sun to Canonical and Red Hat. Google is not a RedMonk client; RedMonk, however, is a Google customer.

Q: Ok, for those that missed it, can you summarize the news?
A: Certainly. Last night, via their official blog, Google announced the Chrome OS, “an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks.” Essentially it marries Google’s Chrome browser to a Linux kernel to produce a basic, browser based operating system. The windowing system will reportedly be new as well, indicating that they’re eschewing traditional Linux desktop environments like GNOME and KDE in favor of a potentially from scratch approach that, like Chrome the browser, is web front and center. I’m very curious as to what they’ve got planned for the windowing system, actually.

Q: Is the project open source?
A: Not as yet, but they’ve promised that it will be. In the meantime, as has become typical with Google projects for better or for worse, they’ll work on it behind the scenes before dropping it on Google Code.

Q: Is the fact that it is – or at least will be – open source important?
A: Absolutely. For Google, because it may compel wider adoption, testing, and development, but also for open source competitors, who may – depending on the licensing – be able to borrow liberally from the project.

Q: What hardware platforms are supported?
A: At present, the goal seems to be x86 and ARM, which would offer the operating system the ability to penetrate the overwhelming majority of the netbook market, not to mention expand into laptops and desktops or smartphones.

Q: Doesn’t Google already have an operating system for smartphones in Android?
A: Indeed they do, but Chrome OS is a very different animal from Android. While some are raising legitimate questions about the intelligence and viability of maintaining either two operating systems or so many open source projects, this to me is a more logical step for Google than would be attempting to push Android onto the same platforms.

Q: Why? Why didn’t they just double down on Android on the desktop? Or, alternately, skip it in favor of Chrome OS?
A: At present, phones and desktops are materially and necessarily distinct in their relative strengths and weaknesses, and by extension, the application’s ability to leverage or minimize same. Android, which is essentially Java married to a Linux kernel, is designed expressly for handsets. The Palm Pre may yet prove that a web only model can compete effectively against the richness of the iPhone, but Android would indicate that even Google felt compelled to turn to native code in an effort to match the Apple experience.


On the other hand, what do people use netbooks for, typically? Checking email? Browsing the web? Instant messaging? Facebook? Paying bills online? Why, then, would you push the Android rock up the hill, when a simple browser based interface would more than suffice for the majority of needs? Exactly. You wouldn’t, and Google didn’t. I never believed that Android on laptops made sense, personally, because of the applications question.

Q: What’s the applications question?
A: Platform success is nearly always achieved via application volume. Platforms that attract volume tend to succeed, those that don’t, don’t. While there are a great many variables at work, application volume is typically the peformance metric.


Which always made Android a questionable choice for me. Forget the fact that a world of rich applications isn’t exactly in Google’s best interests (contrast that with the Chrome OS experience) and just ask yourself this: is it easier, as a developer, to develop for the web or for a Java-like platform in Dalvik? The answer is, of course, the former. So that was always strike one versus Android. Strike two was the fact that virtually every other competing desktop platform – Linux, Mac and Windows – would have a superior application volume from day one, and the ability to indefinitely sustain that by running Android apps themselves along with other choices.


Strike three? It’s more difficult for Google to advertise in – and thus monetize – Android rich clients than it is their own web applications, which are presumably intended to be at the heart of the Chrome OS experience.
Add it all up and Android was never a good choice for the netbook form factor; whether it remains a quality choice on the handset depends – you guessed it – on application volume.

Q: Is the idea of a browser based operating system new?
A: Not really. The GNOME crew, for example, has been discussing the possibility of an “online desktop” for a few years now, and even if it’s not what Chrome OS envisions, the concepts are similar. Microsoft, a rich client advocate if ever there was one, even has its own browser project in Gazelle that encompasses some operating system like features. Good OS has been tinkering with something very similar to Chrome OS in Cloud.


But more to the point, the netbook market itself is almost a browser based operating system. While netbooks today are more often than not shipping with a version of Windows XP, it was Linux interfaces that actually pioneered the market. And to talk to the early users of devices like the Eee, they were essentially jumped up web terminals, since few had the interest, inclination or ability to explore the application catalog for a heavily customized Linux desktop.


We know, in other words, that there’s a market. How big that market is is one interesting question. How big it could get as network delivered browser based applications get better is another.

Q: What about Gartner’s research that indicates that users are underwhelmed by SaaS applications? If the affection for network delivered application wanes, won’t that negatively impact the Chrome OS?
A: An observation: the audience here is important. Gartner reports the survey subjects as “users and prospects of SaaS solutions in 333 enterprises in the U.S. and the U.K.” Enterprises, in other words. Which are not only Gartner’s typical clients, but usually the last to know when it comes to technology. Enterprises may or may not like SaaS as an application delivery approach, but it won’t matter because an increasing percentage of their choices will be delivered that way regardless.


Besides, enterprise buyers are not the target market for netbook sales anyhow. The market, which was essentially created overnight under the noses of the big software and hardware vendors alike, is overwhelmingly consumer focused. And apart from hardware specific requirements like iPod/iPhone compatibility or gaming, their typical computer usage – Facebook, Gmail, online banking and shopping, etc – is increasingly operating system independent.
Just as Google always intended.


Eventually, just as we’ve seen with cell phones, instant messaging and webmail, netbooks may make their way back into the enterprise. But until then, they should have a healthy market in front of them, enterprise appetite or no.

Q: Speaking of iPods and such, what will the device compatibility story be?
A: Initially? Probably zero, with the exception of maybe printing, which is more seamless now, typically, on Linux than it is on Windows. No, I don’t expect Google to tackle the very difficult question of device compatibility at all in the initial releases of Chrome OS, if only because it’s a slippery slope.
This will be, I’m sure, one of the defenses that Apple and Windows employ against the potential threat of Chrome OS. And for many consumers, it will be a compelling one.

Q: Why do you think Google decided to create (yet) another Linux distribution, rather than embracing popular desktop and netbook options like Ubuntu’s?
A: Not having spoken with them, I can only speculate, but my guess is very simple: speed. Besides the relevancy of its results, what’s the defining characteristic of its search engine? Speed.


Likewise, when Google broke with Firefox via Chrome (the browser), my view was that they felt that a new, from scratch browser was the only means of competing effectively with one of the native clients’ last remaining advantages: speed. This has been largely born out in their development; while the Tracemonkey enabled Firefox 3.5 is clearly superior to its 3.0 parent, Chromium for Linux is one of the fastest applications I’ve seen, period. Browser or no. It hasn’t been enough to compel me to switch, as yet, but the emphasis on speed and quickness has paid dividends for them.


So while I have no inside information on the subject, I suspect much the same rationale was at work in the design and development of the Chrome OS. Linux, in spite of some dedicated efforts, has yet to introduce device like low latency into the desktop. Booting into a modern desktop with all of its bells and whistles means overhead. By eliminating the traditional operating system overhead in favor of a simple, high peformance browser, boot time and general performance should be improved dramatically.
And that matters. Speed is a feature.

Q: How much does it matter?
A: Enough that I briefly entertained the idea of cutting over from Ubuntu – which boots on my SSD equipped X301 in a bit over 20 seconds – to Moblin, available in under 10. I didn’t make the switch, obviously, because I wasn’t quite ready to lose my application portfolio in the process, but it matters.


And yes, that’s even in a world in which suspend works flawlessly. Consider that the feature that Apple chose to highlight in its latest iteration of the iPhone – the 3GS – was speed. If that still doesn’t convince you, think of it this way: if a consumer ever picks up, or sees someone else pick up a small computer that boots in a few seconds, that will in all likelihood be something they’ve never seen before. Sad, but true.

Q: What about the question people like Gordon Haff are asking: why would the “Google Chrome OS would have mainstream impact when desktop Linux has not?”
A: Because while the Chrome OS is Linux, it’s pretty significantly differentiated. Linux, we all need to remember, is the kernel; the things that a user will see and interact with are something else entirely.


First, there’s the speed. I’m guessing that over time Chrome OS will be pretty close to instant-on, with operational latency as impressive as that Google’s achieved in the web world. While mainstream Linux distributions have made many improvements in desktop performance the last few years, it won’t match that soon, if only because it’s handicapped by having to run more than just a browser.


But the single greatest differentiation might just be that: the browser as the interface. Absent, mostly, is the need to learn the differences of a new operating system; your interface is “just” a browser. While that imposes some significant limitations, clearly, it also dramatically lowers the barriers to entry to the product. I know a great many non-technical people that have picked up Google Chrome with with no introduction; I can’t say the same of any currently available operating system, Mac included.


Last, there’s the power of brand, which observers will discount at their own peril. Ask Apple about that sometime.

Q: So you’re bullish about the distribution?
A: Not as much as I recognize the opportunity it’s targeting. Frankly, I have mixed feelings about the distribution. While I personally would love to have a capable platform that booted in a few seconds and welcome the kind of back-to-the-basics innovation that Chrome OS represents, I’m not particularly eager to see the introduction of (yet) another distribution into an already fragmented market. Could Chrome OS be good competition for Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Moblin et al? Sure. But it could also introduce significant educational challenges as a variety of distributions with a variety of interfaces jostle for marketshare.
All of that said, I do appreciate this kind of innovation.

Q: Which kind is that?
A: The “we don’t have to do things this way just because that’s the way they’ve always been done.” Much like Wave rethinks collaboration, Chrome OS is a reconsideration of what an operating system should look like in a heavily networked environment.


I know there are those that question Google’s innovation track record, and both Chrome OS and Wave could certainly go the way of the dinosaur, but I appreciate that someone is asking these questions.

Q: Back to marketshare, do you think this was targeted at Microsoft Windows?
A: If Google’s smart, and I think generally they are, they’re not targeting a company but opportunities. And there’s no question that there is opportunity for innovation in the operating system market – significant opportunity. Consider that Google’s seemingly snarky assertion – that “the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web” – is not only true, but confirmed by none other than Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie (see the quote above).

Q: What impact do you expect this to have on the folks from Redmond’s operating system?
A: Well, at the very least I think it’s a wee bit early to be writing the obituary for the Windows operating sytem, as some are doing. Chrome OS represents a significant problem for the folks from Redmond, to be sure, but – like OS X – as long as there are applications and devices that exclusively operate on the Windows platform, they’ve got adequate insulation at least at the high ends of the market. For the short term, anyhow.


Over the longer term, of course, the transition to web applications that Chrome OS is specifically designed to leverage and accelerate represents a serious threat to Microsoft’s primary revenue sources, but that’s not news. It wasn’t even news five years ago. So while Microsoft is probably no happier about this news than Apple – or Canonical et al, for that matter – Chrome OS is not the death knell for the existing products any more than Chrome the browser killed Firefox.
If anyone is threatened by this, actually, it’s probably the Linux distributions.

Q: Why is that?
A: The various Linux distributions are less highly differentiated from Chrome OS than is Windows – or, should they decide to enter the market, Apple – ergo they will likely be the most impacted by its arrival. Customers purchasing Windows are typically doing for specific reasons; they rely on Windows compatible applications, they’re used to it, and so on. The competing Linux distributions enjoy no such visibility yet, however.
Continued....
 

Vinod2070

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Q: Is the Chrome OS a win for HTML5?
A: Unquestionably. As Cote’s excellent back of a napkin web UI landscape demonstrates, there are a number of competing web strategies these days, most of which are some combination of open and closed, and all of which serve their particular backer’s interests.


Chrome OS is no exception there; it’s explicitly and unapologetically a web vehicle, designed to drive people towards the web and – as the plan goes – Google’s money raking advertisement scheme.


The difference is that, unlike some of the proprietary approaches, there’s nothing terribly exclusive about the Chrome OS experience. At the end of the day, their web applications designed for a browser, so any seismic shift away from native clients to the web would presumably benefit the likes of Firefox at least as much as Chrome OS.

Q: Why, as Nat Friedman asks, did they announce Chrome OS now?
A: Candidly, I have no idea. My assumption would be that they understood that in conducting conversations with OEMs that things would leak, and preferred to own the announcement themselves. But your guess is as good as mine on this one.

Q: In the wake of this announcement, does the operating system matter?
A: I’d argue yes, though it’s less so every day. The shift to online services has been so gradual it’s like the decline in your vision; you don’t notice until you wake up one day and you can’t see ten feet. Similarly, online services are more capable and more powerful by the week, and with their ascension comes a relative decline in the importance of the platform below the browser.


But the key word in that sentence is relative. Chrome OS is not likely to support your iPhone tomorrow, or your digital video camera, or flight control joystick. Nor will it match the application availability or, in all likelihood, the user experience of the better designed platforms currently succeeding in the marketplace.
My guess, though, is that that’s not the point, at least not right now.

Q: What is the point, then?
A: This is just speculation, but I’d be surprised if Google’s metrics for success looked anything like what Asa’s considering. Desktops don’t turn over as quickly as handsets, so marketshare growth is more difficult to come by, even for lower cost hardware.

Q: Will you switch?
A: I doubt it, but I have to admit that I’ll kick the tires.
tecosystems What Would the Operating System Look Like if It Were Designed Today? The Chrome OS Q&A
 

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Gmail in real-time: Google does the Wave

When recipients respond to Wave messages, everyone on the thread sees the replies as they are being typed.
(Credit: Google)

Updated 12:28 p.m. PDT with additional comments from Google.
Google is ready to start talking about its answer to demand for real-time--yet organized--Internet communication.

Google on Thursday publicly demonstrated Google Wave for the first time at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco. Billed as "the e-mail of the future," Google Wave is the result of a multiyear project inside of Google to reinvent the inbox, blending e-mail, instant messaging, photo sharing, and perhaps, with input from developers, connections to the world of social networking.

Lars Rasmussen helped lead the development and demonstration of Google Wave.
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Google Wave is an attempt to "combine conversation-type communication and collaboration-type communication," said Lars Rasmussen, who launched the project with his brother Jens after Google acquired their mapping start-up in 2004. The brothers Rasmussen said they were inspired by the fact that two of the most commonly used Internet communication technologies--e-mail and instant messaging--are based on relatively ancient offline communication techniques, namely the letter and the telephone.

The Rasmussens were given the authority to create "one of the most autonomous independent groups we've had at Google," said co-founder Sergey Brin in a press conference following the demonstration. Given the success the brothers had in developing the technologies behind Google Maps, Brin was inclined to "give them the benefit of the doubt" when Lars came to him pitching a bid to reinvent Internet communication.

They came up with Google Wave, which organizes Internet discussions in the trendy stream of consciousness fashion. It's a little bit Twitter, a little bit Friendfeed, and a little bit Facebook all in one service, allowing you to send direct messages to online contacts with real-time replies, share photos or documents, and add or delete members of the conversation as needed.

In that sense, it's not a completely public discussion, nor a completely private one. A user creates a "wave" by typing a message or uploading photos and adding contacts to the wave as they see fit. Other contacts can be added later, and those people can add other contacts to the wave unless the original wave starter forbids new entrants.

"Each person that we show it too, something different resonates as useful" to their way of communicating on the Internet, said Stephanie Hannon, project manager for Google Wave.

At the moment, the functionality is somewhat limited, but Google is introducing Google Wave at its developer conference for a reason: "a lot of this depends on developer uptake," Rasmussen said. The company will release APIs (application programming interfaces) at the conference so that developers can start testing how to build Wave into their own sites, or how to integrate their services with Google's.

Google envisions three types of developer projects using Wave. The first is the most obvious; using Wave as a gateway for conversations that you're already having elsewhere on Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook, blogs, and other social media sites.

There are plenty of reasons for Google to try to tap into the "stickiness" of various social networks, where users spend obscene amounts of time. And the company thinks that services such as Twitter recognize the value of letting others build a front end into their services: there are dozens of Twitter apps for PCs and smartphones that grant such access without having to use Twitter's own front end, and those apps don't seem to have put much of a dent in Twitter's overall traffic. For starters, Google Wave will allow users to post new items to blogs created with Blogger from within a wave, and see comments and replies within a wave.
Gmail in real-time: Google does the Wave | Webware - CNET
 

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