Google OS The Emperors New Clothes?

Who would have thought that the rumors about Google launching an operating system would actually be true, well it is up to a point.

The Announcement from Google says:

“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.”

Google says that the operating system is a light weight one with the applications running in a browser – presumably an updated version of the chrome browser.

However, it actually turns out that this “New” Google OS is nothing more than an already existing operating system – with an updated windowing system and browser. It’s like a second hand car dealer claiming a 10 year old car with a quick re-spray was brand new. Its funny when Top Gear tries to “Improve their cars” in this way – not so much for operating systems.

And some of Googles’ senior employees claims that “users won’t have to worry about viruses” are not readily believable. A major problem with Google’s Chrome OS is the security implications, putting all your applications in the browser, has not been entirely thought through. Both the Firefox and IE development teams put a lot of time and effort into finding and fixing loopholes in their browsers that allow viruses and trojans to do nasty things to pc’s.

It’s a pity that Google haven’t really done something radical and, for example, bought out the rights to BeOS or AmigaOS, both of which where much better operating systems when launched than the competition at the time.

And Its certainly amusing to see Google claim that its system using Linux as the base is newer than Windows XP, as Linux is a derivative of Unix (developed in the 60’s and 70’s) than Windows XP (which is based on work done at DEC on successors to the VAX operating system in the early 80’s)

As with all Linux distributions the main problem that stops widespread use of Linux Is driver support and a consistent look and feel across applications (Apples greatest strength in my opinion). And getting the open source community to knuckle down and produce all the applications that will be needed would make herding cats seem easy.

Google is relying on the Open Source community to help it – though whether they will be happy to contribute to such a large and profitable company is another question.

Some more questions raised by this Announcement are:

  • What happens to Google’s support for Firefox.
  • Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s position on Apples Board looks even more untenable.
  • And the wisdom of drawing attention to your self when you have such a dominant position in the advertising market.
  • Has Google really got the resource and skill to do this? this posts author has worked for companies who had individual divisions with more developers that Google has employees in total.
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