Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Chrome's Coming

So much to blog about and then comes the big announcement from Google: they're developing their own operating system. You've read it in,,, countless newspapers and blogs. TechCrunch says it will redefine the operating system, for example. So I'm going to add to the noise.

From what I've read, the opinion is divided about the impact Chrome will have in the OS world. Many seem to believe that it's Google's attempt to dethrone Microsoft from it's place as the predominant OS on the planet. On that basis alone, many are hoping for the success of Chrome and Google. It has to do with the entire "Microsoft is the Evil Empire" mindset that seems to inhabit the thought processes of many in the technology world. Google, with its "Don't do evil" motto is seen as just the opposite and everything Google does is good. After all it gives everything away. While with Microsoft you have to pay and pay a whole lot of money. Have you seen the price of Microsoft Office lately? Shameful they say.

Let's talk about Google for a few minutes, I do use a number of Google applications: I am on Blogger, obviously. I have a gmail account, of course and that's about it. I do have calendar, but I keep my calendar on my Dell Axim which is always with me. Then there is Google Docs, which I never use. I've tried to use the word processor, but I can't say I've seen anything that impresses me, if I'm going to use a web based application, I head over to Zoho for my word processing work, to give one example.

What do we know about the new OS. To quote from the official blog:
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.

Here's what we can know, it is fast, it is sleek, it is based upon open source software, ie Linux and it's going to be great on netbook computers. So in other word, Google is launching a niche OS for a niche product. I've not seen the numbers for netbook sales, but when I go to my local computer store, there seems to be a lot more regular notebook computers available rather then netbooks. Don't get me wrong, I think netbooks are cute, and I sit here with my Dell Studio 17 on my lap. So you can see where my bias is directed towards. For somem reason Google thinks Microsoft is vulnerable in this market, the issue is however, most of the netbook computers sold have Windows XP on them and apparently, Windows 7 can be installed on the average netbook. One can get various types of Linux OS installed on a netbook, but most people they want to stay with the tried and true.

I recall hearing this argument used against Bing; yes it's a pretty good search site and the search engine is also quite good, but most people out of habit will use Google, because it's what they are used too. So, most of us are familiar with Windows and likely want to stay in the Windows environment. Most of the programs and apps we are familiar with work well in Windows and we're not about to learn something new. As you know I'm comfortable working with Ubuntu, I like Ubuntu. I also am comfortable with Windows. I know a lot of people hate Vista with a passion, but I wonder if most of them are the tech types that know what should work and it drives them nuts when things don't. There were issues with Vista, but they are now fixed enough so that the OS is operable.

One article suggests that Chrome, while made for the netbook market right now, could be:
But eventually, the Google OS has the potential to scale up to larger, more powerful PCs, especially if it proves to run faster than Windows, she said.

Here's the catch, for the less powerful netbook cpu and specs it may run blazingly fast and if it is open source, there will be a lot of developers working to keep it that way, but if it goes to the laptop, or the desktop, where all of a sudden there are more demands and more requirements, will it suddenly lose its speed?

Also, this entire 'apps through the browser' or 'the browser is the OS', is something I'm still not sold on. The concept of cloud computing, while a good one is probably not ready for prime time. I know Google has acres of server parks set up throughout the world probably to store all my data and with all that redundancy, I'm sure it will be all safe and sound. However, what if I'm not in a place to access the web? What if the beginning of my stuff is in the clouds and I'm not connected. I know there's Google Gears, which is for times I'm offline, but what if the work is partial complete on the computer and partially complete in the clouds, but I can't sync. I like the convenience of having everything I need on my laptop and accessible when I need it and according to my schedule. I'm not paying the telecos or the cable companies extra money so I can stick a stick into my laptop and have Internet when I want it. I send them enough money every month, and I don't want to send any more.

I'm also not convinced on Google either. As I said I use some of their services but there are a few issues of concern. The first is, Google tends to stay 'stuck' in beta. Are they really developing all the time and haven't reached the final product, or is it an excuse if something goes wrong? I'm reading the book "What Would Google Do?" by Jeff Jarvis. He claims Google is a brand new company with a brand new way of looking at things. May I suggest he's totally wrong. I think Google is nothing more then a new form of mining company- except it mines data instead of minerals. Consider this, when I read my email, Google Gmail has already read it and positioned advertisements similar to the theme of the email. When I do a search the first results are companies that make something like that product. Google already knows enough about me, I really don't think they need to know everything about me. Do they really need to know about what I write, or what I am working on in a spreadsheet? How about my next presentation? Seriously, there is a limit to this mining that goes on. Now I'm not pushing some grand conspiracy here, I don't believe Google is doing anything wrong, they are in the business to sell advertisement. They do that better then anybody. I just don't know if I want to help them any more then I do.

That's all.

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