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Google says it is working on an operating system designed for netbooks that boots in seconds, is impervious to viruses, and is designed to run Web-based applications really well. What's not to like? Plenty--if you're the number one software maker, Microsoft. Expect a showdown. Google faces an uphill battle rolling out its operating system, Chrome OS. The irony is, Google may not care if Chrome OS succeeds or fails. Here's why.

What's amazing about Google's Chrome OS is that, despite what little is actually known about it, its announcement has turned the computer and software industry on its ear. The industry--and consumers--just want to love it. Google says chip makers Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, PC makers Acer and Hewlett-Packard, and software developers such as Adobe are collaborating on designing and building Chrome OS devices.

Google's big bet for the Chrome OS is that it can spur a new market for software, such as Google Docs, that can run entirely in a Web browser. It hopes we will rely on these Web services for storing work files, personal photos, and music on an always-on connected Internet. Want access to your photos or spreadsheets? Easy--just turn on your netbook, and there it is. No longer will we be chained by an ethernet cord to a bulky Windows PC. The Chrome OS future is about lightweight mobile PCs and devices always connected to the Web, giving you instant access to your data and applications in the so-called cloud.

Chrome to Ride Netbook Juggernaut

Chrome OS is hitching a ride on the fast-growing netbook segment of the computer industry. While notebook sales are flat, according to market research firm DisplaySearch, netbook sales are soaring with sales growing by 260 percent worldwide this year alone.

Nothing has been announced, but next year, don't be surprised if HP is selling dirt-cheap Chrome OS netbooks married to a wireless plan from Verizon Wireless. Sure, netbook makers and wireless carriers are already offering netbook giveaway promotions. But Google will have an advantage because Chrome OS will be free and the hardware requirements for running it are expected to be minimal, letting companies such as HP build ultracheap computers.

In this way Google hopes to do for the notebook what Apple has done with the iPhone--revolutionize the wireless industry by creating a Chrome OS device married to a source for apps like the iTunes App Store. Google's next stop after the netbook, it says, is the desktop.

But a lot can happen between now and late 2010, when Google says Chrome OS will be ready.

Chrome OS Challenges

First, Google will compete with another operating system, Linux, that has tried fruitlessly to replace Windows on consumer PCs. The Linux camp will give it another go with a Linux variant called Moblin that has the backing of Intel and is headed for netbooks soon. (No specific partners or dates have been announced.) Dell says it prefers Moblin to Chrome OS.

Google's Chrome will face another challenge from consumers. Do consumers want bare-bones netbooks tied solely to Web applications? What happens when you're on an airplane or if you can't get a wireless signal at the dentist's office? Privacy issues will also nag Google. How much do we want the company to know about our online and other computing habits?

Next, there's Google's arch-nemesis, Microsoft. Expect Microsoft to lob propaganda grenades at Google's Chrome OS later this year, perhaps with a campaign espousing the virtues of desktop software. That will happen just as it rolls out Windows 7, which Microsoft will be sure to remind us will ship on netbooks as well as desktops. Microsoft won't stop there as it protects its Windows software empire. It will flex its industry might behind the scenes, forcing hardware makers and software developers to reconsider jumping aboard the Chrome OS bandwagon.

Lastly, Microsoft will have its own brand of Web services to push. In July, it announced it would release online versions of its popular Office software to consumers for free. Microsoft is mum on specifics regarding its Web-based suite of Office apps, stating only that the suite will be available months before Google's Chrome OS is set to launch.

Google's Unstated Goal

Google's true ambition actually has less to do with building a new operating system and more to do with keeping Microsoft on its toes. By promising to deliver the Chrome OS, the search giant is challenging Microsoft to beat it in a race to a future where online programs can eventually surpass desktop software. Google is also using the threat of the Chrome OS to coax countless software developers to get serious about building Web services that run in the browser instead of the Windows operating system.

Does Google think it can topple Microsoft even on the netbook? It's wishful thinking, but if the company plays its cards right, it won't matter. Even if Google eventually gives up on Chrome OS, it will have forced Microsoft and the rest of the industry to take giant steps toward deploying cloud services. By that time, Google will be just as happy to have us access a Google Chrome Web App Store via a Windows PC or a MacBook as via a Chrome OS netbook.

What we need to ask ourselves is, what's in this for Google? Is Google really trying to make the world a better place with Chrome OS? Maybe, but at the end of the day Google wants to sell ads. Google's Chrome OS allows it to become the ultimate advertiser, owning nearly every aspect of your digital life from the operating system you use to how you search and work online.

Don't expect Google to sulk as it watches Microsoft, Apple, and others attempt to crush the Chrome OS with innovative Web-based services of their own. Google may shed some crocodile tears, but as the obituaries of the Chrome OS flash across browser windows, Google Ad Words ads may just be hawking the latest Web apps.

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All this looks well to me, but it really don't affect me unless it starts moving game developers to make web-based games (like on-live).
I don't think this will affect the state of things much at least on the desktop side, and that's what I care about. i want to game on my PC, I don't care wich OS I have, I'll have the one in which I can game.
 

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Thin-stalls are good, but you can get MicroXP's and Linux' that are under 50mb and will run on so little resources you can install them on damp cracker.
 

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Originally Posted by arestaja
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I dont care for Chrome OS. It cant game(probably) and Windows does everything I need.

Chrome OS won't support modern games.
 

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Chrome OS isnt for gaming. geeze people, that entire article was about how Chrome OS is essentially created for netbooks. Guess what? Netbooks aren't for gaming either.
 

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Originally Posted by Flatliner
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Chrome OS isnt for gaming. geeze people, that entire article was about how Chrome OS is essentially created for netbooks. Guess what? Netbooks aren't for gaming either.

Exactly. It's not meant to be installed on desktops. Since it seems to store nearly everything on the Internet, this would be a perfect OS to run on a netbook that has one of those tiny SSDs onboard.
 

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Originally Posted by The_0ctogon View Post
Exactly. It's not meant to be installed on desktops. Since it seems to store nearly everything on the Internet, this would be a perfect OS to run on a netbook that has one of those tiny SSDs onboard.
Until cheap, broad coverage, wi-fi exists in abundance, I can't see the platform taking off. It makes sense to centralize everything and maintain thin clients for end-users, but when my netbook turns into a paperweight outside of cellular coverage, I won't be happy.
 

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Well if this is true Chrome is not going to do much for linux to make in mainstream... its all a internet chess battle. Can't one company just create something innovative, and then have another company steal it, then grid lock competition like the good old days?
 

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Originally Posted by lozanoa11
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i like the idea but if it get popular it may ruin linux. B/c people may start writing viruses for it.

The way Unix is written, it is EXTREMELY difficult to write viruses for. The most "viruses" you'll find for Linux will be things that will have buffer overloads like adobe's flash (which is how the Mac OS X and Ubuntu were taken down in the Pwn2Own if I remember correctly) and even then, it'll have a hard time touching anything that the programs themselves can't access.

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Originally Posted by C-bro
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Until cheap, broad coverage, wi-fi exists in abundance, I can't see the platform taking off. It makes sense to centralize everything and maintain thin clients for end-users, but when my netbook turns into a paperweight outside of cellular coverage, I won't be happy.

The FCC has plans for country wide Wi-Fi, for the USA, in like 2014 I think and most cell phones companies have coverage in a huge portion of the USA.
 

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Originally Posted by thiussat
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What's funny is that Chrome *is* Linux. But the author of this article seems to not know that.

A lot of people don't know that. The author probably just read "Google will be making a Chrome OS that will be lightweight and focused on the net" and wrote an entire article about it.

In fact, I doubt very many people even bothered to read the press release that basically said Chrome OS is going to be linux with a lightweight window manager, because... you know, we totally don't have one of those already. *cough*xfce*cough*
 

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The problem with storing all your information online is that you cannot be sure that others have not seen this information. Especially with Google's history I would not want all my information out there for the world to see.
 

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Originally Posted by nathris
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A lot of people don't know that. The author probably just read "Google will be making a Chrome OS that will be lightweight and focused on the net" and wrote an entire article about it.

In fact, I doubt very many people even bothered to read the press release that basically said Chrome OS is going to be linux with a lightweight window manager, because... you know, we totally don't have one of those already. *cough*xfce*cough*

actually i can see the window manager being even more lightweight than xfce, something like fluxbox probably.
 

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this might take over the entire pc world if they can devolope software like directx in a few years and pay companies to use it so we can all game on resource efficiant google OS.

note: google did not bribe me with cookies :aware:
 

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Originally Posted by malishious_intent
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The problem with storing all your information online is that you cannot be sure that others have not seen this information. Especially with Google's history I would not want all my information out there for the world to see.

thats what i was thinking. saving all your info on the web is pretty scary no matter how they secure it or try to.
 

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Originally Posted by GodofGrunts
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The FCC has plans for country wide Wi-Fi, for the USA, in like 2014 I think and most cell phones companies have coverage in a huge portion of the USA.

Unfortunately I can't even keep cell reception just traveling around Ontario (Canada's most highly populated province). In a recent article I saw we had something like 3,500 current hotspots whereas the US has like 65,000. Hopefully we follow suit and implement the same sort of thing.
 
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