Google Chrome OS for netbooks vs Windows 7 vs iPhone/OSX: FIGHT!

La GOOG yesterday announced Google Chrome Operating System, its netbook OS to compete with Windows 7, even with the iPhone/Mac OS X platform. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers debate tomorrow's vista for mini laptops.

By Richi Jennings: your humble blogwatcher, who selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention Web Site Story...

Matthew Humphries twirls his geek-beanie:

Google, less than 24 hours after bringing a number of its major services out of beta, has announced its first foray into providing users with a free, desktop OS alternative. Introducing the Google Chrome Operating System. ... This announcement will worry Microsoft, but they must have been expecting it from Google. It isn’t just Microsoft this affects, however, and many other software vendors are going to be on edge.


[It's] is open source and will run on both x86 and ARM platforms ... Netbooks are already planned to be shipped with [it] next year ... Consists of the Chrome browser and a new windowing system built on top of the Linux kernel ... Development will be done for the web using your favorite web technologies ... [It's] a totally separate project to Android, but there is some overlap.

Gary Marshall has the ob. dig at Ballmer:

Somewhere in America, Steve Ballmer is chucking chairs and bellowing the C-word: Chrome. ... No longer just a browser: it's a heat-seeking missile heading straight for Microsoft's core business.


Google is bringing two things to the party: Google's expertise, and Google's brand. The latter is probably the most important. Linux's abject failure on netbooks isn't because Linux is bad; it's that the plethora of distributions is utterly confusing. ... People don't know what a Debian is, or a Red Hat, or an Ubuntu, or a SUSE. But they know what a Google is.

Seth Weintraub reads between the lines:

The OS Wars are now officially back on, with the Google Chrome OS looking like a worthy contender to do battle with Mac and Windows. ... The ChromeOS is going to be an almost "instant-on" OS like Splashtop or Hyperspace. Google says you'll be browsing and emailing in a few seconds from turning the machine on. This also means there will be no "sleep mode" and the computers running ChromeOS will be using 0 power when not in use.

It will be "Cloud-based" meaning that all of your files will reside in the cloud.  ... Google will likely use some sort of Gears/HTML5 DB capabilities to keep local access to file system going as they now do in their browser.

Harry McCracken is stunned by the inevitability:

Google isn’t revealing much in the way of specifics, other than that the OS is an open-source project based on its Chrome browser with a Linux kernel, and that it’s working with multiple hardware manufacturers to bring it to x86- and ARM-based netbooks in the second half of next year. It says the goal is to build an OS that boots in seconds and runs Web apps really well.


Even Ubuntu has not yet solved the “Would I recommend this to my grandma?” problem.  For all its downsides, Windows is the world’s most familiar operating system, with the largest library of apps and broadest hardware support. ... It’ll have to deliver in spades to make Chrome OS netbooks truly appealing alternatives to Windows systems in the real world.

Here's Tom Warren, regarding Redmond's response:

Microsoft has been developing "Gazelle" as an alternative to Internet Explorer. The browser acts like a self-contained operating system and is designed to address the fact that browsers like IE and Chrome have not been built by design to handle multiple processes and web applications in a secure manner. The implications from this is that older browsers have suffered performance and security issues.

The browser relies on a "browser kernel" (5,000 lines of C# code) that helps enforce security rules to prevent malicious access to the PC's underlying operating system. Built by the Microsoft Research team, company officials have been dropping hints that they are ready to talk more about Gazelle recently, we first heard about Gazelle back in February in a MS research [paper].

And Anthony Ha agonizes about Apple's answer: [You're fired -Ed.]

While Google vs. Microsoft is the big story ... I can’t help wondering how the move will affect another important Google relationship — its alliance with Apple. ... Google and Apple’s boards share two directors ... [which] made sense when Google was all about the web and Apple was all about computers and other personal electronic devices. But as Google’s ambitions grow, it’s even starting to draw federal scrutiny for possible antitrust violations.


We can expect Google to go head-to-head with Apple at some point in the future, in the same way Apple and Microsoft are duking it now now. It seems likely that [Eric] Schmidt ... will have to resign from Apple’s board before then. If he doesn’t, things could get … awkward.

So what's your take?
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 24 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

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