A dissection of the Google Chrome OS press release

Google Chrome OS has created a lot of hype since yesterday, even though it doesn’t seem to do anything new that current netbook operating systems can’t. If the leaked screenshots are real, and that’s an indication of what it’s going to be like, I see no differences in it than Moblin, Julicloud or any other netbook operating system available. In fact, Moblin and Julicloud offer a better experience to the Joe user who just wants a user friendly operating system that looks good, is feature packed and just works.

Is Google Chrome OS going to be feature packed?

Lets define feature packed.

Lets take the iPhone OS as an example, since some people are ridiculously comparing Google Chrome OS with it. The iPhone OS is feature packed. You can play music, watch movies, browse the net, play games, use GPS, edit video and even extend the functionality through 56,000+ applications available at the App Store. These applications stay on your iPhone, run from your iPhone natively and can access the web.

What is Google Chrome OS going to do?

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.

Current operating systems are getting faster and faster at booting and shutting down as well. Google should try using the new netbook operating systems. Why do people still use Windows XP on their netbooks then? Windows gained 96% netbook market even though it were free Linux distros who were getting a lot of attention to being with. I can check my email instantly as well on any operating system thanks to desktop applications, mobile applications and web applications. I can back up their data to the cloud using any operating system too thanks to Live Mesh, Mobile Me, Sky Drive, Drop Box and the likes. Although Windows doesn’t have these features bundled with the operating system due to legal issues, but it’s still possible in current operating systems.

Will it be user friendly?

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.

It’s based on Linux. Even Ubuntu fails to match or beat Windows or OS X at user friendliness, but Google has the resources to change that trend.

The operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web.

It’s our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.

Wait. The Linux kernel was made in 1991 which is based on Unix made in the 1960s. And Google OS will be made on a Linux kernel. Is Google really sane enough to think that Microsoft or Apple didn’t design the latest releases of their operating systems keeping the Internet in mind? That is ridiculous. Even Windows XP and OS X’s first releases were developed to make the web easy to use. That’s way back in 2001.

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.

Speed, simplicity and security already exist in current operating systems. That is the key aspect and selling point of every operating system! We can get onto the web in a few seconds now as well using Windows, OS X or a Linux distro, specially the ones optimized for net books. If the user prefers the whole experience to take place in the web browser, why do we have Twitter clients? Instant messaging clients? Even though all this can be done inside the browser too. And since it’s based on Linux, I’m not sure if Google has to do much work to secure the architecture from viruses and malware. Although every OS gets security updates to fix any vulnerabilities found, unless Google thinks they’ll make their OS 100% secure.

How will it work?

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.

Web developers already have the ‘largest user base’ of any platform. Putting IE aside for lack of support for web standards, every operating system has Firefox which supports HTML 5 and offline apps too. Safari supports this for Windows. Chrome has support for web standards on Windows too. How is this even a feature of an operating system?

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.

Sorry, this fails logic. Which operating system hasn’t been created for people who spend most of their time on the web?

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.

Well, I’m not sure how Google ‘benefits’ from giving away a free operating system. There’s nothing in Google Chrome OS as evident from the press release that would make users more happier. Putting everything on the cloud will give users less choice since they wont be able to use their favorite desktop applications. Instead, I see them sadder when they realize the operating system might not have a music player, video player, image viewer, bundled applications for everyday use like a calculator, screenshot tool, ftp software, PDF viewer, games, no desktop office suite ( Google Docs and Zoho suck, ask any novice user ) and many many more.

And if it has support for all these features, then it’s just another operating system like the Cloud OS, Jolicloud, Moblin and so on. The hype is really unjustified, since I believe Ubuntu is a better deserving OS. Either way you see it, it’s not a Windows killer but good competition for Microsoft and Apple.

About the Author

Technology enthusiast, Internet addict, photography fan, movie buff, music aficionado.