Open letter to Google: Chrome OS is already redundant

Summary:An open letter to Google: why are you so late to the operating system party, and have you already scuppered your chances with your delays, your hardware, and even the original concept?

Dear Google,

Oh dear. You're a bit late to the party, aren't you? I hope you read my other letter too, because I didn't hear anything back from you. Where I come from, that's considered a bit rude.

The problem is already, before I even get to the meat of this letter, is that the netbook boom is already in full swing. Sure, tablet devices like the iPad aren't that bad, if you really pushed me to say it, and laptops are only popular because they have to be, but the netbook is surprisingly popular; in some cases outselling the high-specification fully fledged computers.

Eric Schmidt said that Chrome OS won't be out now for at least next year, so you won't even hit the Christmas market. You've already missed the Thanksgiving period, and as an Englishman even I know you American's go crazy for tech around that time.

We heard that you are having a little gathering tomorrow, which is likely to lead to nothing but a massive anti-climax; announcing a branded netbook offering Chrome OS, but it is still nowhere near a consumer-friendly product. What gives?

Sure, you could hold off until next Christmas, but considering that the cloud-only operating system you have put your souls into (perhaps quite literally, knowing how 'evil' you all are) is already defunct with a shoddy concept to begin with, what's the point? You can drag a dead, flogged horse to water, but you can't drown it twice - to take the familiar saying and boil it into glue.

To make a point of order, if Chrome OS netbooks will cost between $300 and $450 as suggested a few months ago, I still see no incentive to buy one if, firstly it is limited to running Chrome OS only, and secondly if I can buy an ordinary netbook at a similar price and not more to only go and run the operating system of my choice.

Now, I've tried Chromium OS, which granted is only a developer build and not to be taken necessarily as a representation of the finished product, but you must know at this stage it is quite literally just a browser, and nothing more. But you know that, surely.

Even with a Chrome Web Store including plug-ins and applications which run solely in the browser specifically for Chrome OS, I cannot be persuaded to even consider this still to be a fruitful endeavour on your part. 'Applications' for Chromium as of yet are limited to simply links to services already available, and though Tweetdeck and other software makers are focusing on adding applications to the Chrome Web Store, you are forgetting one, simple thing.

It is not possible to live entirely in the cloud, and for once I am not talking directly about the student demographic. 

Admittedly the web browser is arguably the most prominent application on any operating system or platform. Chrome OS would be ideal if you are simply planning on donning it to quick-and-easy browser-only users. But why would the consumer trade in their chunky laptop or slimline netbook running Windows XP or Ubuntu 10.10 for an operating system which above all else restricts your access?

I think you've drowned in an intense vat of rivalry with other operating system manufacturers like Microsoft, Apple and Canonical, and are desperate to compete in an area you are not only lacking in confidence but also the expertise. Give up and focus on making existing products better, like Google Apps for Education which could really do with a firm boot up the backside.

I'm only saying this because I have love in my heart and I don't want to see bad things happen to good people. Sorry, scrap that - I can't pull off gratuitous niceties; anybody who knows me can vouch for this.

Nonetheless, lots of love,

Zack x

Topics: Google

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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