No more Windows at Google: Just FUD?

No more Windows at Google: Just FUD?

Summary: Google usually gets its share of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) thrown at it. However, the story in the Financial Times yesterday about dumping Windows at Google just strikes me as awfully FUDly.

SHARE:

Google usually gets its share of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) thrown at it. Whether it's over privacy (not a non-issue, by the way, but Google is hardly the only company profiting from your online data), the use of the cloud with Apps, or some other form of potential world domination. However, the story in the Financial Times yesterday about dumping Windows at Google just strikes me as awfully FUDly.

Also read

Google dumps Windows; Is Microsoft's OS headed down a troubled path?

The long and the short of it is that Google is largely not using Windows operating systems internally on their PCs anymore due to "security concerns."  Reports do point to a security hole in Internet Explorer as one of the vulnerabilities that allowed the well-publicized attacks on Google's Chinese properties.  However, Safari and Firefox are hardly without their vulnerabilities. Chrome is solid, but hardly infallible. And as Mac marketshare continues to grow in both mobile and desktop spaces, the security by anonymity largely enjoyed by Mac users will come to an end.  The same, in fact, could be said as Android adoption explodes, for Linux-based systems.

Keep in mind that I'm a diehard Google fan.  I'm typing this in Chrome, I use Google Apps more than any other productivity tool and, in fact, more than any other website.  All of my primary computers are Linux or Mac, whether because the OS is free or provides some particular utility I need or I just plain like the look and feel of Ubuntu (or my kids like OS X).  Google tools invariably overlay just about everything.

And yet I'm actually typing this on a Windows 7-based Classmate (in a Chrome browser, of course) because it was handy to take to a conference today.

Clearly, Google knows that their backend security is far more important to protecting their enterprise customers and the privacy of their billions of consumer users.  Will getting rid of Windows on Googlers' desktops actually make the data with which we as users, businesses, schools, and consumers entrust Google safer?  I'm inclined to doubt it.

Google has a real advantage here in that everything they do is platform-independent by design.  The web is the platform and the web doesn't care what OS you use.  To be honest, I don't actually see this as a loss for Windows.  At best, it's a corporate realignment with internal tools and a commitment to "eating your own dogfood." At worst, it's anti-Windows FUD. It certainly sets the stage, though, for Google to make the Chome OS/browser and Android absolutely bulletproof from a secuirty standpoint if they wish for this to be a credible move.

See also:

Topics: Google, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

39 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: No more Windows at Google: Just FUD?

    Windows 7 classmate? And you claim to like Linux? Paaahleease....
    kirovs@...
    • Come on, Christopher plays with everything thrown at him, and MUST support

      Windows on school computers. So, he might like Linux, but, he is also a realist.
      DonnieBoy
  • RE: No more Windows at Google: Just FUD?

    By dropping Microsoft Windows Google will be left in the dust. They NEED Microsoft Windows to perform their day to day business. They also have stand alone applications based on it. Its been said (and proven wrong) that Google has the best and the brightest, why can't these big brains figure out Microsoft Windows security? It offers a much finer grain of control over security options than any other OS. What most likely happened was one guy in one department at Google was spouting out for just his department and not all of Google. Hopefully this guy will get fired for starting rumors about the company. Then we can all laugh at him and Google.
    Loverock Davidson
  • I don't think it's FUD, but it may be misguided

    If you have windows and you care about security than you are better off learning how to secure your windows box than you are switching and learning new OS. I would recommend everyone who uses windows do the following

    1. Do not use IE - chrome is safest right now.
    2. Create a user account and do not always run with Admin privileges.
    3. Anti-virus and firewall of-course
    4. Be mindful of social engineering (phishing, downloading suspect software, etc).

    If you follow recommendations above you may be slightly inconvenienced (ex. Not all software will work with user accounts) but you should be much safer.
    hamobu-22333136139518773481685514128812
    • RE: No more Windows at Google: Just FUD?

      @hamobu

      Since they already use Linux for their servers... I don't see the issue with moving to desktop Linux. Most people working at Google are pretty much above the average user in intelligence so... I think the learning / training issue is a red herring.

      Then again, I know it's a red herring. Since a company like Google can easily set up their own version of Linux... oh wait they did that already! Nice try! ]:)
      Linux User 147560
      • MacOS is certified Unix, so there is not much difference comparing to Win-s

        @Linux User 147560: while Windows is totally alien to Linux/Unix OS.
        DDERSSS
      • RE: No more Windows at Google: Just FUD?

        @Linux User 147560 actually Google already said that more than half of its employees use a custom version of Ubuntu playfully called Goobuntu.
        ssj6akshat
    • Most of your points

      2. Create a user account and do not always run with Admin privileges.
      3. Anti-virus and firewall of-course
      4. Be mindful of social engineering (phishing, downloading suspect software, etc).

      Those aren't restricted to windows. And the first can be changed to Safari for OSX. Then again, Safari is less secure than IE right now on either OS.
      Michael Alan Goff
  • Chrome safest?

    <a href="http://secunia.com/advisories/39882" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://secunia.com/advisories/39882</a>

    http://secunia.com/advisories/39578/
    hsbrown2
  • Why blame OS for everything?

    I think that Google will have some real issues if a Mac or a Linux machine gets hacked. Then what Google? Seems to me I would ask these China employee's of Google why they were using IE and not Chrome? Or a more secure browser. Were they using IE 6 ( cringe). Sorry to say its like blaming a car for a accident and not the driver. Maybe Google needs employee's that are more cautious?
    jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
    • Never heard of MacOS/Linux being hacked in **real life** conditions

      @jscott418: of course, there are always vulnerabilities, but still there is no comparison to the level of threat which WindowsOS inflicts
      DDERSSS
      • RE: No more Windows at Google: Just FUD?

        @denisrs

        That threat level dropped to about the same as every other player with Vista.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • Market Share

        So when everyone moves over to OSX you think the hackers will remain on Windows? Now given OSX has less security measures in place as it is not battle hardened how long do you think it will be before everyone goes scuttling bank to the Windows bunker?
        Bozzer
    • RE: No more Windows at Google: Just FUD?

      @jscott418 correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it IE6 running on the end-users' computers that enabled the hack?
      rebel_angel_@...
  • Why is Loverock flagged?

    I get a chuckle out of his Talkbacks and the hate dripping responses are a riot!
    Bill4
    • RE: No more Windows at Google: Just FUD?

      @Bill4 Because he is not spewing the correct hate speech. This is pretty similar to what is politically correct to say about the current president, and there is a great deal of overlap between the two groups.
      Coors4bob
    • RE: No more Windows at Google: Just FUD?

      @Bill4 I think Lovey might be being autoflagged these days. You have to go back a few years (god! at least a decade or more) to remember when Lovey dripped hatred for Windows, loved BSD and all things Linux. Eventually he hated Linux, maybe Linus piddled in his direction, then came to ignore BSD and with XP SP3 fell in love with Windows.

      The tirade hasn't changed just his loves and hates and, of course, the hate dripping responders too!
      TtfnJohn
    • Do you know what a denial of service attack is?

      His only purpose is to disrupt. The messages are meaningless. He counts on responders to offset any sincere messaging that may be present and to take the focus away from sincere posters.
      Joe.Smetona
  • So they dropped Windows...

    Would there be so much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth were it MacOSX or Linux that GOOG had dropped? I think not... No rest for the wicked.
    fjpoblam
  • RE: No more Windows at Google: Just FUD?

    Sell stock in memory chip makers, since the lightweight thread operating systems need far less memory than Microsoft windows.
    tburzio