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.
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.
- Google dumps Windows for Mac OS and Linux
- Google ditching Windows over security makes little sense
- Google dumps Windows; Is Microsoft's OS headed down a troubled path?