Reading the commentary from the likes of TechCrunch, Mashable, The Guardian and even our own esteemed Sam Diaz on the pre-launch (you've got another YEAR to wait) you'd think the Google ChromeOS was the closest thing to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Get a grip people. First up MG Siegler of TechCrunch:
This is Google dropping the mother of bombs on its chief rival, Microsoft. It even says as much in the first paragraph of its post, “However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web.” Yeah, who do you think they mean by that?
Wow - I am over-freakin'-whelmed. Next up Bobbie Johnson at The Guardian:
Although the company was keen to keep expectations low by suggesting a focus on netbook computers, it will undoubtedly be hoping that it can make inroads against Microsoft, the software giant that has dominated the operating system market for more than a decade with Windows.
Then we have Ben Parr over on Mashable:
Clearly though, Google’s setting the stage for a major battle with Microsoft. Just as Microsoft is trying to break Google’s stranglehold on the search engine market, Google may be trying to do the same with the Windows-controlled market.
Then Sam Diaz:
The Chrome OS is a direct attack against Microsoft’s lucrative - albeit vulnerable - Windows operating system.
Do you notice the common thread? Not much by way of facts to back up the stories. Nor any rational analysis of what's going on in the market. Pure opinion with zippo to make sense of the story other than what appears to be a Wisdom of Crowds attempt to parse Googles' smartly worded announcement. But it gets worse. Michael Arrington triumphally declares:
Don’t worry about those desktop apps you think you need. Office? Meh. You’ve got Zoho and Google Apps. You won’t miss office. Chrome plus Gears plus Google Wave plus HTML 5 and web platforms like Flash and Silverlight all combine into a single wonderful computing device. The Internet Is Everything. All the OS has to do is boot the damn computer, get me to a browser as fast as possible and then stay the hell out of the way.
Oh but if the world was so simple.
Fortunately, Krishnan Subramanian at Cloud Ave lends a more level headed view:
Instead of doing their own OS, they could have rallied behind one of the Linux distros, say Damn Small Linux, and helped them get traction among the hardware vendors. This is a move by Google to deflect the high handed tactics by Microsoft in the netbook market but it appears to me like a redundant one. I feel that they should have supported one of the existing distros. However, if they had taken that route, there is no way they could have pushed the Google Chrome browser (and their services) tightly integrated with the Linux distro. In short, it is a desperate attempt by Google to stop Microsoft in the netbook game and, also, push the Google Chrome browser to the masses at a point in time when IE's market share is going downhill.
The Register's John Oates adds sensible perspective on the reality:
Netbooks, Google's initial target market, have been less successful for Linux than many open source advocates had originally hoped. A cut-down version of Microsoft's Windows XP is currently the dominant operating system for this PC form factor.
At this point you might want to go grab a cup of your favorite Java (sic) and relax before reading the rest.
Google already has its own form of Linux it uses to run its gazzilion servers so to Krishnan's point, why is it re-inventing the wheel? Would it not have been easier to build out of that? Maybe it has and we just haven't been told. That would be a smart move because then you could see how Google might put servers in the Internet cloud.