Browser investigate

Google Chrome OS: 3 reasons it matters, and 4 reasons it's irrelevant

Google has finally announced its long-expected operating system, the Chrome OS. Here's what we know about it, plus my take on both why it matters and why it could turn out to be irrelevant.

No one is surprised Google announced last week that it is building an operating system. It's been one of the worst kept secrets in the technology world that Google has long desired to build an OS to take a shot at the Microsoft Windows monopoly. In the wake of the announcement, Google CEO Eric Schmidt even admitted that Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have wanted to build a Web browser and operating system for years, but Schmidt initially opposed the idea and only recently gave in.

Google's idea is to essentially create a thin client operating system for consumers. This is not going to have a big impact on IT departments and businesses, many of which are experimenting with Windows-based thin client solutions such as VDI. However, IT pros should understand Chrome OS because you can be sure some workers will try to bring it into the business.

For more insights on Google, Chrome OS, and other tech topics, follow my Twitter stream at twitter.com/jasonhiner

Thus, let's take a look at the few details we know about the Chrome OS at this point, and then look at the reasons why it will matter and the reasons why it may turn out to be virtually irrelevant.

Here's what we know

  • It will run with a Linux kernel as its base
  • It will boot directly into the Chrome Web browser
  • It will be aimed primarily at netbooks
  • It will run on both x86 and ARM processors
  • It will not be designed to have local storage; all data will be stored in the cloud
  • Google will not entice developers to build software to run on the Chrome OS; instead, they want them to build Web apps that will run on any standards-based browser
  • The three most important features will be "speed, simplicity and security," according to Google
  • Google will release the software to the open source community before the end of 2009
  • Announced Chrome OS hardware partners: Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba.
  • Netbooks running Chrome OS will be available in the second half of 2010

This is Google's official explanation of the problems that it is trying to solve with Chrome OS:

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. 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. 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.

Three reasons why it matters

3. Because Windows needs more competition

Nearly two decades after Microsoft Windows conquered the PC, very few real challenges have been mounted against its dominance. Long-time rival Apple Macintosh has recently had a resurgence, but it's still hovering at less than 10% of the total market. This market is ripe for innovation and a new competitor. In many quarters, Windows fatigue has set in, especially in the notoriously price-conscious consumer market and in light of the Vista debacle. The virus, spyware, and security troubles of Windows are its biggest weaknesses and Google is wise to target those soft spots with Chrome OS.

2. Because Chrome OS will be cheap

Google has confirmed that the Chrome OS will be open source and will not have any licensing fees. That will enable Chrome OS-based netbooks to be cheaper than both Windows-based netbooks and ARM-based smartbooks from Qualcomm. Plus, once we start talking about nettops, it's entirely possible that we could see a $100 PC (without monitor) running the Chrome OS.

1. Because it's from Google

Google is the 800-pound gorilla of the Internet. Because of its brand strength and star power, it's always a big deal when Google enters new markets. Nothing that Google does will go unnoticed or fail simply because it didn't get enough exposure.

Four reasons why it's virtually irrelevant

4. It's running Linux

So is 2010 going to be the year of Linux on the desktop since Chrome OS is based on Linux? Every year for the past decade was supposed to be "The Year of Linux on the Desktop." It hasn't happened and it's not because it was an idea ahead of its time or it needed a stronger champion. The mass market has rejected Linux on the desktop. Linux is nothing more (or less) than a niche OS loved by a loyal group of highly-technical users. Even Google can't change that, unless it's prepared to write Linux device drivers for all of the world's printers, digital cameras, keyboards, and mice.

3. It's too late

By the time Chrome OS is released, Windows 7 will be everywhere (at least in the consumer market) and Mac OS X will be faster and simpler with the release of Snow Leopard. If Google really wanted to make a powerful entrance into the OS market, the time to do it would have been mid-2007 when it was obvious that Windows Vista was a failure and it would take Microsoft a couple years to fix it. The opportunity for an OS to make a major impact on the PC market has passed. The OS just isn't that important anymore. Windows and Mac both do a pretty good job of making the OS get out of the way as quickly and easily as possible. Chrome OS probably won't be able to do that because it will start out with massive device driver incompatibilities with PC accessories.

2. Google hasn't proven it can build an OS

Google hasn't exactly knocked anyone's socks off with Android, its mobile OS. While Android has potential and still has time to develop, it feels like beta software in a market that demands greater "finish" and attention to detail (see iPhone and Palm Pre). Plus, Android itself was originally touted to be a netbook OS. Therefore, the release of Chrome OS is a de facto indictment against Android, despite the fact that Google executives have tried to downplay it. Maybe Google has realized that the Java software sitting on top of a Linux codebase in Android would have severe performance limitations on a PC. Whatever the case may be, the fact that Google will have overlapping netbook operating systems does not inspire a lot of confidence that Google knows what it's doing in the OS market or has a sound strategy.

1. It's limited to netbooks

So here's the skinny on netbooks. They have two great features: They are small and cheap. They also have two big drawbacks: They are terrible and a lot of consumers regret buying them (verified by a recent NPD survey). The consumer backlash against netbooks has already begun and by the time we see Chrome OS netbooks from Google's hardware partners in the second half of 2010, the netbook phenomenon will either have retreated into the background or morphed into something better. And then Google will have to scramble to make Chrome OS available on a wider variety of notebook computers, as well as on nettops.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

199 comments
garibaldi69@
garibaldi69@

I've been in this business 20 years now and this is what I see. Imagine being a salesman and telling a customer this: Buy this computer running Google's OS. You already have an internet connection at home. (Cable, DSL etc.) Now you don't have to buy Antivirus,($40) MS Office, (we'll say $200)just this $300 computer and free printer. You go home, turn it on and go to googles site and start working off the web. Done. If Google does this right, the "HOME USER" (not us technical users) will be theirs. The average user doesn't have gigs worth of data to store. Just some Word docs and maybe some spreadsheets. maybe a few template based lables. We are talking a few meg maybe. Why is MS working on a web based Office? Why did MS renew their relationship with Citrix? Why are they giving away Hyper V Server? Business's keep MS alive but Home Users give MS a bonus. If Google taps only 20 to 30 per cent of home users thats millions of dollars of revenue. Remember, Google is an advertising company. Imagine how many users will click on links when they see them all the time every day while online. And there is the few who will pay a fee to have those links removed. If this kicks off, Google will surpass MS in 10 years. We are techies, we question everything. I work with home users a lot and they pretty much do as they are told whether from the kid at Best Buy or the guy they call to fix their home PC. Until Linux becomes simpler, it will never capture home users. P.S. I already run Windows 7RC and like it 1000 times more than Vista. Vista was and is horriblely slow and bulky. It runs faster, Boots faster and shuts down quicker than Vista ever did. I just wish as a tech I could turn off all the graphical crap. Like when I'm copying, I don't need to see a folder flying back and forth.

wphoa
wphoa

Users of Linux are generally computer-techies. File and Folder management in Linux is very different than Windows, and thus having non-technie users learn a new way of managing files and folders would be disastrous to say the least unless the Chrome OS (even for laptops) makes it the same as in Windows. Most of the users I know do more file / folder manipulation or organization simply because everyone does their own way.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

As a full-time Linux user, I think this news may, at long last, help Linux get better driver support. As a computer user of many years and an IT tech of a few, I know "normal" people aren't going to use this unless it comes pre-installed, and then if they can't use their applications, they will just return it for a Windows machine. If nothing else, Microsoft knows how to have and hold onto mind share, without even trying anymore. :) So I am still on the fence on this one. Of course I will try it when it drops. Hopefully they will at least allow 3rd party apps. Is chrome supposed to be a LFS(Linux From Scratch) distro?

Fyrewerx
Fyrewerx

At least 70% of my company's mobile PC use is at locations devoid of Internet connectivity (nobody wants powerstations in their back yard for some reason). It seems to me, that makes Chrome OS a hard sell for us. We "do", however, use a lot of netbooks, quite successfully. Contrary to typical complaints, they do many things (including running programs we require) quite well. And we can do this without always being connected to the web thingy.

markyannone
markyannone

If Google says the three most important features will be "speed, simplicity, and security," then those will be the features that are most disappointing. Google's Gmail violates all 10 design principles of Google's User Experience team, yet email is mentioned foremost in Google's justification for creating a new thin-client OS for the hated netbook. Google dropped the ball when designing Gmail, a key personal and business app that needs to be great, not hated and despised and rebuked and ... somebody stop me! Gmail needs help. Has Google looked at the labels of the two search buttons on its home page? They look like the alpha release. Did the developer die? Can't they find someone who can replace the two buttons with a single button labeled "Search"? And why are Google searches becoming less relevant? Google needs to stick to its knitting and perfect what it attempts to do already before biting off even more that it can't chew.

Brian G
Brian G

Hiner, You just don't get it the "OS" is a required part for ANY APPLICATION. The windowing application interface like "Explorer" and it's related desktop may become irrelevant, but the OS, the REAL OS, the one that interfaces with all the hardware and schedules what the processor will be doing, will never become un-important. btw, Google Chrome OS, will be a flop.

Bizzo
Bizzo

If they're not careful, they'll fall into the same trap as Linux on desktops/laptops for the "home user". In my opinion, the average "home user" buys a pc to ultimately play games and surf. With Google OS, they can surf. From what I've read about Google OS, it just seems to be a cut down version of Linux with a browser front end. Am I wrong? If this is the case, they've already halved their market. Can I install WoW? Can I install a graphics package or iTunes etc? If this is a no, will it take off? There are already a number of free OSs (Linux) out there that are quick to boot and access the internet. Why would I want one that is less functional and costs more? I bought a netbook last year, and decided to spend the extra money to get Windows XP on it. The reason for this is that I've tried a number of Linux distros and didn't quite get on with any of them, I always had trouble installing apps. I started with Ubuntu, and it seems that every time I switched it on it needed to be patched, that's another 20 minutes wasted. Maybe if I'd have spent a little more time getting to know how it worked the experience would have been better. Will Google OS be any different?

ddomian
ddomian

and i have 200 gigs of music, and a gig or 2 of hi-res photos, and my midi/mixer/music software, and my lotus for 3.1.1 that will work on XP. Nah, sorry. No data to store? I think not. And for a mini, i just use my android phone. and will switch back to windows OS phone if I don't get flash and .pdf's soon.

JosiahB
JosiahB

I'd disagree with this statement, a large proportion of 'average' home users are storing more and more data thanks to the availability of a whole range of extra bits and pieces they can plug into their machines. Digital cameras, MP3 players and the like. I don't know a single home user who only has a few gigs of data anymore.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I've always wondered how many CPU cycles are burned updating that useless 'flying folder' graphic.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

These systems are not going to be storing anything locally. The question is what the Google-provided, web-based file management utility will look like.

MrRich
MrRich

They're really not that different in the GUI, first of all. Secondly, Jason points out that Chrome OS will have no local storage. You have to wonder what will take the place of file and folder management, or how the paradigm will be tweaked.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

How is it different? besides of the "/" and the "\" thing, it is completely the same. you can drag a file into a folder and it resides there. their is no difference at all. either you have never actually used Linux (or a Mac) or you have a tough time with folders on any OS.

adornoe
adornoe

Microsoft was sued and made to pay big fines for "embedding" their IE browser with their Windows OS. It was deemed to be a monopolistic practice and, of course, illegal. Now, along comes Google proposing to do what seems to be the same thing that Microsoft was doing some 10 years ago, but, to get around the similarities, they're proposing the OS as being part of the browser. That sounds to me like the same thing that Microsoft was doing that got them into trouble, except that Google is looking to do the same thing as Microsoft but in a backwards relationship between the browser and the OS. Now, Google will have to design their Chrome OS to work with ALL browsers or they will be deemed monopolistic if their Chrome OS only works with Google's version of a browser. If Google is allowed to embed their OS, thin or not, into the browser, Microsoft could make a case that they should also be allowed to embed their browser into their OS. A marriage of OS/Browser or Browser/OS sounds the same to me no matter how Google or anyone else wants to spin it.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

The problem with netbooks and the public is that the people selling them thought they were going to be an "internet device". Noone seemed to have thought that the "public" would just see it as a small computer. It was a mistake (didn't help that all the UI's I saw were horrible). I think if Ubuntu Netbook edition could have released earlier and that Acer or Asus would have latched onto, the market would be different. Many people want their "apps" but because everyone gets stuck on the "windows apps don't work on Linux" they never see that their is usually a clone of it that does as well or better than the Windows version.

phil
phil

If there are enough devices using the platform the software will arrive, as you can sell access rights for internet resources. Unfortunately anything new will take a while to be established and you get in to a chicken and egg situation. People like their home PCs because they are familiar with them (most people don't upgrade until they break) and they don't realise what a "better" machine can do for them (gamers and video users are exceptions). For mass appeal and success of an operating system, its the killer app concept all again, except this time google will need many killer apps for people to replace their Windows PCs with thin clients. They might already be too late as Smartphones are already sneaking in to the netbook marketplace.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I am a home user as well, I have more than 2 terrabytes of music, movies, TV shows, and of course GAMES on my 6 HDD's. Normal Nix distros cannot even come close to meeting my requirements as a user, Googles new distro is like, "Wtf why even bother". They make the stupid assumption that all I do is browse the net, well that's simply not true, if I ever browse the net, its more accurate to say. I place a web browser on secondary monitor, watch movie/video on primary or I will have browser on primary and usually be listning to music, or have a TV show going, or be playing a game, or burning a disc or making archives. And any combination of these, including the odd playing music and watching a movie and browsing the internet. Essentially googles OS can only ever do one of my favorite activities because it A, has no local storage, and B, relies on a slow unreliable technology called the Internet.

garibaldi69@
garibaldi69@

With the advent of sites like MS Live, pics and songs can be stored online. Look at facebook, Myspace. People want to share their pics these days. Now I agree copying 2 or 8 gig of songs back and forth would get old real quick, but is doable in this age of high speed cable. Besides how many times do you wipe your ipod and start fresh? And pics can also be stored in those really cool Digital picture frames (I love mine). I put in my 4gig sd card and let it rip.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

I have a computer at home I am recovering from hard drive failure (more like Mac hardware support failure, nothing wrong with the hard drive itself, but I digress) that has almost 50GB of stuff for one user. Mostly pictures and home movies. "Normal" people have a ton of stuff to store. its like a Storage Unit, but in your computer. They never throw anything away.

jda
jda

about 1 hz. its just a couple of gifs being flipped - you see flying folders (my two year old saw "seagulls") but it really wouldn't save you cpu bandwidth worth spit if it showed nothing.

JosiahB
JosiahB

how much of the time it takes to copy a file is actually made up of constantly recalculating the estimated time remaining and still not getting it even remotely right?

garibaldi69@
garibaldi69@

It was always my opinion that a MAC user wrote Vista. They spent to much time trying to make it look pretty and not enough time on the Kernel.

adornoe
adornoe

Will the Web Browser Become the Operating System? From WXPNews: For many years now, government anti-trust agencies have been complaining about Microsoft "bundling" the Internet Explorer web browser with the Windows operating system. Microsoft argued that the browser was an integral part of the OS, and it was no coincidence that both the web browser and file manager were named "Explorer" and could be used more or less interchangeably. Microsoft recognized at that time that local and Internet resources would become more and more intertwined, and gave users a way to access both through the same interface. But software companies that made competing web browsers cried "foul" and pressed authorities to stop Microsoft from including its web browser with the OS, protesting that this gave IE an unfair advantage in the browser market.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

There is still a big difference. At 90% market share, the company holding that majority becomes subject to monopoly laws. These laws protect the consumer and market from abuse of that possition. While it is not illegal to be a monopoly, it is illegal to use that dominance to keep fair competition out of the market. In the case of Microsoft, they hold 90% of the market which puts them in monopoly position. They can effectively limit consumer choice and harm the market through there own size within it. In some cases, they've been legally found to do so and in Europe, they are having a tough go of it in the courts. In the case of Google, they would not become subject to monopoly laws until they dominated 90% or more of the market. As such, they can embed the browser in an OS. They are small enough a share of the OS market that the consumer still has choice in which platform they choose. Still not a choice I'd make personally but legally, they seem to be clear; well, initially anyhow. If the cloud tablet type device takes off, they may be deemed a monopoly within that segment of the market based on 90% share of the tablet market. I'm not sure how market subsets work though. Personally, I think the thinclient over public networks has technological issues to address first before such legal issues become a concern. On this one, I'm going with Mr. Planet of the Apes; you can have my full distribution when you pry it from my cold dead hard drive. Even my PDA runs a full OS. Over ssh, one wouldn't realize they where on a box smaller than a VCR tape.

PhilippeV
PhilippeV

The Os will be Linux an open-sourced, meaning that the OS will be replacable, fully or partly. Google can then ship it but does not restrict the system like Microsoft does ni Windows, where it even restricts the right to remove opttional parts or parts that people don't use or don't want to use at all. That makes a big difference. Everything in Google Chrome OS will be open sourced (the Chrome browser is already), so even Microsoft will be immediately able to provide IE on it, as it will have full access to its sources. Microsoft won't be able to case something because the platform will be fully opened. Of course Microsoft will not be able to sign the binary updates for the Google Chrome OS using the same binary signature used by Google for Google Updates, but Microsoft certainly cannot request the right to use the Google signatures. So it will have to convince Google OS users itself, if it wants users to run any Microsoft softwares on Google OS (which will be certainly possible, but Microsoft has repeatedly said that it did not want to develop anything for the Linux platform, except in order to promote the Windows platform or its own websites like MSN, Hotmail, Live Mail). On the opposite, Microsoft has repeatedly broken existing softwares running on Windows only to promote its own products, because Microsoft refused to completely open the APIs that allowed the Microsoft products to integrate correctly in Windows (and sometimes it has developped new alternate APIs that seemed unnecessary, just in order to remove one of them sometime, just to break some softwares that were not adapted to use the new API; Microsoft products were not affected because they had been patched preventively and secretly to use the new API as soon as available in the supporting OS, or by deploying these APIs along with Office Updates (with very restrictive licences forbidding anyone to work on them or make use of them in any of their delivered products, including certified OEMs) long before they were documented and made available to Windows Updates. This gave to Microsoft a considerable advantage, because Microsoft already had the user experience on these APIs and allowed to build new products on them before the competition could correct their own applications just to maintain the compatibility or their integration for the user experience on the desktop shell. Just think about the new accelerators in IE8: even if all existing accelerators were configured by the user to use Google services and not Microsoft Live services, Microsoft reintroduces new accelerators that will repromote Microsoft web services that users never opted for. And if you accidentally use them (because they are incorrectly labelled and easily confusable with those from another search engine), you'll be driven to Microsoft sites or it will launch IE even if this is not your default browser. When you think that you won't use IE at all, Microsoft is always pushing new things in its Winodws Updates that will only work with IE (oups!), or that will launch IE and other browsers will immediately complain as Microsoft did not even use its published recommandations for developers but invented a new API that it will document later... Microsoft is like this: it makes everything it wants at anytime and without notice, just by pushing supposed updates that are in fact modifying the system APIs or its integration, just in order to promote other Microsoft products or break existing ones that need to be updated later. IE has really been used by Microsoft as a flagship for selling Office, or Windows Live services, or MSDN subscriptions, or Windows Media Player (and the online music shops that have paid Microsoft to be hosted on the WMP site or in the WMP main window). Now it starts once again with Silverlight (the initial version required a user agreement, but this is no longer the case with its updates that are now adding promotion for Microsoft products or its partners). The same thing has been used for Live Mail when it replaced Outlook Express, or for the Microsoft Live "security" suite promoted by the Windows installation itself. It has been used to deface illegally Java in the past. The .Net deployment kit also includes now promotion for unrelated Microsoft products for its maintenance. and Microsoft is now an expert in remaning the technologies used in a way that hides the effective standard that they use, using some terminologies that permits it to modify the standards it is supposed to follow (and covering everything with trademarks, and restricting licences, in contradiction with the technologies effectively used or abused); before people understand that they've been fooled and Microsoft sold them FUD (or false promisses like in Vista Ultimate...), it can take years, and Microsoft continues and is trying to convince users that it gives them "exclusive advantages" (like: "as a registered user of Vista Ultimate you're qualified to get an exclusive access to upgrade to Windows 7 at a competitive advantage", the same as occured with Office in the early time of Vista Ultimate, but the reality is that the offer is limited and possible only in a period where there's still no possible competition, you have to select from a few vendors, that will anyway offer the same price or lower just the first day of the official release...) Google is not selling its OS now like Microsoft does since June 26 (despite the product is still unavailable !). Microsoft is selling 7 to OEM PC makers, promissing them that by buying Vista they would be qualified to get a free UPGRADE to Windows 7, but Now Microsoft is saying to European users that the UPGRADE will not be available and that they will have to reinstall Windows completely (menaning that they will have to format their disk !). Microsoft finds an unacceptable excuse in saying that the upgrade is not possible before the worldwide release (despite it is Microsoft that decided ITSELF to remove IE from Windows 7 in last automn: how cna Microsoft excuse itself of not being ready?) Microsoft goes even further: you will be able to exercise the pseudo-free upgrade to Windows 7 only for a limited time after its release. But the upgrade option will not be available at that time. It's completely unacceptable. If you decide to upgrade later, you will have to pay (meaning that the initial offer to get the free 7 upgrade with a new PC bought since June 26 will be completely false). Google is not using such tactics. It does not promiss things to OEMs, it does not sell anything before the release, and it will give full open source access to the system months before the release, respecting the terms of the GPL long before it is required to do so... Who is the fair player ? Certainly Google, not Microsoft.

Alzie
Alzie

The issue behind the Microsoft lawsuits is that they will not allow access to source code to competing products such as Opera. Since Google's OS will be based on open source there is no issue.

MrRich
MrRich

Once the OS is open sourced it isn't a Google product. And they support any standards compliant browser. There are many options on the Linux OS already.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"...the people selling them thought they were going to be an 'internet device'. Noone seemed to have thought that the 'public' would just see it as a small computer." Have you seen the ads in the circulars from the big box electronics retailers? They position the netbook ads mixed right in with the full-featured laptop sales. The public sees it as a small computer because that's exactly how the manufacturers and retailers are presenting them.

Slayer_
Slayer_

its a bad idea to store porn on your HDD

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You misunderstood, I was posing a theoretical questions strictly for academic discussion. The topic does not apply to me at all. Yeah, somebody else; that's it.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Most of my porn CAME from the cloud :)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Dead serious. How many people are going to want to upload their porn to the cloud? And please don't insult us by pretending there isn't a large minority / small majority of computer users who download (or create!) porn. Do you want to use Google to store the pictures from your drunken eighth anniversary boink-a-palooza? The one where you two dragged out the old drum major and marching band uniforms?

MPG187
MPG187

I have 2 500 GB Hard drives I use for backup. The first backs up my 3 USB Hard drives. The second backs up the forth, and the internal hard drive from my laptop and desktop.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Thanks to a shaw glitch, I get wicked download speed, sometimes I can download at OVER 3 megabytes per second! However, my upload is still properly capped, as it is in the rest of Manitoba. 60kbps upload for shaw, 45kbps for MTS DSL. We can't even get VOIP phones with this shit!

garibaldi69@
garibaldi69@

I know every area is different but in this area (Central PA) we have Comcast (Spit) and Verizon DSL, and FIOS in some areas. All of which can reach 7meg(DSL), 16meg(Cable) and 40meg(FIOS) which a friend of mine keeps rubbing in my face. My neighbor has cable and downloads files at around 900kbs to over a meg. (left hand on bible right hand raised) Uploads are less but still around 400 to 600k. Plenty fast enouigh to upload pics to the web as he does.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Even better, how many people have High Speed that is actually high speed. Watch TV and how many ad's you will see with obscure speeds such as "10 times the speed of dialup." Which dialup are they talking about, and if we are talking 56k, thats only 560k. I can get 720k internet for 10 bucks a month from shaw, and this company wants X (Usually $40+) number of dollars for less?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

How many people who can afford a high speed connection are going to want to use a low-end netbook as their primary machine?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm sure it's measurable but minimal. Mostly I was picking up on garibaldi69's last couple of comments. Sorry if I expressed it in such a way that it could be misinterpreted as serious.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

Going to go out on a limb here and assume he meant that as a joke.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

its Windows, the Kernel is perfect and none can say otherwise. The UI is king, noone needs an actual working computer, thats for those Linux Geeks. :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If a browser only thinclient OS market did develop and MS took 90% of it but didn't use that market share to unfairly limit competition then it wouldn't be a problem outside of the normal geek talk back and forth. The monopoly position is only an issue when the company uses it against the competition and consumers. If the market winners and losers are chosen through natural market forces then that's what the consumers have chosen. Regarding the magazine, I should ahve said your magazine reference as I didn't mean a publication under your ownership. Still, when comparing opinions you need more than one and the independent opinions are going to have more reason for consideration than the one's bias towards one side or the other by default. I would put as much suspicion towards a single opinion piece from a Linux OS focused magazine. Now, five opinion pieces; a linux bias, a windows bias and three independents would be an interesting comparison. The magazine you mentioned was WindowsXP focuses; the entity is directly related to that topic. Questioning TR because it's parent company is CBS is not the same thing. TR is the publishing entity and it's advertised focus is on technology generally not a specific segment of that topic. Your also reversing the relation by judging the magazine based on it's actions versus judging TR based on it's parent company. If CBS puts pressure on TR to focus on a specific segment and that is demonstrated through it's advertised intent; sure, then it's comparable. "(I would expect similar spin toward a specific reader from an OS centric publication.)" This should have read "from any OS centric publication". It was intended to recognize that any publication focused on a specific topic is going to interpret things in terms of that topic. I wouldn't go to Linux.com for articles on Windows or osX. I don't go to OSNews for articles on video gaming. If either of those places does publish an article, it's going to be spun from that core focus. So, for one opinion piece from a competitive topic, I'm not going to put a great deal of weight in it. For multiple agreeing opinions from various sources with different core topics of focus, I'm going to take the points more seriously. I've heard one must read three or more books on a topic before understanding it; it's a good recommendation to follow in my experience.

adornoe
adornoe

If multiple companies compete with a browser on top of a kernel where none holds 90% of that market, there is no basis for anti-trust. If Microsoft and Firefox and Google and others do decide to merge their versions of OSes to the internet browsers, and one of them ends up on top of the heap with, say 80-90% of the internet browser usage, then, who would be to blame? Would Google or Firefox or Opera go after Microsoft because of unfair "monopolistic" practices after MS regained the browser market to a level of 90-95%? Would they have a case since, they were all doing the same thing when merging the OS to the browser? Remember that in this round of OS/browser merging, it would not have been just MS that decided to do the merger. There will be a winners and losers in this next round and when it comes to accusations against MS for embedding their browser in their internet OS, they won't fly this time around. And, if history is any indication, whenever MS tackles a problem or application or OS or any other field, they rarely end up losers. Thus, with Google firing the first shot, they invited MS to join in the new battle and Google could potentially end up big losers in this. And Google won't stand a chance in court if they go after MS. And, the reverse would hold true for MS going after Google. It's the lesser players in the field who might have a case, but then again, those would've been minor players in the browser/OS war-front anyway. So, even those minor players might not have a case if one the other biggies ends up triumphant and seemingly monopolistic. If a company holds 90% of that sub-market but does not use that position unfairly to muscle out competition, there is also no basis for anti-trust litigation. Just the fact that one company might hold 90% of the market is reason enough for many to go after the "monopoly". In many cases, the sheer size and might of a company is intimidating enough to prevent minor players from competing successfully. Many people might look at 90% of a market as being monopolistic, even if they attained that status legally and didn't use any kind of muscle or illegal tactics to achieve that status. Your magazine is also WinXP specific and has a vested interest in presenting the topic with a specific spin. It's not my magazine and it doesn't matter whether they have any kind of interest. It's another opinion and all opinions should be heard. This site/forum is owned by CBS, a very liberal news source, and there is no bigger spin machine out there than a liberal news site. So, should I then consider all CBS stories to be completely biased and not worthy of attention or credibility? I'd be more interested to see what independent magazines say on the subject. Good luck in finding one. There ain't no such thing. Everybody has an opinion. It's mostly a matter of the reader already having their own opinions and choosing to read or believe those that they mostly agree with. Any writer who claims to have no opinion or preferences is one that the readers should be most leery about. (I would expect similar spin toward a specific reader from an OS centric publication.) Like I said: everybody has an opinion. Once a set of facts is laid down in an article, what mostly follows is opinion or viewpoints or analysis. The only part of an article that is credible is the part that tells you the "who, what, when, where, how". Once the article moves into perceptions or opinions or analysis, that's when you need to become skeptical. It's not that there should be no opinion or perceptions or analysis, but, at that point, the writer(s) has moved on to his personal opinions/preferences/perceptions. So, again, I don't believe there is any magazine or forum or writer who doesn't taint what he's covering with his own opinions or preferences or perceptions.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If multiple companies compete with a browser on top of a kernel where none holds 90% of that market, there is no basis for anti-trust. If a company holds 90% of that sub-market but does not use that position unfairly to muscle out competition, there is also no basis for anti-trust litigation. Your magazine is also WinXP specific and has a vested interest in presenting the topic with a specific spin. I'd be more interested to see what independent magazines say on the subject. (I would expect similar spin toward a specific reader from an OS centric publication.)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

but it certainly seems to fit. This OS won't be released for a year yet, and already it's got it's first fanboy.

PhilippeV
PhilippeV

No, open-source does not magically make a product better. But Google Chrome OS was attack on the aspect of legality, when in fact everything in it will be replacable or even not installable at all if a user wishes so (and no need to ask for permission or get a specific licence). That's not the case in Windows (at least up to Windows 7 in EU where users will have the choice to install the IE browser GUI or something else, but in fact none of its associated renderers and HTTP, SSL or XML protocol libraries or IPv4/IPv6 protocol stacks that will be installed without question, and used directly by the system, notably by Windows Update; the IE ActiveX front-end control for apps will be there too, without making it a full browser with tabs or with workable navigation links that the apps must still trap when they are activated; a "Internet" control panel will be still there at least for managing the remote connection type or proxies and security settings and zones related to these components, even if there's no tab in this minimum panel for setting the default start page or search engines or for the optional IE rendering plugins or for handling the browser's page cache and stored cookies or history) The argument was that if Microsoft was attacked in forcing the installation and use of IE on Windows, Google should not be allowed to install an OS with its browser. but in fact the OS already exists publicly (only the set of features that will be part of it in its distribution is not known precisely, and possibly the set of specific Googl-made services that will be added to it to make the Google Chrome work). Almost all these components already exist and are already open-sourced (with most of their code actually not written by Google itself, but by lots of independant contributors). The only major difference is that it will take the form of a distribution that will be supported directly by Google (and also by its partner OEM manufacturers), because Linux itself is provided without support (users have to install and maintain it themselves or collaborate together to get this maintenance). But all users (or even the OEM manufacturers) will still have the possibility to customize the set of features (the modified components becoming then unsupported officially by Google itself). Google will have no way to force users or manufacturers to use only components from its distribution, or for them to not remove or modify some of them. As Google promisses full open-source, the fear of being monitored by the giant for everything will be irrational, and nothing more will happen to users if they opt to use another online search service or even if they install a Microsoft-built add-on for Google Chrome OS, such as the SilverLight client or a MSSQL connector for Google Gear (desktop apps)... that Google may even choose to support as well if they are useful for the user experience with the web. I think that this evolution of the browser is natural, because users don't only want an online experience but want longer term conservation of data and access to it when they are also offline without an active session with a server: that's where Google has created its Gear addon that is basically an intermediate connector and isolation mechanism between the desktop local storage and the online data, allowing offline access to the remote data that can be cached and used later. The so called "vaporware" that you are describing is in fact what Microsoft is currently selling in Windows 7 (already Microsoft has dropped some promissed functionalities). Google OS is already existant and already has a long history (the most recent component being for now the browser that is already there, and the Google Update service which already exists and runs on Windows and will most probably work the same way in the new Google OS for netbooks). If your don't know what a Google OS can be, just look at the Google search appliances. Google is already experimented in managing the installation of remote systems owned by its customers and running in their own networks (including in private LANs). Look at how Google Chrome (the browser) is already updated on Windows and how fast it can be restarted in a way that is almost invisible for the user experience, as long as its functionalities (and APIs for existing plugins) remain stable. Effectively Google could want to monitor all user activities on the Internet and transmit or filter data received fro mthe internet according to its own marketing strategies. But it won't perform things that would violate the user consent (notably because this OS will connect to the Internet very often via an external router featuring firewall and logging facilities, that can see precisely what the system is spying and sending back to the Internet). After seeing what Microsoft is sending to its support servers when visiting various sites with IE, I'm now convinced that what Google sends to web sites is much more fair. In terms of data collected for profiling the advertizing distributed by websites using AdSense, Google in fact sends much less data than what other ad programs are wanting to know and track across sites with their permanent cookies (for example on this TechRepublic site with the cookie set by the "com.com" tracking network on which it is hosted)

adornoe
adornoe

You're in love with Google, aren't you? In your post, you never even once found fault with anything they do, and in the real world, people are increasingly becoming more fearful of the way Google gathers and uses personal information from those that use Google's services, especially the search engine. On a side point, and I mean no offense, you were very wordy and all over the place and with no real direction in your post. In other words, your post lacked any logical construction. I just looked for the main points you were trying to make and surmised from there. However, on the OS side of the argument, why is it that people think that just because an application is "open source" that its Okay to go ahead and bundle the browser with the OS? So, it's open source. Big deal! The great majority of the people, perhaps 99.9% out there, won't know or care about the "open source(ness)" of the OS. It will still be an OS and to the people who are not techies and can't tell the difference, if the browser is bundled with the OS (thin or not), it will still be doing the work of the OS just like the Windows OS. People won't care that its Linux based, or open-source, or thinly based, or not for profit. It will still be bundling. If it's meant as an internet OS to be used strictly for browsers, it is still an OS, even if "open source". What's to stop MS from creating a very thin version of Win7 or XP and then releasing it as an internet OS to be used strictly for browsing? As a matter of fact, it sound's like MS is already doing just that, and when they release their Chrome OS killer, there will be many Google lovers crying foul, and will accuse MS of anti-competitive practices, and will immediately start accusing MS of returning to their IE/OS bundling and monopolistic practices of the 90s. Just saying.... You know, as far as I'm concerned, I don't care about either one. I don't have a dog in this fight. I'm just looking at the overall argument and seeing the MS haters having a ball with this OS news from Google which, as of today, is still vaporware from Google. But, those same people fail to look at the reality of the situation and conclude that, when it comes to OSes, MS has a huge lead on Google and "anything Google can do, they can do better". Fair warning.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

originally. The first few ads(if there even was an ad) dealt almost solely with internet usage. They have changed their approach now, but originally, I don't think anyone saw this coming.