Chrome OS

Discussion in 'PC Hardware, Software and Displays' started by Arwin, Jul 8, 2009.

?

Hot?

Poll closed Jan 4, 2010.
  1. Yes

    24 vote(s)
    40.7%
  2. No

    35 vote(s)
    59.3%
  1. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
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    Google just announced Chrome OS, a Linux based OS that runs applications in a browser similarly to running them online, so that applications written for it work on both browsers on regular PCs and Chrome OS, except that the latter will be a fully integrated, light weight OS with tight security.

    See also the official announcement:

    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/

    I think it's cool. One interesting point though: in Europe Microsoft is forced to release Windows 7 without Internet Explorer, so that the user can choose his own browser. What if they demand the same from Chrome OS ... can you even solve that issue here, considering how integrated they are?

    Google Apps is also out of beta today. (the site says: Yes, really! lol)
     
  2. Karoshi

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    When GoogleOS has a 90+% market share then the EC will act.
     
  3. willardjuice

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    No when the EC needs more money they will act. :razz:

    As for the OS itself, who would use this outside ultraportable netbooks (that’s not redundant, I’m talking about the really small/cheap netbooks)? If you're on a desktop/laptop/”higher-end netbooks”, why not just get Ubuntu/Fedora + the Chrome browser. Congratulations, you now have all the benefits of Chrome OS without the silly limitations.
     
    #3 willardjuice, Jul 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2009
  4. Scott_Arm

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    I don't really understand this product, or why it is necessary. What benefit does it provide to anyone over just running Chrome within Windows, OSX or Linux?

    It seems more limiting than anything because you can't run any of the native apps that make Windows, OSX and Linux so great. But all Chrome "apps" will be able to run on Windows, OSX and Linux. I guess it works for the netbooks like they're initially targetting. If all you want is a little web enabled PC, and that's all you'll ever use it for, then maybe Chrome OS would be fine and cheap and fast. I'm not sure how it will expand from there.

    In all seriousness, iTunes will be a huge barrier for ChromeOS to ever get traction. Everyone that owns an iPod or iPhone uses iTunes, and that's A LOT of people. And then pick all your specialty programs for programming, photography, word processing and you lose another huge group of people.
     
  5. Lux_

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    Build it, and they will come ;).
    If it fulfills the main promise: online in a couple of seconds, then all the apps will follow. Don't forget: Google already has Native Client, which runs x86 code in the browser (PDF presentation). So all loose ends are coming together.
     
    #5 Lux_, Jul 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2009
  6. Mize

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    I think people are underestimating Google. A light, tight webOS on a linux kernel could be fast and flexible (think DVRs, nav systems, etc.) and Google is pretty tight with apple in spite of Android so I wouldn't be shocked if iTunes came to ChromeOS in some form.

    More importantly this is a Google response to Bing that puts a serious heavyweight on the linux side of Microsoft's ambitions to legislatively kill open source. As good as Fedora and Ubuntu are, RedHat and Canonical have nowhere near the strength - in branding and in cash - that Google has.

    Finally, the next big demographic for PCs are people who don't game, don't do "serious" work and don't want to know the difference between FAT32, NTFS or ext3. They want to organize photos and videos and surf the web on the most dumbed-down and intuitive HMI available. That's not Ubuntu, Win7 or even OSX.
     
  7. Scott_Arm

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    I can't imagine I'll ever see a version of iTunes for Chrome OS, but I could be massively wrong on that.

    Didn't know about Native Client. Seems pretty cool and makes Chrome OS a lot more compelling.
     
  8. 3dilettante

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    I find the potential of this simultaneously interesting and discomfiting.

    For whatever threat Microsoft poses, its domain of control is pretty well-defined at this point.

    Google's purview, should it take on Microsoft and win, would be much wider.

    The OS player would be the dominant net advertiser, dominant search engine, and if it has its way would be the dominant aggregator of public domain content and news.

    Microsoft's arrogance and paranoia has been displayed before.
    Some Google executive statements don't show paranoia, but instead an inability or refusal to see the dangers posed by the influence it accumulates, and its apparent resentment of any situation where Google is not given blind faith.

    Microsoft might be devilish, but the new player has a God complex.
     
  9. rpg.314

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    This is waaaaay too odd even for google. They typically release a product and iterate it to death. Just like the release early, release often in open source world. What we have now is just a pronouncement.

    I think they get it. With a consumer product like that, you have just one shot to get it right. The first look has to dazzle the folks out there. Other wise, no amount of iteration will get it done. iTunes? Well, even if it manages to take up a non negligent market share, even then iTunes won't come to it. But since when has it bothered anyone on linux really. Ipods have worked pretty well on linux for a long time now.
     
  10. DemoCoder

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    You guys are missing the point. This is like Android, but for NetBooks. Android is essentially a Linux distribution optimized for mobile phones and uses Java as the application layer.

    Chrome OS is essentially a Linux distribution optimized for NetBooks and uses Javascript (among others) as the application layer. It's like the Palm Pre OS but for NetBooks.

    The EC can't do anything about this anymore than they could sue someone if Linux got 90% marketshare, because it is not a product, it is (will be) an open source project, a Linux distro.

    As to why anyone would want this? Well, Google recognizes that for the vast majority of consumer computer users these days, web applications are the primary use. This might seem heresy to hardware junkies, who want top CPU performance, and to run high performance applications and games, but really, the bulk of the market and money is in casuals.

    Google even has a solution for 3D and x86 code in the browser, it's called O3D and NativeClient. These are built by the same team that did PeakStream which Google acquired.

    HTML5 + Gears + O3D + NativeClient is moving into the realm where it is good enough to mimic all but the highest performing applications, but with a web deployment and development model, which will appeal to far more developers and consumers.

    I'd say Google's strategy is sound here.
     
  11. obonicus

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    I'm not sure what sort of marketshare this will have, outside of techies. Otherwise, I agree completely with 3d.
     
  12. DemoCoder

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    The difference here 3d is, Google is essentially funding an open-source/open-spec platform that undermines proprietary operating systems. Google won't make any money (exclusively) directly from selling "Chrome OS" since anyone can download it, built it, and make their own distros. There is no government intervention to be taken. What would the Government intervention be, you can't give away a Linux distro and open source browser and open source Javascript libraries?

    The way Google benefits from this investment is to increase overall demand and usage for the web. The more time people spend on the web, the more Google benefits, since their model is about indexing web content and serving ads. More content = better index, more eyeballs spent longer on web (and not in MS Office apps) = more ad inventory.

    Google is playing the game a lot smarter than Microsoft, and its enemies in the past (Netscape, Sun, Oracle). Google has a cash flow from its web and ad operations that is its "proprietary" moat, if you will. They are highly aware of the perception of "evil" corporate actions in the past, and the backlash against Microsoft, which is why everything Google does these days is released for free.

    Android? Open Source
    GWT? Open Source
    NativeClient? Open Source
    O3D? Open Source
    V8? Open Source
    Chrome? Open Source
    Google Wave? Open Source
    OpenSocial? Open Source

    Google has over 70+ official API products, and about 100 more on code.google.com with full time employees working on them, and all of them are open.

    This massively undermines support for closed platforms (like MS and Adobe products), attracting developer mindshare, while at the same time insulating them from accusations of monopoly control.

    Google doesn't really have a God complex, they have a startup complex. They are awash in cash, and have a large number of very bright people, with nothing to do. There's only so many people who can work on Search and Ads. Internally, Google teams work like startups. Employees come up with an idea, pitch it, put together a cross-division team, and start to work on it. Some projects bubble up to the level of Larry and Sergey and get a big corporate push, many others simply appear as projects on code.google.com or labs.google.com It's not that Larry and Sergey start out with the question "how can we kill Microsoft and control the world!", its more like, a bunch of employees develop a kick-ass side project, which looks like it could have a disruptive influence, and they decide to give it more support.

    In fact, Google even supports projects that could disrupt their own products, as Google Wave for example, looks disruptive to the GMail team.
     
  13. suryad

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    Interesting post DemoCoder thanks for that.
     
  14. 3dilettante

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    Google's interests lie in marginalizing the autonomy of the PC, with respect to online (preferably Google) servers, not selling the OS.
    Although I'd expect that given Google's branding, massive wealth, and strong desire to insert itself in every crevice, the default path for most users would be going into the Google OS, using Google Chrome, to access Google Apps, check GMail, check Google News, Google Video, browse sites with Google Adsense.
    Any number of Google initiatives may have indeterminate logging times, dubious privacy polices, and a single overriding corporate interest.
    Google in this scenario is the largest non-governmental information access, computer application, data delivery, and data-logging entity on the planet.

    The old oligarchs of software and media are faltering, and there is one player very well-positioned to replace them.

    Remember who said not keeping search logs forever would lead to lost lives.
    The informal philosophy of "Don't be evil" can easily morph to "Can do no evil".

    Google's enthusiastic initiatives have the common thread that Google is pervasively involved.
    The software may be open-sourced, but thinking of monopoly in terms of application presence is Microsoft-era thinking.
    Google as an entity is setting itself up to have its tendrils throughout the information economy, from the point of use, the point of computation, data storage, commerce, communication, and news.
    Who will everyone talk to, whose channels?

    What's a greater threat of vendor lock-in at this point?
     
  15. DemoCoder

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    Google neither needs nor cares about all of the information having to be accessed through their servers, it only needs to be able to access it via its crawler. Google's AdSense network, which most websites use to get advertising bucks, is not dependent on hosting content on Google's servers. The only thing that is hosted is the search index. Google is quite happy to have you host the information yourself, as long as they can crawl it.

    As an example, Google's largest initiative recently is the 'reinvention of email', which is Google Wave. Google Wave is completely federated, like SMTP. Anyone will be able to get the source of a Wave server, host their own accounts, and even host private conversations between two servers without Google being in the loop.

    Also, they are able to pick up information about you through AdSense or Analytics, although in practice, Google's AdSense targeting is not behavior (based on tracking you) driven, but based on content. DoubleClick was based on behavioral tracking and traditional direct marketing techniques. The reason why AdSense works so well, is that the ads are served up based on the information you're looking at, not some kind of guess of what you desire based on knowing your age, gender, place of work, etc.

    The hysteria over data logging is ironic, because Google's whole success is based on an advertising model that targets content rather than user profiles.

    Well, as I pointed out, many of Google's initiatives do not mandate Google be involved. Anyone can download Android and remove all of the Google Apps integrations. Anyone can build their own version of Chrome that does not send a single packet of data to Google's network. Google Wave is federated and secure, and can be hidden completely from Google's crawler and logging.

    Google's tendrils via it's open source and open specification initiatives can only be maintained with public participation. It's all too trivial to remove them. In fact, Google's whole FCC Auction gambit was designed to ensure that people could install whatever they want on phones without being firmware locked, which actually undermines the ability for Google to control Android forks on devices.

    Let me just preface this with the fact that I have family members working for Google and I am privy to lots of internal discussions, as well as knowing lots of managers at Google due to prior working relationships. Googlers are practically indoctrinated from the point of hiring with "do no evil" culture run by a Department of Corporate Culture, that originates from the top down. People are encouraged to think how to engage the community, be open, and avoid lock in, which is why Google's products feature the lowest switching costs and lock-in of any company you'll find.

    It's all well and fine for you to speculate in the absence of information about internal corporate dialog, but as ridiculous as it sounds, Google is run internally in a very academic and idealistic way and until the recent economic crash, there wasn't even much talk of even finding ways to monetize most Google products. Employees were encouraged to spend 20% of their time on side projects.

    The company from my knowledge is not via traditional MBA-learned management techniques, but is more or less, a unique Silicon Valley creation. When you see Googler's pushing for these projects, think not about corporate planning at the top, but rather, idealistic young Stanford graduate employees who are religious about openness and bent on trying to change the world.

    (and in case you think this is naivete, every Friday, Google has a company wide video conference/town hall, in which any employee can directly ask Sergey or Larry questions, and you will find quite a number of contentious employees worried about evilness forced by recent economic conditions, by an overemphasis on trying to monetize users too much)
     
  16. Scott_Arm

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    Oh my god, they got to DemoCoder!
     
  17. willardjuice

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    There's a difference between having the potential and people actually writing applications for it. I'm sorry but I don't see mainstream applications being written for Chrome OS (I know I'm never going to). There's simply no reason one should use Chrome OS for a desktop/laptop (or even higher end netbooks). Even if you don't like Windows, why would you ever choose this over Ubuntu/Fedora + Chrome?
     
  18. DemoCoder

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    People are already writing applications for HTML/Javascript and HTML5. Personally, the only non-Web based productivity application I use is Apple Keynote. I don't use MS Word or Open Office anymore, I use online editors. I haven't used a native email client on my desktop in a long time. Even casual photo editing for people with digital cameras is moving online. I use Mint for Finance of MsMoney/Quicken.

    There are only two things I do on my desktop these days that I don't do in a browser: 1) my IDE and 2) play FPS games. Oh, and once in awhile, I edit video.

    I wouldn't want to edit video on a netbook anyway, and IMHO, notebooks/laptops suckass for gaming, I prefer to have an upgradable desktop. For me, notebooks/laptops are for precisely the kind of work I need to do when mobile, and not for sitting at home gaming.

    For many people, their daily computer use is:
    1) Search
    2) Reading content/Blogs
    3) Checking/Sending mail
    4) Twitter/Facebook/Myspace
    5) Some casual games

    When I switched from Windows to Mac, I hardly even noticed the loss of MS applications, since by that point, most of the stuff I was using was web based.

    My Windozes PC has essentially become a games console.
     
  19. rpg.314

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    You don't write apps for Chrome OS. You write them for the web. And they run identically on mac, mob, win, and lin. :)
     
  20. DemoCoder

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    Exactly! To be fair, there probably will be some chrome-specific APIs that access native code, probably Javascript extension methods are dealing with installation, creating desktop icons, authentication/authorization, using the local file system, and/or dealing special acceleration for some operations (like processing a RAW camera image)

    You can already see some of this in Google Gears, and no doubt, Chrome OS will replicate some of these functions into a browser plugin for Firefox/Safari.
     
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