Google Chrome OS – Boon or Bust?

chrome
Google Chrome

Google recently announced their intentions for launching Google Chrome OS (Operating System).  According to their blog release, the Google Chrome Operating System will first be targetted at Netbook users. Google plans to release their code to Open Source later this year, and make it available commericially in 2010.

On their official blog, Google asks for help from the open source community to accomplish their vision for a lightweight and easy to use Operating System that does not ‘get in the way’ of users.

Pundits will debate the significance of this ambitious release and its timing to coincide with Microsoft’s new Windows 7 OS.  As the established Search Engine leader, Google in recent years has competed for the desktop user on many other fronts.

Google Talk was released in 2005 as an instant messenger client and was tightly integrated with their email service GMail.  According to Comscore reports, Google Talk is still in distant 4th place behind MSN Messenger, Yahoo, and AOL-AIM.

Their Gmail service, although widely regarded as a superior online email tool, is in 3rd place in usage behind Microsoft’s Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail.

Google’s internet browser, Google Chrome, sits in 4th place with a meager 1.8% market share behind the venerable Microsoft Internet Explorer (65%), Firefox (22%), and Apple’s Safari (8%).  Browser Statistics Source

Google Chrome OS – Starting on the right foot?

What we do know about the Chrome OS is that it will be based on the Linux Kernel, and that the user interface will be minimal, coinciding with the Google Chrome Browser. Google will be working with many OEM’s to integrate their netbooks with the new OS.

Google vs. Microsoft or vs. the Linux Community?

Most of the media have concentrated on the impact Google Chrome OS may have on the ever-present Microsoft Windows.  Depending on deals made between Google and major PC manufacturers, we may see new laptops in 2010 being offered with Chrome OS pre-installed instead of Windows.

In a down economy, users may be looking for ways to save money and the Google OS, to be offered free, will ostensibly save on the licensing costs for Windows.  However, as the numbers above indicate, Google does not have a great track record in wooing mass-market PC users to their non-search engine products.

I think that in the months after the first release of Chrome OS, the first users most likely to give it a try will come from the Linux community.  Microsoft is still very entrenched as the default OS.  As far as the Linux community is concerned, even with the plethora of new versions and flavors of Linux being released on a monthly-basis, the competition has served to fortify the community as a whole.

Google’s Chrome OS may finally bring Linux to the forefront as a mainstream viable alternative to Microsoft.  It may not cut away at Microsoft’s stranglehold, but the Linux community will thrive.  If that happens, the biggest winners in this effort will be Linux users.

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/introducing-google-chrome-os.html

Tech News Roundup – June 26, 2009

Microsoft Windows 7 to be cheaper than Vista

But still more expensive than Linux…

Who Exactly Is In Charge Of The App Store? Anyone?

Apple’s iPhone app store featured a soft-pornography app yesterday. Today, that app was removed, which everyone presumed was a move by Apple.  Do they have someone monitoring new apps as they’re included by vendors?  If Apple didn’t before, they will now…

Palm CEO: We Don’t Have to Beat Each Other to Prosper

That’s a sensible approach.  That’s usually, however, the comments of a loser.  You never hear Microsoft or Google saying, “we’ll be content to be number two in that market”.  As Tom Arnold said in the classic scene of the Austin Powers movie, “You show him who’s number two!”…

Google Voice: 5 Reasons to Use It, 5 Reasons to Think Twice

Universal Voicemail.

Facebook Tightens Privacy Controls

A beta version of Facebook’s publisher gives users more control over who can see their content.  The first thing I do when checking out a potential contractor or business relationship is to check their Facebook and Linked In profiles.

Security Essentials Does Its Job With No Frills

Yet another anti-virus package thrown into the forray.   Microsoft had 75,000 beta tester downloads on the first day.  Evidently, the world is still looking for the magic box.  MSE, (Microsoft Security Essentials) will surely be a driving force since Microsoft, more than any other vendor, has the inside track of understanding how viruses affect their products.  I’d like to see time tests once they’re out of beta to compare with Norton (which terminally slows down every Windows installation I’ve ever had).

Mozilla Adds Third Firefox 3.5 RC Version

The browser wars are heating up.  I’ve been testing Opera and Google Chrome (and Chromium in Linux Beta) in my lab and have been very happy with their performance.   More on that later…

New Vista PC buyers to get free upgrade to Windows 7

Microsoft listens to Market Concerns

A day after announing a 50% pre-release sale on Windows 7,  Microsoft is now offering a free upgrade from Vista to Windows 7 for purchases made until the expected October release.  Information Week Article

Read our Review of Windows 7 Ultimate Here
Microsoft Store

5 Reasons Why the World Still Uses Windows – Can Linux Ever Catch Up?

The world still uses Windows.  Where did Linux go wrong?  Can it be corrected?

Let’s throw out the Linux evangelical hat for the moment.  The fact is, despite the growth in installed Linux OS on servers and some low end desktops,  most of the world still is still using Windows.  Where has the Linux failed so far?  If the Linux argument is so strong then why has the majority of the world stayed with Microsoft Windows?

Reasons why Windows still wins

1. Pain vs. Simplicity. The perceived value of Linux as a general desktop solution isn’t there yet.  The average computer user is still very non-computer literate.  They want to go with what they know.  A computer for most users is a means to an end.  A place to check email, browse the web, maybe work on some spreadsheets, and use whatever software their work installed and trained them to use.  Linux is perceived still as the painful solution.  The OS that requires guys with pocket protectors to stand next to you while you install and make sure everything turns out ok.

2. Linux has too many flavors, too many options. For most desktop users, there’s one Windows choice.  XP begat Vista, which will beget Windows 7.  That’s it.  Meanwhile, there are many dozens of Linux distro choices each with several desktop environment options, and a seemingly never-ending list of possible apps to install.  True, Ubuntu and Suse have done alot to dispel the Linux is a geek’s game only notion.  Top-shelf open source products like Open Office, Firefox, Gimp, and Thunderbird, to name a few, have made open source mainstream.  Still, there’s a lot of work to be done in bringing all the myriad of options to a more standardized package to select.

3. There’s no CTO of Linux. Linux has many chiefs, but no executive chiefs.  There’s no single person, or even body, that’s taking the responsiblity of charting the strategic course of Linux as an OS.  Yes, there are major organizations like KDE that do have standards, and of course many will argue that’s the whole point of Linux, no corporate body to man-handle the direction.  But maybe that’s what Linux needs.  We are all off in so many neat directions, but there’s not a cohesive mainstream.  Even within Ubuntu, the challenger for ‘head distro’, there is Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Xubuntu, etc…  Each of these sub-distros act like separate bodies.  They even have their own websites.

4. Quality vetting of programs on Windows vs. Linux  – I’m not kidding.  Yes, Microsoft is the major abuser of releasing beta code as a finished product.  But so does the Linux crowd.  Let’s face it, there are many programs in Linux that simply don’t work with all the appliances or hardware that you have installed.  Windows, with it’s closed-source  SDK gives developers one framework with which to develop on.  The level of quality from one app on a distro to another can vary greatly.  Whereas on Windows, they all more or less are at the same level of quality.

5. OEM Software – Why does the iPhone kick every other smartphone on the market?  Because they have 50,000 (and counting) software apps developed to work on it.   When you buy a scanner, camera, printer, or any other peripheral, what are the chances that included with the device will be a Linux version of their proprietary software?  When a consumer buys a Nikon Camera, or a Canon Scanner, they want to use Nikon’s or Canon’s software that came with the box.  It’s part of the cognitive dissonance of afirming that the right product was purchased.  You and I know that Linux can most-likely handle everything that these OEM apps do, and sometimes better (Kooka rocks),  still 90% of the computer users out there don’t want to hassle.

What can be done?  In my next instalment, I’ll offer some suggestions.  Please share your thoughts and comments as well.

Today’s Top Technology Stories – June 25

Today’s top stories with TechExposure’s unique commentary.

US urges China to scrap Internet filter plan

China presses on with its plans to monitor every piece of information passing thru Chinese computers.  Can anyone say “Big Brother”?

Microsoft Has Big Plans for Power-saving Tools

Microsoft’s $9 billion research unit is coming up with ways to save our planet from climate change caused by greenhouse gasses, which is in no small part due to our computers being left on all day long.  How

Upgrading to the iPhone 3G S

There’s a few interesting threads in the papers today regarding the value of an iPhone and the sum of its parts.   Are you still confused?

ZeniMax Media Buys id Software, Maker of Doom [and Quake]

Further consolidation of the gaming industry as one big gaming company buys another.  It’s a good thing that industry hasn’t figured out they could go to congress and ask for bailouts.  Hey, there are probably thousands of programming jobs at risk here.

LG Elec aims to sell up to 5 mln LED TVs in 2010

US approves import ban on some Sharp TVs, displays

Did we read that headline correctly?  5 Million TVs!  What ever happened to USA TV Manafucterers like Zenith?  Remember their slogn, “the quality goes in before the name goes on”?  It’s no wonder that the US is starting to aggressive in its trade restrictions.

Google Opens adsense For Mobile Applications

Now developers of mobile ads can bake in Google Adsense ads.  The hegemony continues!

Microsoft Security Essentials Beta Reaches Max Downloads

Remember when “Microsoft Security” was considered a oxymoron?    According to their website, the Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) Beta reached 75,000 downloads in less than 24 hours.

Kayak to Bing: Stop Copying Us!

More on the Microsoft front.  Kayak, the multi-airline fare checker has a nice looking website.  They claim that the folks at Microsoft Bing like it so much, they copied it.  Look here – Source: Wired News:

Palm Pre Reaches 1 Million Apps Mark

Palm is vying for the “Avis award”, they try harder (but they’re still number two)

Fortune 100 CEOs are Social Media Laggards

File this one in the ‘duh’ department.   Fortune Magazine reports that of the 100 CEOs interviewed, none are maintaining a blog, and only two have a Facebook page.

Boxee Adds Windows Alpha, MLB.com Partnership

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better for online-tv viewing,  open-source Boxee platform who already aggregated content from CBS, Hulu, MTV, Netflix, The WB and more, has announced, along with its Windows release, new content from Digg, Current, MLB.  It’s great to be living in the Open-source age.  Now, let’s get everyone over to Linux…