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Is Google Chrome the Future of Operating Systems?

Is Google Chrome the Future of Operating Systems?

Andreas Krebs | All Covered

July 31, 2009

Pit one giant against another and it will be hard not to be affected by what is happening. Such was the case when Google announced that the company would develop its own brand of operating system. The OS, which will be available in the second half of 2010, is seen as a challenge to Microsoft. It will be a clash of the titans, but should your business be concerned about this new trend in computer operating systems?

What is Google Chrome OS?

With its own brand of operating system, Google is seen to be gunning for Microsoft’s bread and butter. Software development and production has been the No. 1 source of income for Microsoft. If Google enters the OS field, a stiff encounter is likely to happen.

It will be unavoidable. After all, Google has been responsible for the downward slide of Microsoft’s shares in online search and revenues. Google also has its Google Chrome browser, which strives to be everything that Microsoft Internet Explorer is not. Will the battle for OS supremacy be next?

The Google Chrome OS is envisioned to be a lightweight operating system that promises to start up and get users on the Internet in a few seconds. The Official Google Blog said the OS will target netbooks first when it comes out next year, and will be made available for enterprise computing solutions in succeeding releases of the software.

Here is what’s at the core of the Google Chrome OS:

• The operating system will be free and open source, and built on top of a Linux kernel.

• It will run on both x86 and ARM chips.

• Applications that run on Google Chrome OS will do so through any standard browser like Apple’s Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox, among others.

• Google Chrome OS is separate from Android (Google’s OS for phones, hand-held devices, and set-top boxes).

OEM manufacturers like Acer, Adobe, Asus, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba are working with Google to build devices installed with the OS.

Should You Rethink What OS You Should Be Using?

The arguments raised by Google in developing a new OS rely heavily on the Web usage data that the company has. Google contends that people are using more and more web applications because of the convenience they provide.

Users “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,” the Official Google Blog says. “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.”

“The desktop mail client could be replaced by Gmail,” the blog adds, “the office suite has lightweight alternatives: Google Docs and Zoho, it makes more sense to use an online feed reader, your scientific calculator is less powerful than Wolfram Alpha and you’ll rarely need a video player when you have YouTube, Hulu and other video sites.”

Because the OS will “take user experience on the Web” instead of offline, it is expected that Google-powered computers will be faster and its operations will be optimized. This may seem like a good idea, but is certainly not new since there are many open-source operating systems that are already doing what the Google Chrome OS is designed to do.

Karmic Koala, for example, has an average boot time of 10 seconds. It is the latest version of Ubuntu and is fast becoming popular. More and more computer users are using this open-source OS because of the speed and flexibility that it offers. Another free OS, Moblin, is a widely used mobile operating system developed by Intel for netbooks. The list goes on.

The computing world is not limited to Microsoft and PC. There are business and home users alike, who run an open-source system. If this is where Google is taking the future of computer use, is it time to rethink the technology you are using in your business?

For more information about open-source systems and how your business can benefit from them, please visit or call 1-866-446-1133.