Sometime in the next few months, the company is expected to release Chrome OS, a complete computer operating system, that will allow you to boot in seconds, access the Internet (as well as Google's cloud-based products).
With Chrome OS, Google is doing something that Microsoft often misses. They are re-entering an area where they've already 'played' publicly, at a point in time where it makes more sense.
Microsoft has missed this boat on numerous occasions, the most notable being Microsoft Reader, years ahead of it's time, which, if introduced last year, may have competed effectively with Amazon's Kindle, Barnes and Noble's Nook, Apple's iPad and other devices now competing and selling like hotcakes.
Back in April of 2008, I wrote about a small company working with Google and delivering a PC running a Googleized version of the Linux Operating System. Notably, that company is still around while similar attempts in the end-user Linux arena such as Jolicloud are getting much more press.
Many, back then, mistakenly took the gOS name as the Google Operating System. It actually stood for Green Operating System (and apparently is now a Linux build called the Good Operating System).
Google is expected to introduce the Chrome OS in the fourth quarter of this year and there have already been a variety of leaks pointing to hardware displaying the\product. Google also owns Android which is already a rapidly growing hit in the mobile market. One Google employee commented recently that, at some point, the two projects by Google will likely converge.
Over the past three months, I've been dual-booting Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux (the Linux build most often referred to publicly by Google employees) on 2 PCs. I enabled the Linux repository for proposed updates and immediately noticed that Linux has been releasing new kernels often, many with security updates.
Security in 'the cloud' is a HUGE concern and most recently saw Intel outright purchase PC security company McAfee.
Google's owns the ChromeOperatingSystem.com domain name but mysteriously it still has an early expiration date :
In order for Chrome OS to be a 'wild' hit, Google will need to not only introduce devices that they know will work but make a version that can be used on older PC's, Notebooks and Netbooks. They need to address 'superior graphics' to compete with Apple (and more recently Microsoft's Windows 7).
Low operating system overhead will allow many with moderate system resources to effectively stream video on moderate speed Internet connections.
This could actually replace Windows XP for lots of end-users.
Google is right on when they say most users now boot-up to go directly to the web. They could (finally?) make Linux a household name by branding a solid Chrome OS product with the Google name.
Will they do it ...... or choose to play in the 'dedicated devices' arena?
We'll have to wait and see.
If they don't, it's a good bet that the economic environment could see a whole new crop of Linux users and developers.
Ubuntu and others have created a much more user-friendly product in the past year.
Zero to Internet in seven seconds is already here. It's up to Google whether or not they want to own the lead in this important PC based arena.