Super, I’ll take that new computer with little-to-no functionality
Today, Google finally announced on their blog that it will be going to war with Microsoft, Apple, and Linux by releasing their own Operating System. There have been rumors and speculation about Google building their own Operating System for years now, so this in not really any big news.
What actually is news (to me any way) is that they are basing this new Windows/Mac killer on their Chrome browser. This had to make the folks in Redmond and Palo Alto breath a sigh of relief.
What exactly is the selling point of this new OS?
We have nearly no features
New computers, now with half of the usefullness
Computer – Functionality = Elegance
Thanks, but no thanks. Have you seen the Chrome browser? What does it do that’s any good? It doesn’t any of the cool features that Firefox fanboys brag about. None of the cool ideas that Opera features right out of the box. It doesn’t have the polish or flair of Safari on a Mac. Before you say, “At least it’s better than Internet Explorer”, that’s almost a moot point. First of all, I’m not convinced of that (I.E. 8 any way). Second, anyone who is either too lazy, in the dark, or boring to still use Internet Explorer will NEVER switch to some bleeding edge operating system.
What is the hallmark “feature” of a the Chrome browser? Simplicity, cleanliness, speed? What does all of that crap even mean? It doesn’t have extensions. I know, I know it sort of has some jive-ass extenstions that are a headache to hack together. I mean real extensions that just install in a few clicks and provide “real” gamechanging enhancements.
Is this what their operating system is going to be like. None of the ubiquity of Windows and none of the polish of MacIntosh. Buying and renaming a rabble of applications (Picasa and Google Earth), and services (Blogger, YouTube, and Voice) is not the same as building an integrated, useful operating system. Microsoft, Apple, and Linux have been at this thing for decades and there are a million annoying things about each of their offerings. How exactly is Google’s product going to be a usable computing experience?
First of all, I use and love a ton of Google’s products, so I do think that they can build, buy, and/or steal some great stuff. Second, I can see a way in which they can possibly make a thin client that floats on top of a linux kernal. They could bundle some of their existing and future desktop applications with the build. Then, they could embed heavy hooks into their own (and other people’s) web applications and services. If anyone can tie this all together into a usable, if not minimalist package it just might be Google. But I would bet against it.
One More Thing
The previous scenario that I just mentioned already exists. It’s called an iPhone. If Apple get’s a hint of any possible success for this type of thing, they’ll slap a keyboard and bigger screen on an iPod touch in about 10 seconds.
In summation, starting from scratch with a small toolbox and trying to take down three goliaths who have decades of experience, millions of hours of code, and about a TRILLION dollars of a warchest does not seem like a recipe for success.