Google just announced that they will release next year Chrome OS, an Operating System dedicated to access the Internet and all the services available on the network. This OS will be based on a Linux kernel and of course on Chrome web browser. It will run on x86 and ARM architectures. There are reasons to rejoice and reasons to be frighten.
3 Reasons to hope
- This OS may create the momentum around Linux that has always missed. The consumer awareness of Linux is very low and Linux is perceived as complex, i.e. an OS for geeks. People will realize with Chrome OS that Linux is mature and supports nearly any hardware without hassle.
- Chrome OS seems to be the proper OS which was missing for the ‘smartbook’ segment. The smartbook segment, netbooks based on an ARM processor, was missing a laptop OS: Android was too much smartphone oriented and Microsoft doesn’t want to port any Windows on ARM. >> see previous post
- Manufacturers will now consider Linux as a standard platform and drivers will flourish shortening the time between hardware release and Linux drivers availability
3 Reasons to fear
- End user will be bound to the Google experience, backing-up data on Google servers opening even more its personal data to the advertisement giant
- Microsoft business model is quite simple, the software has a price tag. The data is your property. In the case of Google, the value is in the analysis of your personal data for advertisers. Hence one can expect to get pinpointed by ads anytime and anywhere.
- Google is raiding Open Source softwares to build up its OS. Google needs in return to contribute to the community with some improvements.
And what if your next computer offers you the choice of the OS when booting up? I’m pretty sure Microsoft Windows 7 contract with OEM won’t permit it.
Now, let’s wait more leaks from Google to get the details and make up our minds. Anyway it won’t be a blitz krieg, the new battle for the connected netbook OS will be long.