Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Why Google Chrome operating system won't be a Success

Well Google has released the preview of its chrome operating system [OS] and also shared the source code with developers. Google made the early code of Chrome OS available to the open source community and claims external developers will have the same access to the code as internal Google developers. The Google chrome OS is meant for Net books which are seen dominantly as secondary computers. The great part in this announcement is that this will lead to entry of Google into the operating system market which is very much dominated by Microsoft followed by Apple. Though it’s too early to comment on the success of the Google chrome OS as it is about to ship in 2010 however the best part is that its business design is Cloud based. Almost all you user data will be on Google cloud or web for example, Gmail, Google Apps, you tube, orkut, messengers, picassa, twitter, online songs blah blah.

Chrome OS will run with a Linux kernel as its base which will boot directly into the Chrome Web browser and is aimed primarily at netbooks which will run on both x86 and ARM processors. It will not be designed to have local storage; all data will be stored in the cloud. Google will not entice developers to build software to run on the Chrome OS; instead, they want them to build Web apps that will run on any standards-based browser. The three most important features will be “speed, simplicity and security,” according to Google. Announced Chrome OS hardware partners: Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba. Netbooks running Chrome OS will be available in the second half of 2010.

 The best part here is that Google is providing chrome OS for free which means you don’t have to pay anything for it except the net book price. Google claims that chrome will boot up in few seconds and users will be ready to browse the web in much lesser time as compared to netbooks which will be using windows XP or windows 7 which is true but what Google does not highlight is that the netbooks meant for Google chrome will be costlier as they will require solid state hard drives [something like flash drives]. Another drawback is that as these hard drives are much costlier they will only provide small capacity hard drive [very less data can be kept on local machine] so chances will be very less that you can put windows XP or windows 7 on your chrome net book if you ever wanted to switch the sides [ vendor lock-in].

Another point that Google makes is that users need to worry about software updates as in case of windows operating systems. Well Microsoft operating systems can also be put on automatic update so that’s not something new. For more details on Google chrome security model, please check here : http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=4969

Google says that users need not to worry about the data on their machines. That’s obvious because you hardly will be keeping any data on your netbooks, most of the data will be at Google data centers. What Google misses out is that what about users private data which they won’t like to keep on web for the obvious reasons.

I personally believe that Google Chrome would not be very successful and here are the reasons:

  • Bad market timing : Windows 7 and Apple’s snow leopard would have consumed the market by mid 2010.
  • Vendor/Hardware lock-in : Users will have to get specific hardware to install Chrome OS on netbook.
  • Data privacy : Users would not like to store their personal and private data on google cloud.
  • No cost benefit to user : Though Chrome OS will be provided free of cost, the hardware used to run chrome OS will be costlier than today’s netbook.
  • Net books backlash : This factor is common to all operating system vendors of netbooks but effect google the most because of its timing. The consumer backlash against netbooks has already begun and by the time we see Chrome OS netbooks from Google’s hardware partners in the second half of 2010, the net book phenomenon will either have retreated into the background or morphed into something better. And then Google will have to scramble to make Chrome OS available on a wider variety of notebook computers, as well as on netbooks which will be a big chalenge for google as their OS model is web based. Net books are very low end machines and can be best used in education sector and not really as business machines. Infact they are more of a secondary machine, you are expected to have a primary machine. The biggest drawback of chrome OS is that all apps will be web based and you wont be able to insall applications on your own machine easily. Netbooks are terrible and a lot of consumers regret buying them (verified by a recent NPD survey http://gigaom.com/2009/06/23/as-small-notebooks-netbooks-largely-dash-expectations/ )

  • Restriction to web Apps : Users will not ne able to install native non web Apps that they use everyday and Google is only promoting Web based Apps.

However it would be interesting to see Brand name of Google behind Linux entry to desktops. But if Google really wants to emerge in this market it has to go beyond the netbooks. Hope you find this interesting and thanks for your time. 



No comments:

Post a Comment