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Google Chrome OS is coming

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

Today Google announced that they are working on their own, much rumoured, operating system. This is a natural progression as they move from world conquering search engine to web app builder. Undertaking such a project can only promote their other services, much like Microsoft proved with Office and Internet Explorer, even if an EU court decided this wasn’t in the best interest of the people (yet that’s another argument completely).

The general view of the news seems to be fairly divided with the pro Google on one side and pro Windows on the other. But it doesn’t just come down to if you think Vista is the worst thing since an Middle East dictator, there’s more to consider.

Designed for Netbooks

One of the details clearly expressed in all the news articles released since the announcement was that the new OS would first appear on Netbooks. This is a rather shrewd move from the search giant.

Many complain about how Microsoft’s operating systems can be unstable when compared to is competitors, but Windows has always had to operate with potentially millions of different hardware configurations and the drivers that support that hardware. No other OS can boast this interoperability. Linux on one side lacks the support of hardware manufacturers in creating drivers and Apple are able to design their operating systems around a handful of hardware setups (remember how big a deal it was when Intel chips went into Mac’s).

Google knows to create an operating system to suit all the hardware available and to get the hardware manufacturers on board will be a difficult task. That’s why they’ve chosen the Netbook route. Unlike Laptop and Desktops a Netbook is not built with upgrading in mind. Very few will ever see any new hardware throughout their lifespan, this means Google can create an OS safe in the knowledge it will work with that hardware.

“Don’t be Evil”

It’s long been my view that Google’s guiding motto has long since been true for Google as they continue to dominate not only online search but the whole Internet.

Is it long until Google have a monopoly over all our online activities?

Already so many of us are at the mercy of Google; small changes to their algorithm or a flag against black hat SEO techniques could see a website drop or disappear from the listings and with that a company’s whole business, all in a matter of minutes.

Google is a household name, rightly so as they still provide the best search engine on the net. But for many of us our relationship with Google doesn’t end there. There’s Anayltics, Adsense, Mail and Docs; so much information about us it’s staggering.

Now with a browser and a operating system on the horizon Google could track our every movement…. if they wanted. Of course given the precedent Phorm has set recently I’m sure Google would not be so inclined to track us too closely. Yet to depend on Google so completely makes me uncomfortable so I like to spread things out a little.

Windows 7

All of Google’s efforts however may just be too late. If the announcement was made a couple of years ago as so many Vista customers were looking to reinstall Windows XP it’s possible many would have found a Google OS a tempting alternative. Personally I never had any issues with Vista but then again I’m a sucker for a pretty UI and a Snipping Tool.

Yet feedback so far on Windows 7 (which I have used myself) is fairly positive, and with its 2009 release date it could recoup a lot of doubters even before Google’s OS hits the shelves. Even then Google’s offering will be far from ready as it works through months of teething problems and becomes as stable and feature rich as Windows. Though if Android is any indication they may just be able to pull it off.