Google’s VP of Product Management Sundar Pichai (pichai is a Tamil word meaning to beg) extends his marketshare/mindshare begging bowl again with yet another DOA project – Chrome OS, an operating system targeted initially at netbooks and over time at the larger desktops as well.
Netbooks are small form-factor DVD-less laptops with superior battery-life and are targeted primarily for light use applications such as browsing, e-mail and blogging although given the Windows XP OS on many of these widgets they can be used for other purposes as well.
In a blog post last night, Pichai and a co-worker describe Google Chrome OS as an open source, lightweight operating system with a Linux kernel.
Google plans to open-source the Chrome OS code later this year and netbooks running the new operating system are supposed to be available from multiple companies. Target date – second half of 2010.
Pichai et al write in their post:
Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds.
Chrome OS is being designed to run on both x86 on ARM processors. Expect Chrome OS to run within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.
Google’s promising all web-based applications will automatically work on Chrome OS and new applications can be written using popular web technologies.
Interestingly, Google’s Android OS used in some mobile phones from carriers like T-Mobile, is also targeted at netbooks. Go figure this confusion.
What We Think
Chrome OS is not going to go anywhere.
Windows XP is the OS currently preferred for netbooks from vendors like Asus and Acer and by most consumers.
Unlike Windows Vista, the older Windows XP is a more robust, stable, tested and less-resource hungry operating system.
Of course,Windows XP also has another big advantage in the gazillion applications written for it.
Say what you will but Linux has not found favor with consumers at all. Zilch on both the desktop and laptop. If you think Windows is bad, Linux in its current state is infinitely worse for consumers with driver issues and non-availability of popular applications on this open source OS.
We’d be surprised if even 0.01% of consumers run Linux as their principal OS on desktops or laptops.
Unlike Google’s search engine, Gmail or AdWords, which served a need for better quality, more storage and text ads linked to search terms respectively, Chrome OS like some of Google’s recent products like Android or the Chrome browser have no compelling advantage over the competition leading consumers to show them the middle finger.
Most likely, these duds were launched because some Google pichakaran couldn’t think of a better product or just to needle Microsoft in a psychological battle.
Remember, before the marketshare battle can be won the mindshare battle has to be won.
Mandate to Release Duds
Back to Sundar Pichai.
It seems Google’s resident pichakaran has a mandate to launch at least one dud product a year.
This year it’s the Chrome OS.
Wonder what dud this Google pichakaran has in store for us in 2010?