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Google Chrome OS Not To Compete With Microsoft

When first Google announced about Google Chrome OS that will used by Hewlett-Packard and Acer on they latest Netbooks. It seems that Google wants to compete Microsoft on the OS battle, because most people seem to assume that the Chrome operating system is intended to replace Windows on personal computers, and that it will be a failure if it doesn’t. 

Many people also believe that Google is either off its rocker in jumping into operating systems or doing it out of spite for Microsoft. Although Google may well be overreaching here, and it faces many challenges in creating and getting support for a new operating system, I think those assumptions are largely flawed.

Essentially, Google is attempting to create an operating system tuned to the needs of the Post-PC Age, as my former colleague Richard Brandt, author of the book Inside Larry and Sergey’s Brain, puts it. That age has not arrived yet, and it may not arrive completely for a long time, but the trend is apparent: People increasingly are doing more and more of their work online, for which they don’t need or want the cost and performance overhead of a traditional PC operating system. That goes double for the vast majority of people around the world who have no PC at all—and something cheap beyond a cell phone that gives them the full experience of the Web would open up a vast new population of Web users.

First of all, let's put to rest the notion that Google expects to replace Windows, at least anytime soon. "It's not a direct assault on Windows at all," says Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett. "Chrome OS will be streamlined and tuned for interacting with online services and the personal cloud."

So if all you want to do is get online to browse the Web, check email, view video, tweet or update your Facebook page, edit some online documents, buy a book from Amazon.com--and think about it, that's a lot of what we do on a PC today--you get online in a few seconds and just go. If you work on a plane or use a Windows application like Word, go ahead and boot that up just like you can do on a Mac outfitted with Parallels. "I just want my s--t to run," says Dan Florio, developer of the iPhone app RunPee. "Chrome OS is sounding like the right idea."

Viewed in this light, Google's decision to create an operating system seems like a pretty obvious thing to do. In fact, you'd almost have to say they'd be kind of stupid not to do it, given the direction of user behavior and the advance of technologies that enable more and more online-only work. "The world is hungry for innovation on the operating system," says Sebastien de Halleux, cofounder and COO of the social gaming developer Playfish. "This is coming at the right time."

This is all assuming Google can pull it off. This clearly won't be easy, or Google wouldn't have announced it a year in advance and called for the help of outside developers. But it may be somewhat simpler than it looks. For one thing, it's building the OS atop a Linux "kernel," or foundation. So it doesn't have to reinvent everything, just leverage what already has been created.

Such existential concerns are real, as one prominent Googler, Matt Cutts, acknowledged. But the fact remains that Google continues to face an aggressive Microsoft that requires it to think outside the search box. Microsoft's new search engine Bing, let's not forget, is the default search engine for its industry-leading Internet Explorer browser.

And if Microsoft responds by fighting back and making sure Windows works better for online applications (thus preventing Chrome OS from getting a foothold), that can only help Google as the key economic beneficiary of anything that makes the Web more useful.
Sure the battle will always continuing, but still it's a risky step that's been taken by Google. But it's more riskier if Google didn't take the lead.


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