I’ve been reading a lot about Google’s flagship OS lately, and if one is to believe all the hype, it will definitely give microsoft a run for it’s money.

Everywhere, news sites such as CNET, OSNews and Ars have been talking about the coming Google sponsored Operating System.  And since we’re talking about Google here, that alone says much about the current buzz about it.

But what is Chrome OS exactly?

For those of you folks who don’t know what this is, here is a snippet of information from the Official Google Blog:

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we’re already talking to partners about the project, and we’ll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.

So what’s the verdict?  Will Chrome OS replace Windows (or OSX, or even Desktop Linux) as a viable replacement?

I can give you an opinion right now of what I think of it… in the near future, not likely.

Here are the reasons why:

  1. It is tied to a specific platform.  I consider this as an “apple-lesque” feature.  Come on, Google has set it’s limits to a netbook spec based machine, and a limited one at that (no harddisk, only SSDs, a specific sized lcd monitor, a specified keyboard size, etc).  I remember Intel doing these on netbooks; you can only run the graphics card only up to a certain size and resolution.  It’s pathetic.
  2. The center of all activity is the browser.  What can you expect with Google?  Of course, all of the apps are tied up to the “cloud”, but what if I don’t want to use apps in the “cloud”?
  3. It is application lock-in heaven.  Think of it.  All data, all your preferences are stored in Google.  Admittedly, I use google services all the time, but with this setup, you are guaranteed of this lock-in.
  4. I like my gnome and kde apps.  I even like my games and applications in both Linux and Windows.  With the Google Chrome OS hardware spec requirements, I can only see netbooks coming with this OS installed as something of an internet appliance, nothing more.  I like my netbooks more featured, thank you.
  5. Third world countries don’t have abundant internet connection (read: wifi)… so of what use is this to them?

I know, I know, it’s based on the linux kernel, and you can most probably modify the core of this OS. But my question is, what about the applications that Google bundles it with?  Most likely you cannot use these on a modified distribution.

I’m honestly more excited about the  announcement of a modified NX server months ago (called NeatX, which in my opinion is a good remote desktop solution for Linux servers, having used NX and FreeNX on some of the server boxes I manage), than on Chrome OS.

In conclusion, with all these hiccups, I don’t ever think we’ll see Chrome OS displacing Microsoft significantly in marketshare, for at least a number of years.

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