Google has been blurring the lines between what used to be two quite distinct spheres of computer operation – the desktop and the internet. Before Google, websites tended to deliver information. That was their main function. Before Google there were desktop programs. They harnessed local CPU power and computational capabilities to provide a wide variety of applications. Even if these individual programs were able to access information via the net, they did so being largely grounded to whatever underlying operating system they ran on.
Google started to shake things up w/ its GMail website/application. Here was a very powerful email program that included a number of features common to desktop applications, but still others that became possible because it was accessed via the browser. Other examples by Google include their Google Apps (docs, sites, etc), Picasa, and Google Earth. All of these in varying degrees presented powerful, platform independent applications accessed by large part through a browser.
With Google Desktop, and Google Gears, the lines were even more blurred between OS and Web. With Google Desktop, the company is able to provide a singular interface for accessing all sorts of information – be it living on your local computer or somewhere on some far off server.
There is a quickly growing niche of Netbooks, handhelds, Android phones and the like that Google believes would benefit from such a solution. I’ve held off on buying an uber-phone until Android matures a bit. I’d much rather have something open like Android versus the closed and elitist Apple variety. I am very excited to learn more about the Google Chrome OS.
So as geeky as I sometimes think I am, I have found some much more succinct writeups on Google Chrome OS than the rambling bit above. For more info on Google OS I recommend reading:
- Giz Explains: What the Hell’s Google Chrome OS? (Gizmodo.com)
- Google Chrome OS and GooOS (Kottke.org)
- Chrome OS for the clueless: What it means for real people