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11/23/2009
09:28 AM
David Linthicum
David Linthicum
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Google Chrome OS: Don't Link it to Cloud Computing

With much fanfare, the Google Chrome OS launched last week. Chrome OS is a Web operating system that boots quickly, right into a browser... We've been here before... And I would rather not bind Chrome to cloud computing because I don't think the OS will be around long.

With much fanfare, the Google Chrome OS launched last week. Chrome OS is a Web operating system that boots quickly, right into a browser. In other words, it's your existing laptop with everything but the browser removed.

We've actually been here before. Perhaps you remember the Network Computing movement circa 1996 that advocated removing all native applications and using network applications for all things productive. In short, it did not catch on.What's nice about Chrome OS is the speed with which you can boot, likened to turning on a TV... or perhaps pulling your laptop from standby mood. Also notable is its ability to load Web applications quickly, and I bet it does an amazing job at using Google applications. Thus, many in the press have dubbed it a "cloud computing OS." Not sure that's helping. First of all, if you're looking for a quick boot OS that works well on a Netbook, your best bet is either Ubuntu or Windows 7, considering that both provide browsers and can do other stuff, such as work on an airplane. While the thought of looking at the world through the lens of a Web browser seems cool at first, I suspect users will want their traditional, and native, desktop applications. Google Docs and Gmail can only take you so far.

While I'm clearly an advocate for cloud computing, I don't think enterprises will be moving to a "cloud only" model anytime soon. They like the choice of using their own workspaces in conjunction with the cloud, and I'm not sure that's going to change anytime soon.

Second, why do we need another OS? There are a few major operating systems, some that are free, that do just fine and are plenty fast, and provide great native applications as well as quick browsing and work well when considering cloud computing. I'm right now using my Ubuntu-based Netbook, which cost me all of 200 dollars, to write this blog. That's cheaper than my iPhone.

Moving to a new OS is a pretty drastic step, and as enterprises consider cloud computing, I don't think that will drive many changes to the clients. Indeed, the constant upgrading of clients should slow down significantly as we continue to move to the cloud. This includes moving to new operating systems.

This was actually a difficult blog to write considering that I do indeed know that Chrome will be a game changer in terms of what operating systems do. Moreover, I'm very impressed, and use the Chrome browser myself, which is much faster than the other browsers out there. However, I also consider reality here. While the Chrome OS should be considered innovative in the context of cloud computing, I would rather not bind Chrome OS to cloud computing because I don't think the OS will be around long.With much fanfare, the Google Chrome OS launched last week. Chrome OS is a Web operating system that boots quickly, right into a browser... We've been here before... And I would rather not bind Chrome to cloud computing because I don't think the OS will be around long.

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