Paul Buchheit, a former Google employee and one of the brains behind Gmail, believes that Google will kill Chrome off in 2011 or fold it into Android.
The comment from Buchheit was posted to his Twitter account. He said, "Prediction: ChromeOS will be killed next year (or 'merged' with Android)." Google officially launched the Chrome OS pilot program, though the platform won't fully mature until well into 2011.
Chrome OS is Google's cloud-based computing platform that is based on its Chrome browser. The separate "applications" in Chrome appear as different tabs, as they would in a browser. Google believes that Android and Chrome will serve two distinct markets. Buchheit disagrees.
He commented further, "ChromeOS has no purpose that isn't better served by Android (perhaps with a few mods to support a non-touch display). I was thinking, 'is this too obvious to even state?', but then I see people taking ChromeOS seriously, and Google is even shipping devices for some reason."
Google has sent review units to media outlets, and is allowing users to sign up for the pilot program, wherein they're asked to provide feedback about the device and the operating system.
InformationWeek's Thomas Claburn wrote in his review of Chrome, "Chrome OS is impressive and promising software... At the same time, Google's vision for the cloud is lacking. The cloud may be where computing is headed, but that doesn't mean users should be disempowered. For Chrome OS to actually displace Mac OS or Windows devices, Google or some other entity will have to find a way to give users control over, and ownership of, their data in the cloud."
Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to use the Cr-48 notebook that Google is using as a test platform for Chrome. I can say, however, that I live in Google's Chrome browser for 9+ hours per day, and rarely use non-Web-based productivity tools. The idea behind Chrome appeals to me.
Would Android provide for a more robust mobile computing experience? Probably. Can Chrome survive long enough to actually succeed? Possibly. I am glad a company like Google is at least willing to take the chance on such a project. Even if Chrome fails, we all will have learned something about the way we want/need to compute.
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