Has Google Taken Too Long to Deliver Chrome OS?
As we wind down the final months of 2010, it's worth noting that Google's Chrome OS is still months away from shipping. Steven J. Vaughan Nichols noted that the operating system probably won't ship on netbooks until 2011. If you think back to the July 2009 announcement of Chrome OS, it's easy to recall how revolutionary it seemed at the time. In particular, Google emphasized that it would make very efficient use of the cloud. But is that the greatest calling card anymore, and has Google dragged its feet for too long in delivering this OS?
As Preston Gralla notes for Computerworld:
"Chrome is designed for life in the cloud, and at least in its original design specs was targeted to run Web-based apps rather than any apps on netbooks themselves. At the time Chrome was designed, that made sense and was forward-looking. But today, with the raging successes of Android phones, the iPhone, the iPad, and Android tablets coming soon, apps are king. Any device that doesn't run apps will have a hard time gaining acceptance. "
Gralla makes a good point about apps. The fact is, Chrome OS will run lots of apps--ranging from Google's own cloud-based apps to other free, online applications--but it's not designed, like Android, to take advantage of the arrays of free apps found on, say, Android Market. Nor is it designed for the types of local apps you would favor on a typical Windows or Mac system.
I continue to believe that the heavy emphasis Google is going to put on cloud apps with Chrome OS could backfire. People like their local apps, and storing data from them locally. The cloud isn't entirely dependable yet.
Also, on the tablets front, Android-based tablets and other types are quickly gaining new input types. Voice input has promise for them, and tablets have a pronounced cool factor in the market, largely thanks to Apple's iPad.
If Google truly doesn't deliver Chrome OS until well into next year, one has to wonder if it will still seem as sexy as it did upon announcement. Remember, Google has shelved lots of projects that it once blew trumpets about. Just ask the team behind Google Wave.