Google has big plans for its forthcoming Chrome operating system, with the first products expected to hit the marketplace in mid-2011. Though Google clearly hopes to benefit from an anticipated cloud-computing boom next year, some industry observers are skeptical.
Gartner Vice President Nick Jones believes Google's approach to Chrome OS is based on fallacious thinking. "Google seems to assume that most of us will have a perpetually connected, fast, low-latency, affordable wireless pipe," Jones wrote in a blog. "This is both wrong and narrow-minded because it makes Chrome a product for western mature markets only."
Riding the IT Wave
IDC forecasts worldwide IT spending of $1.6 trillion in 2011 -- up 5.7 percent over 2010. That means transformative technologies such as cloud computing are expected to make the critical transition from early adopter status to early mainstream adoption, noted IDC Senior Vice President Frank Gens.
"As a result, we'll see the IT industry revolving more and more around the build-out and adoption of this next dominant platform, characterized by mobility, cloud-based application and service delivery, and value-generating overlays of social business and pervasive analytics," Gens said.
To successfully ride the next IT spending wave, Google has already partnered with Citrix Systems to launch next year a new platform that will let enterprise workers with Chrome OS machines to run corporate apps remotely within the secure environment of the enterprise data center. The goal is to free enterprises from security concerns about attempts to compromise sensitive corporate apps and data.
To make Chrome OS a practical work environment for users, however, Google will have to overcome several obstacles. For example, Chrome OS developers plan to leapfrog potential printer-driver problems by making it possible for users to print directly from the cloud, which will require a whole new generation of printers featuring unique Internet delivery addresses.
Questions also remain about the extent to which users will be able to continue working when their Chrome-enabled devices are off-line. Google said it intends to make it possible for Google Docs and other cloud-based apps to run on Chrome OS devices when disconnected from the Internet, but Jones isn't impressed.
"It looks as if Chrome is cloud-obsessed, with off-line operation as a bit of an afterthought," Jones observed.
Promoting a Vision
At this stage of Chrome OS development -- when many questions about functionality have yet to be answered -- Google's public efforts are more about promoting a vision of computing than anything else, noted Al Hilwa, director of applications development software at IDC.
"They have a lot of execution to do, and long-term persistence is one critical success factor for such initiatives," Hilwa said. "My opinion is that several things need to happen to make such a wholesale consumer migration to the cloud, not least of which is better privacy controls about data custody."
Though some of this is under Google's control, a lot of it may have to wait for government action to set the rules for consumer and corporate privacy, Hilwa observed.
"For large corporations, they have to get used the notion that they are not in control of their data and that others can view it without their knowledge, let alone consent," Hilwa explained. "I suspect aspects of Chrome OS will migrate to Android or be copied by other platforms so that we have the right data stored in the right place."
If Chrome OS does end up eventually having an impact on the OS market, it will likely take years to reach fruition, industry observers say. "I expect a more gradual transition to cloud capabilities," Hilwa said.
Posted: 2010-12-25 @ 6:43pm PT
So google is basically selling a useless piece of junk that won't use any software?
Posted: 2010-12-25 @ 3:58am PT
TRY MAC OR GOOGLE CHROME OS
Posted: 2010-12-22 @ 6:41pm PT
Google is targeting people like me. They have been very clear about what Chrome OS is. I abandoned laptops and desktops when I bought my first G1 smartphone. I was sick of having the Windows Experience. Slow loading times, crashes, scares and threatening messages saying that my antivirus was about to expire or that some problems were not able to be fixed. I hated Windows. My last laptop was a toshiba with windows 7 and it still gave me problems and headaches. I now have a CR-48 notebook and I have no complaints. The few bugs I have encountered so far have been nothing like the catastrophic failures that I was used to with windows. As a current user of Chrome OS I truly hope that this is the future and that I never have to go back to Windows. I also hope that the author realizes that Windows and Macs have had a huge head start on Chrome OS and they have never cranked out a product like this.