A couple of days back I had written about cloud computing; whether or not it is relevant to Indian scenario given the state of the broadband networks and how they function. 4G is not yet launched and we still have to see it’s widespread deployment.
It can also be argued that Cloud computing offers a “cheaper alternative” for net access. For all the noise behind Chrome OS, it remains a re-worked implementation of Linux under the core with fancy “apps” and the browser as central to the computing experience.
To be honest, I hardly use my laptop for anything else. My computing time is solely meant for web access and once Google Voice/Skype have sense enough to implement the technology across the browsers, the other mode of “desktop applications” would become redundant.
It can also be argued about Google OS to be a cheap and effective way to roll out the product or say something like Airtel coming up with a fancy idea of having Airtel-Google branded laptops or netbooks being given “free” with contracts. However, for all this optimistic line of thought, I feel that the market is still not ripe to jump the gun.
Lets see what does Eric Schmidt has to say about it:
With Chrome OS, we have in development a viable third choice in desktop operating systems. Before there was no cloud computing alternative—now we have a product which is fast, robust and scalable enough to support powerful platforms. It’s something computer scientists have been dreaming about for a very, very long time. The kind of magic that we could imagine 20 years ago, but couldn’t make real because we lacked the technology. As developers start playing with our beta Cr-48 Chrome OS computer, they’ll see that while it’s still early days it works unbelievably well. You can build everything that you used to mix and match with client software—taking full advantage of the capacity of the web.
Ignore the brave words.
There is a competing product from Google: Android. It can again be effectively argued that they are separate and none can be adapted for other usage. I digress.
Android, despite ruling the roost on the mobile handsets, needs a lot more polish and push from Google to make it auto upgradeable. I own one from Samsung and hate the loaded crapware. I’d have to flash the ROM and install something else but that’s left from some other day.
Yet in this saga, can Google ever hope to monetise it’s offering? I can assume that after the Chrome OS reaches a critical mass (if and ever), it would be flooded with advertisements. Owning a laptop with loaded Chrome OS is the perfect platform for targetting those niggly ads that guarantee you a better erection in bed. In any case, the volumes are going to come only from the enterprise and that is not going to change in a hurry.
Brave words indeed but here’s a sampling of the common sense that has prevailed in the dark corners of cyberspace:
And any reasonably competent IT executive can plainly see that Google, for all of their algorithmic might, isn’t known for product longevity.
Sure, their core web products have been around for a while and aren’t going anywhere. But they launch a lot more products every year that we quickly forget about, and many of the unsuccessful products are quietly discontinued a few months or years later.
Google’s just not in the business of providing long-term support for an unsuccessful product line. It’s part of what allows them to keep releasing new things all the time while geeks declare Microsoft a boring old dinosaur. But IT departments need their platform vendors to behave much more like Microsoft.
Sad but true.
Hence, in this scenario, I don’t foresee a bright future but it seems to be another flash in the pan from the mavericks. It’s hard to say how this shapes up, how they advertise or strike deals with the manufacturers or how they wish to tone up their advertising platform.