Google released its Chrome OS-based beta notebook Cr-48 for a select group of testers after announcing the light-weight, web-centric browser last summer.
The release follows just a day after Google released its Android 2.3 version codenamed Gingerbread on its Nexus S phone.
The open-source Linux-based OS Google Chrome is a light-weight OS that allows users to access apps directly through the browser thus eliminating the need to store apps on the system. The Chrome OS-based notebooks also boots faster, takes 60 seconds to start the system when first set up, as most of the software is run on the cloud. Also the Chrome-OS notebook is designed to be consistently connected to the web.
To supplement its Chrome OS launch, Google announced the launch of Chrome Web Store aimed at tapping into its existing 120 million Chrome browser users.
However, with the march that Google's Android platform has seen, the launch of a new OS has raised questions about Google's primary aspirations behind the new OS.
To make web-apps ubiquitous and not the OS:
Google's aim is to be a catalyst to trigger creation of quality web apps to counter apps created for closed-walled companies like Apple and Microsoft. Chrome OS gives app developers the impetus to create refined web-based apps that can be accessed directly through the browser. Google's primary motivation is to drive the adoption of web-based apps as it will boost the market for its cloud-based apps.
Secondly Google is attempting to wean customers from a diet of closed-walled apps like Microsoft Office tools. Switching users from Microsoft Office tools to other web options has been difficult as users do not have a competing option that can waylay them to other apps. Also asking an enterprise to switch to a different app requires offering similar efficiency and cost benefits. Running apps remotely offers the cost benefit by eliminating license costs but efficiency is something that web-apps have failed to deliver.
To support openness:
Google's business model is still web search-based and its growth is directly proportional to the volume of web usage. Thus any approach that keeps users from accessing the web affects Google's proposition. Current models of specific apps designed for specific OS keeps users tied to the OS and device, fenced from the web like Apple iPhone. Google Chrome is an attempt to break these silos by enticing users to move to the cloud. As users move much of their data to the cloud through Chrome OS, users will be able to access data from any device, thus reducing dependence on a specific device or OS.
The third-device OS:
Google Chrome OS is positioned as the third option apart from Mac and Windows which runs web-based apps. However, this distinguishing feature was also a limitation to Chrome's growth as it does not run other key apps which run on other OS. To bridge this gap Google OS offers remote access software with Chrome OS under the moniker Chromoting. Chromoting enables users to access other desktops and notebooks running on different OS thus giving users the option to use both web apps and other legacy apps on the browser.
However, the success of Google Chrome is contingent on certain factors that need to be addressed:
Personal Data Migration:
Currently most of the users store their data like music, pictures and documents on hard drives thus Google Chrome will have to offers a suitable filing system to replace this model. Another impediment is the security aspect that would hinder users from migrating their personal data to the cloud.
Do customers need another device?
With customers already using devices like smartphones and tablets the need for another notebook would need sufficient justification, primarily when existing notebooks, tablets and smartphone allow users to be connected to the web.
Android provides pretty much all that Chrome-OS promises, primarily web connectivity and access to web apps. Also Android has gained volume and reach and is running on multiple devices like smartphones and tablets, though it is still not available on a notebook. Also it already has more than 100,000 apps for the platform thus the need for another OS has raised questions.
However, Google Chrome OS is here and its primary target is the notebook as a device and its purpose is to trigger the development of quality apps to counter local apps.