A recent random blog was picked up by some major outlets, saying it knew Why Google needs to pull the plug on Chrome OS. The author feels that, if Chrome doesn’t do well when it debuts on Netbooks, it could spell doom for future Distributions of Linux ever standing a chance at replacing Windows.
While I am a huge Windows fan, I can see obvious benefits to letting Google ship an operating system on a laptop. As it’s been described, Chrome OS would literally be little more than a shell with a web browser out of the box. But therein lies the beauty – it’s nothing at all, it’s the blank slate the Windows users always want. My dislikes of Linux are often how hard it is to get something working, it always relies on me opening a command line to install a package of some kind. Even the easier download services that Ubuntu and others offer don’t seem easy enough. This is where Chrome OS has it’s chance to jump ahead of the curve. An “app store” for the operating system.
After Apple’s hugely successful App Store on the iPhone and iPod Touch, Google knew what they had to do to make Android successful, and quickly became the number 2 smartphone. Why Apple hadn’t put something like this on the Mac itself is beyond me (my largest complaint about the Mac is how little software there is for it, it’s one of the reasons I’ve never bought myself a MacBook). But imagine the Google Chrome OS having 2 icons on the desktop: one that takes you straight to the web, and one that takes you to a simple app-store for Chrome OS. It’s a very straightforward way for you to one-click download and automatically install software for anything from office productivity, to media players, photo editing software, to games. With the ease of a one click install, and with the resources of Google, a large catalog of software at launch, I can see Chrome OS, if done in a form like this, as hugely successful.
However, If Google is really going to rely on their web apps to be their saving grace, it is likely that Chrome OS will be a short lived soiree into the PC Operating System Market for Google. Using Google Docs is nice, but it’s no replacement for having the tools at my disposal. If an installable and local version of Google Docs is available for a one click install, Google will change minds about the complexities of Linux.