Deep Thoughts... on Chrome OS

 

 

I've been testing Google Chrome OS now for about 2 months. Chrome OS is a new Linux-based operating system based on the open source Chromium project. The goal of Chrome OS is to deliver the web to the user as fast and easily as possible. 

Anyone who has spent anytime in technology knows, without question, that a vast majority of people are not "computer people",  never will be and could care less how things work - just as long as they do.

There are many opinions regarding Chrome OS but one fact is clear. Chrome OS is the world's simplest operating system. If you can browse on the Chrome browser, you're already a Chrome OS power user. For a Chrome browser user, any Chrome OS device is ready to go as "their device" in about 10 seconds. Anyone installed a new version of Office lately? How about upgrade a Vista device to Windows 7? How long did that take? An hour? Two, four, five, overnight? That's not even to make it "your device", that's just to make it capable of becoming your device.

In my work with Umzuzu I have access to multiple Chrome OS devices so I get to enjoy the potential enabled by the simplicity of Chrome OS first hand.

Writing this post actually provided a perfect example. I was working on a Chrome OS device from the comfort of my couch. The devices' batteries last for about a day's worth of work so I don't think of plugging them in that often. The particular device I was using prompted me with a low battery warning. "Darn," I thought, "I'm super comfortable and really don't feel like being tethered right now." ... because I would no longer be laying down. Then I noticed the other Chrome OS device within arms reach. Nice! This is a brand new device.

Turn it on, prompted with login, enter Google username and password, done. Not even 10 seconds. What did I get?

  • My extensions ... stuff like Pandora, Bit.ly, Blogger, Picnik, Chrome to Phone, Hootsuite, Google Voice, Google Translate
  • My bookmarks ... you can use your imagination here.
  • My Apps ... Gmail, Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Box.net, Squarespace, Freshbooks, Blogger, Google Voice, Instant Messaging for 2 work accounts and 1 personal account, 5 calendars - work and personal, Picnik, Linkedin, Facebook, Hootsuite ... you know, the Internet. 

I have more and can do more on this brand new Chrome OS device in 10 seconds than most people even realize is possible or exists. What does this mean? This means Windows 7 is bloated. It's a waste of money and more importantly a waste of time, especially at scale. A retail copy of Office can cost almost $300 ... it is possible when Chrome OS devices hit the market some could cost less than Office.

Cloud computing is not a TV commercial. The cloud is the complete commodification of the client operating system. The browser is already the most used and useful application on a computer. The browser serves the Internet, in the Internet we find the Cloud, the Cloud is powered by millions of computers ... we can choose to use the power of 1 computer or we can choose to use the power of thousands of computers.

Larry Page, Google's CEO, is the son of a late computer scientist and computer science professor at Michigan State. Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. The point of Chrome OS is not to enable the potential of 1 computer - it is to enable the potential of thousands of computers. If you think Google is not going to follow through on Chrome OS, you're nuts.

As my friend Leo says, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."  I'll bet Larry Page knows Leo too. 

"Every computer has a browser" ... yes, and every human has a heart but if 70% of everything else is bloat you're hardly running at optimal performance. Chrome OS is fit and it stays fit - starting every time from a clean version, called Verified Boot.

5 years ago we didn't have iPhone, 3 years ago we didn't have Android, 1 year ago we didn't have iPad ... the pace of innovation and change in technology is accelerating. The thought that Apple would one day be worth more than Microsoft once seemed crazy. Today's its worth $100,000,000,000 more. Google will pass Microsoft by the middle of this year and IBM will pass them by the end of the year. 

NOWHERE in technology is more stale than the desktop. They range from the rare "sweet Mac" to the more common "oh my god, you work on this everyday? I'd f'ing kill myself. You know computers aren't supposed to work like this, right?" We will see massive changes here in the next 5 years. Chrome OS will catch Windows in the next 5 years. Mac sales will continue to soar at triple digit paces, 300%+ in the enterprise, as well and will play a much more significant role in the Enterprise.

The Internet is the most disruptive innovation in human history. To think it will continue to influence every aspect of society and business and yet our soon to be secondary point of access will keep its form of the pre-Internet era is insane. Today the Web rules.