After all the other areas that the Search Engine giant has branched out into, it should not come as a surprise that Google will now focus on the development of its own operating system. Google, which has already changed the way many people think about computer applications hopes to accomplish the same at a much larger scale.

The new OS named Chrome, just like the companies web browser, is planned for release in 2010. What sets Chrome apart from Microsoft and Apple is that it will be available as a fully open source OS. What this means is that software developers will be able to access and edit the code that runs the system. The benefit of this is that intuitive programmers will be able to fix and address any problems that appear without the need of an official patch from the parent company. As an added bonus it will make feature addition not only easy but common. A great example of a similar application of this is the widespread and popular internet browser Firefox.

The open source nature of the OS has raised questions about the availability of the product. To date all Google applications have been offered as freeware. If this trend continues then there will finally be a multi-featured and highly supported free operating system for the masses, a viable threat to the Microsoft monopoly. With Chrome’s toted feature of fully integrated cloud computing the OS has the potential to change the way people view their operating system. Cloud Computing, which shifts the focus from singular computer systems to interconnected networks increase the resources and abilities of all connected systems. Just like Virtualization Cloud Computing is heralded as the future of business and personal computers.

However, despite the promises Chrome is not without blemish. Google’s own blog states that Chrome was designed first as a notebook OS. While this is great as far as resource management and mobile support is concerned, it means that the OS may not take advantage of many of the features users currently expect. The other problem is Google will now compete directly with Microsoft and so the importance of its first party applications will need to be as strong. While Google apps are nice supplements they currently fail when put to the test next to Microsoft Office. Without full support of dedicated business applications Chrome will find it difficult to set up a foothold in the business world. The final problem is that with a scheduled release of 2010, Microsoft has a long time to ensure that it remains on top.

Ultimately it’s too early to predict what will happen but the evolution of the OS market place is dependent on competition. Even though Apple has made great strides in recent years it still remains a 2nd run OS that is not taken seriously by the bulk of computer users. If Google Chrome can encourage further competition then perhaps we will see the market evolve instead of remaining on its current stagnant course.

– Richard Keene
IT Computer Support of New York
Design and Optimization Department