Welcome!

Open Web Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, PR.com Newswire, David Weinberger

Related Topics: Search, Adobe Flex, AJAX & REA, Web 2.0, Open Web

Search: Blog Post

Google OS - A Cynical View

Will Google succeed with the new OS in 2010?

If you didn’t hear that Google has announced that in 2010 consumers will have a chance to enjoy new Chrome-based OS, stop reading and do you homework first.

Done? Now we can move on, and let’s do it by the rules – positive things first, then some bile followed by a happy end.

I really like Google. They produce easy to use applications that work great. I use their search engine about a hundred times a day. Their applications make sense.

Nine months ago they released a Web browser called Chrome, and I liked it. Back than I suggested that in a year Chrome will bite off a decent chunk of the Web browser's market. (see  http://yakovfain.javadevelopersjournal.com/i_like_google_chrome.htm).

I was wrong. They’ve bitten a really small piece of the browser’s pie. For lots of companies 3% of any market would be like money from home, but for Google it’s a failure. Now they say that 30M people downloaded this browser. Not too much assuming that there are like 700M computers connected to the internet worldwide. Do you math. I was one of these 30M downloaders. But I don’t use it. Still waiting for some compelling reason to abandon FireFox 3.5.

Now let’s consider a lot more complicated than a Web browser software - the OS. Wall Street commercials often include the following phrase, “Past performance is no guarantee of the future results”. But in case of the Chrome-based OS we haven’t seen even the “past performance” so only a miracle can lead to the promised “future results” a year from now.

Many people are quick to blame Microsoft Windows for anything and everything. Have you ever heard something like “MAC OS is cool. Widows is a piece of junk”?  As a matter of fact, I’m typing this article using MS Word installed on my MacBook Pro. BTW, the MAC OS version of MS Word has a lot of room for improvement, but it’s besides the point here.  
But let’s not blame old and out of style Windows too fast. Keep in mind that every Windows OS had to work on a HUGE variety of hardware produced by a plethora of vendors. Their life was never as easy as Apple’s who created one computer and one OS to this computer. Feel the difference? To the best of my knowledge, Google haven’t created their own computer yet (Google phone doesn’t count), but they are planning to enter a Wild West of netbook PCs.  Will their OS work only on some models? When will the drivers to my Cannon printer and Fujitsu scanner work with Google OS?

What about MS Office for those stubborn millions of corporate users that don’t want to switch to Google’s online word processors and spreadsheets? The business users are pretty comfy with coding their little formulas in MS Excel. It took them YEARS to master these what-if scenarios and total/subtotal functionality in their tiny under-the-table reports they’re proud of.

For a company with 10000 employees saving $45 on each OS license translates into a substantial sum of money.  But why 15+ year old Linux still didn’t make it into a consumer’s market? Agree the first 10 years Linux distributions didn’t have an intuitive GUI. But now there are several flavors of Linux with a decent UI. It’s also free and open source. A handful of geeks enjoy every minute they spend in Linux, but for those Excel users it’s a completely different universe that they don’t care about.

Sure enough, Google will come up with an intuitive UI,  but that little kid will never switch to a Google OS computer if his Street Fighter won’t work there. Will Adobe rush to develop the Google OS version of Photoshop by the end of 2008? I don’t think so.

Speaking of the Google OS open source announcement that is embraced by everyone who see nothing but the word “free” in it…I read it a little differently – Google doesn’t want to commit substantial human resources for this serious undertaking and is betting on kids-enthusiasts who will contribute the new features and patches to the source control repository.

Am I’m painting the picture with unnecessary dark colors?

OK, here’s a couple of positive sprinkles.

1. I do believe that Google will be able to create installable small kernel that will include only the networking and I/O modules absolutely required to quicly start the netbook and connect to the Internet. Google OS will pull the rest of its required modules later, over the wire in the background while the user is still thinking, “Why did I open even the netbook now?” or on as-needed basis. Remember how Baron Munchhausen have used his own bootstrap to pull himself out of a lake by his own hair? If Baron Munchausen could do it, Google can do it too.

2. Google can use their super-duper advertising machine to promote their new toy. To give you a perspective, Microsoft is spending for marketing of their new search engine Bing a sum that, as Ballmer put it is "big enough that I had to gulp when I approved it. "  And Bullmer doesn’t gulp seeing anything less than $1B. 
If Linux had access to such marketing machine, they’d bee in a much better shape now.

Having said all that, I’ll stick to my general approach, “The more the merrier”, and I wholeheartedly wish Google to pull it off if not in 2010 then by 2012 or even by 2015.

Go Google, Go!

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a co-founder of two software companies: Farata Systems and SuranceBay. He authored several technical books and lots of articles on software development. Yakov is Java Champion (https://java-champions.java.net). He leads leads Princeton Java Users Group. Two of Yakov's books will go in print this year: "Enterprise Web Development" (O'Reilly) and "Java For Kids" (No Starch Press).

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Alessandro Ronchi 07/17/09 05:59:00 AM EDT

Hi Yakov,
I don't think you are cynical. You are realistic.

But let me put on the table a couple of considerations:

1) Actually there is a Linux distribution that is used and appreciated by several desktop users. It's MacOS X, isn't it? Ok, to be honest it's not a canonical Linux distribution but after all it's Unix.

2) I don't think Google aims at developing an operating system for traditional users. Maybe they want to offer an alternative choice for netbooks, nettops, mediabox and all emerging kind of computing machines whose purpose is not mere office automation.

My bests,
Alessandro Ronchi

Bruce Boyes 07/16/09 07:11:00 PM EDT

Ha! I really love your analysis and sense of humor. Thanks for a fun read! You hit the nail on the head: I'm eager to see how Android holds up on more devices. It would seem Google would have to create something like the Java JCP process to make a standard way to add new packages in a sane fashion. It's ironic that Sun isn't on the Android scene. There must be a reason the former head of Java development at Sun (Mr Schmidt) chose not to license the Sun Java for the Google smartphone. Is there an interesting story there?

How will Google support needed add-ons dept: when will we see Adobe Flash for Android? At the moment it can't watch movies at hulu, for example. Flash was promised back in 2008! Speed bumps like this on Android will likely be bigger on a more complex framework like ChromeOS?

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have spoken with, or attended presentations from, utilities in the United States, South America, Asia and Europe. This session will provide a look at the CREPE drivers for SmartGrids and the solution spaces used by SmartGrids today and planned for the near future. All organizations can learn from SmartGrid’s use of Predictive Maintenance, Demand Prediction, Cloud, Big Data and Customer-facing Dashboards...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.
Whether you're a startup or a 100 year old enterprise, the Internet of Things offers a variety of new capabilities for your business. IoT style solutions can help you get closer your customers, launch new product lines and take over an industry. Some companies are dipping their toes in, but many have already taken the plunge, all while dramatic new capabilities continue to emerge. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Reid Carlberg, Senior Director, Developer Evangelism at salesforce.com, to discuss real-world use cases, patterns and opportunities you can harness today.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices – computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be!
Noted IoT expert and researcher Joseph di Paolantonio (pictured below) has joined the @ThingsExpo faculty. Joseph, who describes himself as an “Independent Thinker” from DataArchon, will speak on the topic of “Smart Grids & Managing Big Utilities.” Over his career, Joseph di Paolantonio has worked in the energy, renewables, aerospace, telecommunications, and information technology industries. His expertise is in data analysis, system engineering, Bayesian statistics, data warehouses, business intelligence, data mining, predictive methods, and very large databases (VLDB). Prior to DataArchon, he served as a VP and Principal Analyst with Constellation Group. He is a member of the Boulder (Colo.) Brain Trust, an organization with a mission “to benefit the Business Intelligence and data management industry by providing pro bono exchange of information between vendors and independent analysts on new trends and technologies and to provide vendors with constructive feedback on their of...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
There will be 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Today, every manufacturer has a propriety protocol and an app. How do we securely integrate these "things" into our lives and businesses in a way that we can easily control and manage? Even better, how do we integrate these "things" so that they control and manage each other so our lives become more convenient or our businesses become more profitable and/or safe? We have heard that the best interface is no interface. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Co-Founder & CTO at Octoblu, Inc., will discuss how these devices generate enough data to learn our behaviors and simplify/improve our lives. What if we could connect everything to everything? I'm not only talking about connecting things to things but also systems, cloud services, and people. Add in a little machine learning and artificial intelligence and now we have something interesting...
Last week, while in San Francisco, I used the Uber app and service four times. All four experiences were great, although one of the drivers stopped for 30 seconds and then left as I was walking up to the car. He must have realized I was a blogger. None the less, the next car was just a minute away and I suffered no pain. In this article, my colleague, Ved Sen, Global Head, Advisory Services Social, Mobile and Sensors at Cognizant shares his experiences and insights.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) irreversibly encoded. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, will look at how this identity problem can be solved and discuss ways to use existing web identities for real-time communication.
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT. Attendees will learn real-world benefits of WebRTC and explore future possibilities, as WebRTC and IoT intersect to improve customer service.
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, will share some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, an Open Source Cloud Communications company that helps the shift from legacy IN/SS7 telco networks to IP-based cloud comms. An early investor in multiple start-ups, he still finds time to code for his companies and contribute to open source projects.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to create new business models as significant as those that were inspired by the Internet and the smartphone 20 and 10 years ago. What business, social and practical implications will this phenomenon bring? That's the subject of "Monetizing the Internet of Things: Perspectives from the Front Lines," an e-book released today and available free of charge from Aria Systems, the leading innovator in recurring revenue management.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges.
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, to discuss how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Erik Lagerway, Co-founder of Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services to the modern P2P RTC era of OTT cloud assisted services.
While great strides have been made relative to the video aspects of remote collaboration, audio technology has basically stagnated. Typically all audio is mixed to a single monaural stream and emanates from a single point, such as a speakerphone or a speaker associated with a video monitor. This leads to confusion and lack of understanding among participants especially regarding who is actually speaking. Spatial teleconferencing introduces the concept of acoustic spatial separation between conference participants in three dimensional space. This has been shown to significantly improve comprehension and conference efficiency.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, will discuss single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example to explain some of these concepts including when to use different storage models.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace. These technological reforms have not only changed computers and smartphones, but are also changing the data processing model for all information devices. In particular, in the area known as M2M (Machine-To-Machine), there are great expectations that information with a new type of value can be produced using a variety of devices and sensors saving/sharing data via the network and through large-scale cloud-type data processing. This consortium believes that attaching a huge number of devic...