Taking aim at Microsoft, Google on Tuesday showcased a test version of Chrome OS, its Internet-centric operating system, and began distributing a limited number of prototype PCs running the software.
With Chrome OS, which has suffered delays, Google said it hoped to give PC users an alternative to Microsoft and Apple.
I had the opportunity to watch Google’s live broadcast where they announced improvements to the Chrome web browser, the introduction of the Google web store, and a progress report on the development of Chrome OS and reference hardware to support it. In fact Google is offering a limited number of users the free use of a Google notebook called Cr-48.
I’ve been in the industry long enough to remember the move away from what was then called multi-user systems (powered by centralized mainframes and minicomputers) to PCs networked together with networking technologies like ARCnet and Token Ring. Users were rebelling against a centrally controlled/managed and often poorly performing IT infrastructure along with the lack of interactive applications like spread sheeting and word processing.
I couldn’t help but shake my head when the Internet-based video broadcast froze up several times most likely due to overwhelming demand on Google’s servers or the continuing low bandwidth problems I’ve been experiencing with my Bell Canada Business DSL connection (more on that in another post.) So are Google’s announcements a simple case of what-goes-around-comes-around, a grand play to control the Internet and increase advertising revenue or a clear shot across the bows of the good ships Microsoft and Apple? Google’s message yesterday was in part that new technologies like powerful web browsers and broadband Internet connections allow for a re-birth of multi-user systems and support for our need to be connected 24 x 7 whether we’re in our office or on the road.
I actually rushed to complete Google’s online application for the use of a Cr-48 notebook unfortunately, it appears to be limited to US participants. While I’m interested in tracking this technology for my clients, I’m not ready to recommend they throw out their desktop computers. One thing for sure is that it is really important that we continue to push ahead with bring broadband network access to the North. Many SOHO (small office/home offices) still don’t have broadband access and those that do have limited speeds or high-latency solutions that often are insufficient to support the growing list of cloud-based apps that require higher broadband speeds.
, Chrome OS
, cloud computing
, multi-user computing