Why Google Chrome OS has already won

Today InfoWorld’s Randall Kennedy says that Google’s Chrome OS will fail.

What he is missing is he’s looking at the wrong field.

Google is playing a different game. Google Chrome OS is NOT about killing Microsoft or Apple.

What is it about? Developers, developers, developers, developers, developers.

See, what happens if the world goes to Microsoft’s Silverlight, the way that Seesmic did this week? Google is locked out of such a world.

Google is in a war over developers with Microsoft. Google wants developers to build for the open web. Microsoft wants developers to build for Silverlight. Those messages are VERY clear coming out of both camps now.

But that’s not really the game either, although if it were Google Chrome OS would already be a winner because it reinforces to developers that they better keep developing for the Web using HTML5, even if you follow Loic Le Meur into Microsoft’s camp and build for Silverlight too.

So, what is the game?

Well, it’s a new field altogether. I’m hearing a raft of new, low-cost, devices are coming that you will only need to have on the Web. For instance, I want a cookbook on my kitchen counter that just brings me cool recipes. Right now I use my big Windows 7 computer for that, or my big MacBookPro.

But what if there were a new device that costs less than $100 that JUST does cookbooks and other things I need in the kitchen? I would buy one. A Chrome OS is all that’s needed for such a specialized device.

Where else would I use a low-cost computer? How about the bathroom? Just leave it there. Put a bunch of news sources and magazines on it.

Or, what about my son who is in high school. By the time Chrome OS comes along in big numbers he’ll be in college. Why take a $1,000 computer to class? Couldn’t he do everything he needs to do on a low-cost computer that’s lightweight, replaceable, uses low power, and just uses the web? Absolutely!

See, InfoWorld is making assumptions that the world is going to stay the same. That simply is NOT true.

Now, what will run on these new devices? A heavyweight OS like Windows 7 that takes me 40 seconds to boot up and does a ton of stuff I really don’t need, or a new OS that just has Google Chrome as its centerpiece?

Hey, I just wrote this post on Google Chrome while sitting listening to Marc Benioff at the TechCrunch Real Time Crunchup. I have not seen a single thing demonstrated on stage yet that won’t run on Google Chrome OS.

This is a winner, but on a new field.

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

218 thoughts on “Why Google Chrome OS has already won

  1. Mom's reply: “Update reminders? Sync? Oh gosh, I don't know anything about that stuff. Can you fix my solitaire so that it's wider on the screen? I'm not a computer person.”
    My reply: “Okay, maybe I'm not explaining this very well. How would you like a computer that just works all the time and where you could access any of your files by just typing in the name of them?”
    Mom's reply: “Oh, dear, I'm not a computer person. I wouldn't even know how to turn the thing on.”
    My reply: “Easy, you just hit 'power'”.
    Mom's reply: “Oh gosh, you'll have to teach me this. I'll never remember. I don't want to learn anything new. I know how to go to my documents – it's this thing here on my desktop. Don't make me learn something new. Please!”
    For many, many, many people, it doesn't matter how much better a technology is, the mere act of learning something different is enough to not want to adopt it. And I suspect that there are plenty of computer users like this, not just some.

  2. Mom's reply: “Update reminders? Sync? Oh gosh, I don't know anything about that stuff. Can you fix my solitaire so that it's wider on the screen? I'm not a computer person.”
    My reply: “Okay, maybe I'm not explaining this very well. How would you like a computer that just works all the time and where you could access any of your files by just typing in the name of them?”
    Mom's reply: “Oh, dear, I'm not a computer person. I wouldn't even know how to turn the thing on.”
    My reply: “Easy, you just hit 'power'”.
    Mom's reply: “Oh gosh, you'll have to teach me this. I'll never remember. I don't want to learn anything new. I know how to go to my documents – it's this thing here on my desktop. Don't make me learn something new. Please!”
    For many, many, many people, it doesn't matter how much better a technology is, the mere act of learning something different is enough to not want to adopt it. And I suspect that there are plenty of computer users like this, not just some.

  3. To be fair, the Xandros distro used by the Asus eeePC was SUPER LAME and was a big part of the reason that linux netbooks didn't enjoy greater success. The full desktop Ubuntu performs great on my eee PC 900 netbook with 1 gig of ram.

    And I say this as a Linux only user for the last 3 years — Linux has about as much chance of “killing” Windows as Solar Power has a chance of killing coal fired power plants — which is not to say the world would not be a better place if it were true.

  4. Babies are born everyday that don't know a thing about windows, and when that baby is old enough to type and get online, mom and dad are going to put a $50 netbook in front of them and they will grow up never knowing that the world cannot spin on its axis without Windows.

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