There have been rumors for years that Google might someday release its own operating system, but the announcement that it's turning the Chrome browser into an operating system
is an odd duck for a variety of reasons (amusingly, the "Google browser" was also rumored for years before Chrome showed up). Why is it odd?
- Google already has an operating system in Android. While that was initially focused on mobile devices, it's already being expanded to netbooks, so turning that into a more complete operating system seems like the way to go.
- Chrome itself still needs a ton of work. I've tried using it, and it's crazy buggy and so unstable -- I simply gave up and went back to Firefox. Jumping from just browser functionality to a full on OS before the browser code is really stable seems like a big leap.
- The idea of turning a browser into an operating system has been around since the days of Netscape (folks there used to talk about how it was making Windows obsolete), but reality has proven otherwise. In fact, it was partly Netscape's desire to take down Windows by making Netscape more OS-like that caused Netscape to get so bloated as to be nearly useless.
- Why now? Why an OS? Part of the appeal of the growth of the web itself (and Google with it) is the fact that it's made the whole operating system less and less integral to the computing experience. With the move towards more of a "cloud" based world (which Google has been a big part of driving) there just isn't as much value in the operating system as much as in the past. So why jump on that bandwagon now?
- Given all of the above, it just seems like a confused strategy. There will likely be conflicts between Android and Chrome and consumer confusion as well, not to mention worries from folks who just want Chrome to be a simple, competent browser.
Perhaps Google can route around all of these issues, but at a first pass... it just seems like a confusing direction for Google to go in.