Forget Michael Jackson, Sarah Palin, Roger Federer, Vladmir Putin, and everybody else. Today we have some real news: Google has finally stopped dorking around and announced it's going mano a mano with Microsoft in the operating systems game. Starting in the second half of 2010, you may be able to buy a netbook from a major OEM running the open source Google Chrome OS.
I had two immediate reactions to Google's announcement:
[ Reactions are coming in all over the Web. Find out what InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy thinks of the newly announced Google OS. | Stay up to date on Robert X. Cringely's musings and observations with InfoWorld's Notes from the Underground newsletter. ]
- It's about friggin' time.
- Let's hope Chrome the OS is a lot better than Chrome the browser, which was the buggiest Google product I've ever used. Nimble and innovative, for sure, but also occasionally maddening.
Also: If this is all just a joke, it will be the best prank Google has ever pulled.
Of course, an open source OS for netbooks (and eventually desktops) isn't exactly a Windows killer. If that were true, Jaunty Jackalope and all its furry Ubuntu cousins would have dusted Microsoft a long time ago. Remember also that Google has traveled down the OS highway before, and Android hasn't exactly made anyone forget the iPhone; personally I find it underwhelming. Finally, open source OSes appeal primarily to geeks because support ranges from problematic to nonexistent. That's not exactly a good fit with cheap consumer-friendly netbooks.
All that said, things around Cringeville just got a lot more interesting. And the entire geekosphere is kvelling about it.
Venture Beat's Dean Takahashi and Anthony Ha write: