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GoogleOS Scenarios 224

ReadWriteWeb writes "Read/WriteWeb offers 3 scenarios for a GoogleOS and suggests it could be less than 6 months away. They say it may be a web based desktop (aka WebOS), a full featured Linux distribution, or a lightweight Linux distro and/or BIOS. They predict that once Microsoft's Vista rolls out, it will present a direct threat to Google's Web properties and so therefore Google will start a more punchy strategy — pushing Firefox and some form of Google OS in order to nullify Vista's potential impact."
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GoogleOS Scenarios

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  • So in other words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ats-tech ( 770430 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @10:45AM (#16949666) Homepage
    "They say it may be a web based desktop (aka WebOS), a full featured Linux distribution, or a lightweight Linux distro and/or BIOS."

    They have no idea.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) *

      They have no idea.

      That's pretty much it. The so-called "analysts" are regularly baffled by Google, primarily because they don't seem to understand them. Google does things according to what makes the most sense from a logical perpective, not necessarily what makes them the most money in the short term. (Or at least, what seems to make them the most money.) These analysts don't understand that mode of thinking, and expect Google to fit in the same box as everyone else.

      • Analyst tend to focus on past trends and performance, Google baffles them because they ARE that different a company.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Ruff_ilb ( 769396 )
          Maybe it's simply because Google hasn't been around for that long, but has done so much.

          I'm sure analysts were doing the same sort of things during the first 24 months of MSFT or so.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by breed13 ( 955316 )
            Maybe Google is just reading what the analysts are saying and then moving in another direction... This is Google's way of revealing how little analysts actually know about anything... Of course, this could also be my bias against analysts coming to the surface... I'm tired of hearing how company XYZ's stock price was driven up (or down) by analyst A's comments... (Let the "correlation not causation" debate begin!)
            • I'll skip the debate, but I'm fairly certain that at least a couple people are using their 20% on an OSS OS project. Frankly I think Google should support Ubuntu or some other ultra friendly distro for their desktop OS should they ever do it.
      • by postmortem ( 906676 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @12:46PM (#16952028) Journal
        Only thing they ("analysts") understand is that unless they put out baseless claims frequently, they are out of job.
      • by 14CharUsername ( 972311 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:47PM (#16953336)

        I think this is just a message to MS: "If you don't play nice with vista, this is what we can do..."

        I think the amount of money to be made from Desktop OS's is going to take a drop, even for MS. Piracy is going to continue to take a chunk of business no matter how much MS pushes WGA and DRM. But an even bigger problem is that most people just don't need that many features from an OS. the Office, IE, and Windows lock in schemes are being chipped away by increased competition and anti-trust rulings. Computers aren't going to keep improving geometrically forever, so people will stop replacing their computers every couple of years, and that means less bundled copies of windows being sold.

        Now these same conditions also affect Linux. I don't think a Desktop Linux distro could do much more than break even. There's money to be made on servers, but not as many people will bother paying for support for their desktop. So Google probably doesn't really want to do a Linux desktop distro, its far easier to let Mark Shuttleworth dump his time and money into it. But if Microsoft gets up to their usual dirty tricks with vista... well buying ubuntu and puting a few billion into improving it is a good strategy to prevent Google from becoming another Netscape.

      • Re:So in other words (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mr_mischief ( 456295 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @03:20PM (#16955332) Journal
        The biggest ways I see Google being different from most companies in tech is that they are not into competing in well-established markets. Google has a tendency either to redefine the whole meaning and level of a market segment (like they did with search and Gmail), to invent whole new markets where they are the first company present (placing context-relevant ads on many, many websites), or get in to markets where therre are a few small players but they're going to be the only big one (online office suites that actually work).

        It's a strategic company, not a tactical company. I think most companies think tactically. Most analysts almost certainly do. Google is so hard to analyze because they don't do what other companies do. Other companies look at what's out there and try to be better or to market better. Sometimes they try something new. Google just keeps doing new things, and the ones that stick to the wall stick hard.

        Google doesn't focus on maximizing packaged units or hitting the sweet spot on the existing promotion cost/ROI curve. They are about moving the promotion cost/ROI curve to a new level by building strong user loyalty, and waiting for everyone else to catch up. Then they move on to another market curve where they do the same again.

        The way they build strong user loyalty is often to make simple things simple to do. MS Office can do more than Google Spreadsheets and Google Documents. But Google's offerings work from just about every device you own, do everything you need to do for most documents, don't have to be installed, and only cost you the price of looking at ads (and maybe a bit of privacy). Google's search engine gets uncannily good results without going into the advanced search, and still has the advanced search when you need it.

        I'm not a Google insider or anything, but I'd bet their products are dreamed up by brainstorming techies rather than market researchers. Then, the usability experts probably do the UI before graphic designers ever touch it. Marketing probably just markets what is ready for people to see, and of course most marketing for Google is just posting a notice on their sites anyway.

    • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @11:10AM (#16950178)
      I'd go for a VNC(or similar) download. You heard it here first.

      • You could be onto something. That is possibly what that huge 'secret' data center is all about. It's one huge server for us to be plugged in as thin clients.
        • by jomegat ( 706411 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @12:42PM (#16951916)
          That's what I think they're doing. It explains the data-center-in-a-shipping-container phenom. I also think that's why they're partnering with Sun - Sun will make the thin clients.

          They'll make them cheap enough (or subsidize them). It's a compelling set up. Consumer Joe buys a thin client for $100, plugs it into his broadband connection and connects to apps running on a terminal server in the shipping container nearest his home. For less than the price of Vista or a new PC, he satisfies all his computing needs. He never has to install any software. He never has to worry about viruses. The terminal server is maintained by professional sysadmins. The heavy lifting is done in the shipping container, so the thin client is relatively "future proof". All the client ever has to do is run an X server, and that requires a fairly fixed set of resources.

          The only thing I'd worry about is privacy. Maybe they'll let Joe use a thumb drive to store his data. Or maybe Joe doesn't care about his privacy. Google then has control of the desktop, so ads are not limited to the web browser. We'd better hope they stick to the "Do no evil" thing.

          • I like my "thick client" just fine. I never have to worry about viruses (Linux), I like having my data local because I do not have to depend on having enough bandwidth for the machine to be responsive. I like being able to control not only which applications I have installed, but which versions I have installed. I like being able to choose between Gnome/Metacity, XFCE, KDE/kwin, Compiz, Beryl, and combinations thereof.

            Thanks, but no thanks. If Google does a Linux distribution (KDE-based) I'll be all over i
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by jomegat ( 706411 )
              Yes, most of the /. community prefers a thick client. But Joe consumer doesn't know how to administer one, and that's who this would be targeted at. I'd steer clear of it myself too because of the privacy issues.

              If they could offer the thin client for around $100, I'd be awfully tempted to point it out to the next friend or relative who asks me to clean the viruses off their PC. Isn't that about what the Geek Squad charges? With any luck, I'd never get bugged about an Outlook problem again.

              Another r

            • by russ1337 ( 938915 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @03:21PM (#16955348)
              I take your point on the bandwidth thing. Should Google suddenly expand it's free wi-fi nation wide AND offer a thin client that connects for free, not only are they taking MSFTs customer but they're undercutting the crap out of the Telco's and ISP's as well.

              Peacing together the thoughts from this thread I can now see that it is not hard for Google to offer the following. Now that we (think we) know what they already have, and what we have heard they've expressed interest in:

              - A super thin client (Google VNC BIOS / Damn Small / similar)
              - A super cheap computer - or free OS that sets you free from Windows!
              - Free Wi-Fi / free connectivity for Google users, therefore no ISP charges (all that dark fiber they own starts to get used, as well as that mother huge data centre)
              - A full range of Web based (thin client) apps, suited to the home user
              - No maintenance for the user - no viruses, mal-ware etc, and very good spam filtering
              - Slightly better privacy than some of the other providers (e.g AOL)

              What it doesn't offer - Local space for your photos, MP3's etc.

              I think this has some merit. It'd certainly shake up the Internet 'industry' in the USA particularly the Telco's and DLS providers - but they've had their chance. (Think back to when the ISP forced your browser to their home page, and required you use their services. They had all the opportunity in the world to get it right, but didn't. I have no sympathy for them)
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by russ1337 ( 938915 )
                >>> What it doesn't offer - Local space for your photos, MP3's etc.

                I need to add that if they offer an OS for existing PC's, they can use the hard drives and freed up 5GB that XP hoarded for MP3's and Photos!
            • Honestly, administering your own systems becomes a real pain in the arse. For all the standard stuff, I'd frankly rather not bother doing it for myself.

              If Google produce a system with all the basics:
              word processor, spreadsheet, email, all the office stuff, add on a small business accounts and customer relationship management you have a compelling product for small businesses and individuals. Charge $50 per year per seat.

              Anyway, it wouldn't be aimed at us, it'd be aimed the people we serve. Damn... That puts
      • Except (Score:3, Informative)

        by The MAZZTer ( 911996 )
        Games and video doesn't work well over VNC. :) Audio doesn't work too well unless you have a very good connection. I also haven't found any existing VNC clients that support audio... which seems kinda odd.
    • It is all speculation, but one thing is for sure - google thrives off of personal information, so it will be a webOS or at least something that is heavily integrated to their databases online.
    • I agree that these analysts have no idea, but they don't leave it up in the air in the way that you characterize. They conclude with "Conclusion: GoogleOS will tackle Microsoft's Vista OS head on". Sounds totally insane and stupid to me, but they are firm in their conclusion.

      Clueless analysts? Yes. Conclusion? Yeah, but it's also clueless.
  • by J. T. MacLeod ( 111094 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @10:46AM (#16949692)
    It's not a proper fake news unless it speculates on BeOS, too.
  • Arg (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @10:47AM (#16949726) Journal
    What compels people that know nothing about technology to keep writing these "Google OS" articles? Do they even understand what an OS is?

    MS bought into this "web OS" hype over 5 years ago. It was stupid then, and it's stupid now.
    • What compels people that know nothing about technology to keep writing these "Google OS" articles? Do they even understand what an OS is?

      Nope, and they don't know what an office suite is either apparently, as they attempted to call a dumbed down version of a word processor and the most basic spreadsheet application imaginable combined with gmail an "office suite." It's all hype about MS vs. Google. In all honesty, I believe the two have fairly distinct offerings, even if MS wishes it had Google's as well

  • AIEEEE!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @10:49AM (#16949772)
    "The GoogleOS, they do nothing!"
  • BSD (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hijacked Public ( 999535 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @10:49AM (#16949774)
    I think it will be a full featured BSD distro.

    Or maybe the return of BeOS.

    Or NeXT.

    You might download the ISO and run it off a CD. You might not. Maybe BIOS will be involved. Possibly even TCP/IP. It will probably include some kind of menuing system and maybe a ribbonish banner that can be docked somewhere on the desktop or not, that might include items like Vista's Gadgets or OSX application launching capability or possibly some blend of both. Almost certainly the web will be involved.

    Or none of the above, who knows.
    • But it will DEFINITELY be Web2.0. Or maybe even Web2.1!
      • Web2.1? Rubbish it'll be Web3.0!!!! //Sadly I've already heard talk of Web3.0 in rubbish tech articles. Its suppositivly a network backed by AI to offer you the services you want.

    • NeXT is already back. It's called MacOS/X now, but its pretty much an evolution? Don't believe me? Look up the API for Cocoa and be amazed about why ALL the things there are called NSthis and NSthat.

    • Question: Is there ANY reason to think Google is even remotely working on their own OS (in any of the forms you mentioned...?) or is this one of those things where the rumor came up enough times it's taken a life of its own?
  • How is something like this going to run on non-broadband? MS can compete there because, well, you bought a real PC with a real OS. Google's going to be heavily reliant on bandwidth if they do anything more than an über-lightweight Linux GUI. You could argue that the non-broadband people don't matter, but they're still a significant piece of market share.
    • by Threni ( 635302 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @10:53AM (#16949848)
      > How is something like this going to run on non-broadband?
      Same as the answer to the question - how is this going to run on systems with 16MB ram, a 256 colour display and no cd-writer:

      Who cares?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by z0idberg ( 888892 )
      non-broadband (or at least non-internet connected) users DON'T matter to Google.

      Google is all about advertising and AdSense/Adwords. If you arent on the net you arent in their target market.

      Non-broadband people might be a significant part of the OS market but they arent a significant part of Googles market.

      • I dunno about other parts of the US but here in SoCal both Verizon and AT&T are offering some sort of $15 DSL package. Sure, it's not leet and speedy but it's better than dialup. And considering that dialup costs $10 to $20 and up, it's worth it.

        The only problem is distance to the Central Office. Not everyone is within range of their Central Office. And cable modem, unlike DSL, is not priced reasonably. Hopefully someone will lick the problem of DSL and central office proximity. If someone manages that,
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Right, because its not like Google doesn't reguarly give AOL money to keep Google the default AOL search engine.

        Last I checked, sending text is not bandwidth intensive. So neither is AdSense.

        When I go back to dialup at my grandma's house, Google is one of the few websites that still _feels_ fast. Plenty of dialup customers use Google. Saying these dialup customers don't matter is simply foolish.
  • A Google OS? Well, can't wait to see it live. Now, can someone knowledgeable advise on what this OS is likely to be running on its interface. Is it likely to be KDE, Gnome or some GUI patched up using the recently open sourced Java?
    • Now, can someone knowledgeable advise on what this OS is likely to be running on its interface.

      Google hasn't even said they're making one.


      It's stupidities like these articles that makes people think there's actually some work being done on something here.

      Google is not making a GoogleOS, at least not for public use, or in that case, it hasn't been announced.

      They have not even hinted on it. They have however debunked they're making one when asked.

      • Yes, but Google also denied making an office suite, and then they came out with a word processor and a spreadsheet. Mind you, it's not an office suite in the way MS Office or OO.o is, but it's still an office suite.
  • 6 months? (Score:4, Funny)

    by le0p ( 932717 ) * on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @10:52AM (#16949818)
    Maybe after the 10 year beta test.
  • Google OS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MeNeXT ( 200840 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @10:54AM (#16949874)
    Linux/FreeBSD, Gnome/KDE, OOo, Firefox, Gaim, on Wii and PS3. At $50 a CD just the Wii with 4 million units to be released by the end of the year it would be a killing.

    They wouldn't need to develop it just negotiate with Ubuntu. It's easier to maintain than Windows.

    I've even sent Nintendo an email last year. To bad I don't have the finances to fund this.
    • by @madeus ( 24818 )
      The Wii is the only of the latest generations of console that isn't HD capable, it's not feasible to use a display at Standard Definition resolutions for things like email or web browsing or modern GUI based productivity software. It's just a horrible experience (as demonstrated by Web TV).

      This makes the PS3 the only viable option, unless it's just a distribution intended to allow viewing of specificly tailored made-for-tv-viewing content (e.g. news stories in large print and videos - with a custom interfac
      • by MeNeXT ( 200840 )
        You talk but you haven't looked at the specs. The ATI cards on the Wii are capable of better resolution that the Walmart PC. The graphics card in the system in which I am typing is capable of over 1600x1200 but i'd be an idiot to try to play HD games on it. This card is over 7 years old. The image is crisp and clear. HD game play is another matter.

        Adding the component cables can give you 1080i resolution on a monitor that can handle it, which would be 1440 pixels across but even at 480p you would have decen
        • by @madeus ( 24818 )
          "You talk but you haven't looked at the specs."

          Nope, your just confused I think.

          "Adding the component cables can give you 1080i resolution on a monitor that can handle it"

          Not so - the Wii does not support 720p, never mind 1080i or 1080p - so adding a component cable won't automagically result in it outputing anything higher than 480p (it will just give you a less blury picture than you'd get from using the bundled composite cable).

          "even at 480p you would have decent enough resolution to write an email, type
    • by bigpat ( 158134 )
      they wouldn't need to develop it just negotiate with Ubuntu. It's easier to maintain than Windows.

      Isn't it common knowledge that google engineers are regular contributors to Ubuntu already or is this just an unsubstantiated rumor? Seems that Google could just re brand a version of Ubuntu to give the name some marketing weight and continue to contribute back to the Ubuntu project.

      Bigger thing would be to set up some deals with at least a few top computer makers to do a good job of offering their computers w
  • My wishos (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cucucu ( 953756 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @10:58AM (#16949952)
    I wish Google (or someone) did the following OS:
    • My computer image is hosted somewhere, is always with up to date software, upgrades are tranparent
    • There are a lot of access tiers:
      • An ajax based command line for pro users.
      • Google spreadsheet and Google docs let you browse and edit the files in your desktop
      • Specialized software lets you login with remote desktop or X windows or whatever

    • I can run servers on my computer
    • If I don't the provider can park my image while I'm not logged in
    • They provide a database if I want to run a server

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cucucu ( 953756 )
      (second time today I click on Submit instead of preview. Can't ./ add a confirmation alert before proceeding?)
      • If I run a server I also have a static IP
      • They can charge for some of the services, with a pricing model similar to the Amazon EC2 []. I.e. 1$ per Gygabyte, .10 per hour CPU, .10 per hour static IP
      • I guess they would charge for those who run the server option
      • The web & db scale automatically
      • Bandwidth is free within the provider's environment - this is very interesting for Google, they could absorve al
      • by foobsr ( 693224 ) *
        this is very interesting for Google, they could absorve all the Web into their datacenters

        Which is what they are up to - like creating the biggest (post TV & print) market research engine & advertising machine ever thought of. VNU, Taylor Nelson Sofres etc. will be dwarfed.

      • by tomjen ( 839882 )
        there is no way to absorb all the material inside any datacenter. There is simply too much information on the WWW. Look at the amount of info in the wayback archive.
    • The problem with this is if the computer image is hosted by Google, it either has to be transferred to your machine in it's entirety and be run there, or left at Google and run there.

      Due to the current limits of even the best broadband and the impatience of humanity, the first option isn't feasible.

      The problem with the second option is that it puts the entire CPU load on the Google servers and your machine just becomes a terminal. Google's infrastructure is setup for massive storage, but not that kind of m
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @11:00AM (#16950000)
    It was submitted by the blogger himself, and the website is more than 40% advertisement. Here is the article text:

    Written by Emre Sokullu and edited by Richard MacManus.

    There's no such thing as the GoogleOS in reality - but despite that, it is one of the most talked about Web products. People can't stop discussing it - and even imagining screenshots for it! Seems like everyone expects Google to get into direct competition with Microsoft, by releasing an operating system. However Google refuses such claims and even makes fun of this kind of buzz. Nevertheless we decided to analyze where Google may be heading with their product strategy - and from that determine what are the chances of a GoogleOS.

    We see 3 scenarios for a GoogleOS:

    * A web based desktop (i.e. operating system)
    * A full featured Linux distribution
    * A lightweight Linux distro and/or BIOS

    We'll try to explain each of these in detail - then in the conclusion, make our prediction. What's more, we think this could be less than 6 months away from happening.
    A Web Based Operating System

    If you asked "what will a GoogleOS look like?" - most people would answer that it'll be an AJAX-powered copy of the Windows desktop. In other words, a WebOS (aka webtop). To remind you of what a WebOS is, it is basically a virtual desktop on the web and has various built-in applications. Google already has a history of producing web-based products that mimic desktop apps - Gmail was the first desktop client like email reader, and now they have Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Calendar and other desktop-like products. Also note that Google's internal open sourced widget toolset, GWT, allows them to replicate any desktop capability.

    On the other hand, a bunch of startups like YouOS , Goowy, DesktopTwo, Xin and open source eyeOS are already tackling this exact problem - and have been for a while now. So if Google engineers are not already working on their own webOS project, they may want to snap up one of these! AJAX powered YouOS, which is a yet another Paul Graham investment, seems like the most obvious choice at this time.

    Screenshot from YouOS

    Besides the startups we've already mentioned, there may be other surprises that Google looks at for WebOS purposes. Meebo, for instance, has created a very large user base with their web-based meta instant messaging product (it enables you to use multiple IM services on the same webpage). IM is a crucial application, because many people spend a lot of time on the computer IM'ing. So Meebo could use IM as a base - and utilize the empty spaces on their page for new applications.

    Meebo OS with fictional Calculator application (taken from YouOS)

    30 Boxes also has a webtop offering, but it looks less promising than their calendar. Start pages like NetVibes, PageFlakes and WebWag could also potentially enter the webos business.
    A Full Featured Linux Distro

    Another possibility for Google is to create their own Linux-based operating system. The free license of Linux allows anyone to create their own version of Linux. Although Linux is the most popular operating system in the server market and it's free, it is still far behind Windows and MacOS in the desktop market. Some believe this may change with the latest enhancements to the Linux user interface.

    This scenario is a more traditional model to replace Windows - with a direct competitor, instead of creating a web-based replacement. Indeed this has already been widely speculated - Ubuntu, a semi-free Linux derivative, was rumored to be acquired by Google.

    If this scenario happened, Google may open up their operating system as a free download and promote it on their homepage - as they once did with Firefox. They could also make a networked file system the default, instead of the complex UNIX file hierarchy of Linux - which is another reason why Linux struggles in the mainstream
  • The Thin Client (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Slipgrid ( 938571 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @11:02AM (#16950032) Homepage Journal
    I think the way that Google will go is to make thin client apps that will run on any old computer. They could use a simple file system to install on peoples old and insecure desktops to secure them, and have something to run Firefox or whatever client will access their products. And they will have all their other apps put together in a nice form or package. Whatever file system people install on their desktops will allow them to install third party software.

    Really it's a hard sale for most people. Do you want all your info, or say just all your email, documents, video, and whatever else (depending on what products they create) on Google servers. Does Google want to compete with M$ in this arena? Of course the Google OS would be free as in beer with labels. I'm not sure.

    I think the more likely scenario would be a Google OS for Servers. To be sure, they are using a custom file system, and they have that down pat. An end-user product is less likely. If it isn't perfect, they likely won't release it.
    • I think the parent poster is not far off. From the experience that I have had, shoving a live CD in the tray and booting is an impressive thing for people with some old hardware and requirements for not much more than web browsing and writing emails. The fact that its free, does what they want, doesn't take long to get used to, and can be virtually virii free with a reboot (depending on whether files are stored on the hard drive, if it is even used) is a big bonus for neophytes... or at least those I have h
  • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @11:07AM (#16950122) Homepage Journal
    I'd like to see a Google OS, if only because I have enough of a Discordian streak to appreciate all of people's systems, work, and data based around an "I'm Feeling Lucky!" button.
  • OR (Score:2, Interesting)

    by luguvalium2 ( 466022 )
    How about a virtual os that is optimised for web use that runs under vmware player. Google can manage all the configuration, updates, virus protection, malware protection (if needed) etc.
  • Bad tag (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @11:08AM (#16950146) Journal
    GoogleOS isn't vaporware as it hasn't been announced for a public release by Google.
    There was some news about Google using a custom *nix based OS internally, and it has indeed been deployed.

    That it's not even vaporware also says a bit why I think these articles are a bit useless.
  • Soooo ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spellraiser ( 764337 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @11:09AM (#16950158) Journal

    Let me get this straight ...

    Google is expected to release an entire operating system that's supposed to compete heads on with Windows Vista, which is the result of years and years of work and billions of dollars invested? Say what you will about Windows, but it certainly is a massive behemoth with sh*tloads of functionality. You don't just shake something like that out of your sleeve in a few months.

    And what's the supposed rationale behind a GoogleOS? Better integration of Windows Vista with Microsofts Live Search, or whatever they call it. Here's where the flip side of the coin comes in. Google has, for their part, invested years and years and billions of dollars in creating the best search engine out there, bar none. Is Microsoft suddenly going to undermine their user base by making their search engine integrated into Vista? I don't think so, Tim. People aren't total morons. They know how to type into their search bars when they want to use a real search engine. It's no small cooincidence that the verb 'to google' has become prevalent among the English speaking, and has even been adopted and localized by many other nationalities.

    There is absolutely no logical basis behind these speculations. Sheez.

    • Re:Soooo ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @11:21AM (#16950360)
      People aren't total morons.

      Actually, when it comes to computers, most people are.

    • by mgblst ( 80109 )
      Well, they could just release a google theme, atop of a finely tuned Linux distro. If they really threw their weight at it, they could get it running really well.

      A better option for them, might be to fund improvements in Linux, and maybe some new applications. Spend some of that money they have for good. In fact, most companies should be doing this, the advantages are obvious. At the very least, the have fully functioning OS that they can use to bargain Microsoft prices down (by threatening to move to it!)
    • Re:Soooo ... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by businessnerd ( 1009815 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @11:52AM (#16950924)
      They know how to type into their search bars when they want to use a real search engine.
      Actually I have come across many users who do not understand the whole typing of URLs in the address bar and are completely dependent on Google for ALL web browsing because someone (probably one of us) set it as the default page. In fact one person I know was having a problem where Google was not opening up, so I asked if it was just google or if it was every page. He replied that google was the default page and that he can't get to any other page without it. When I asked if he tried typing in another web address into the address bar, he returned a blank and confused stare. I encountered other people who used this same method of web browsing and my head almost exploded the first time I encountered this.

      My point being (and I do have a point), that if the user is running vista, and he or she opens up IE7 (cause that's the default) and the first page they see is MS Live (cause that's the default), and MS Live is conveniently modeled to look almost exactly like google (can you blame them?), they probably won't even realize that it is NOT google. They will assume that this is the new Google Vista edition or something, and just continue on using MS Live. This is a serious threat to Google. Google needs to come up with a way to either compete directly in the way that MS is (which is what this article is about), or they need to educate users that they need to type in WWW.GOOGLE.COM for that Genuine Google Advantage (GGA, accept no substitutes. This would be interesting as it would involve some kind of media advertising which to my knowledge google has never done.
      • Re:Soooo ... (Score:4, Informative)

        by spellraiser ( 764337 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @12:19PM (#16951396) Journal

        You know, funnily enough, I never bothered to check out before I read your comment. I just did now, and boy does it look exactly like Google. They have copied their entire functionality and look. Like you said, a lot of people will probably think that this is the same old Google they've been using, or something close enough. I have absolutely no doubt that this is Microsoft's motivation. Then they have the gall to off-handedly suggest that Linux violates their patents. What a pathetic way to do business.

        Nevertheless, I'm still not that convinced that an OS is a viable means to fight this, although it would be exciting to watch. Microsoft just simply has too tight a grip on that market. Then again, seeing that they have essentially started a war on Google with this thing, maybe it's worth a shot.

    • billions of dollars invested?

      Google just dropped 2 (or was it 3) billion on YouTube. I don't think they are afraid of dropping a few billion to develop an operating system.
      But there will be plenty of warning as any such system will have to receive lots of testing. Expect to hear rumors from employees who are forced to use this OS for their everyday work.
    • I agree TFA is silly. But regarding

      Google is expected to release an entire operating system that's supposed to compete heads on with Windows Vista, which is the result of years and years of work and billions of dollars invested? Say what you will about Windows, but it certainly is a massive behemoth with sh*tloads of functionality. You don't just shake something like that out of your sleeve in a few months.

      You don't, but you don't need to. You can create your own Linux distro in no time.
    • by MeNeXT ( 200840 )
      Ubuntu, here today...Just combine marketing forces. Have it run on the Wii and PS3 as well as Intel. Bundle it with other FLOSS. Continue on the XP, MSOffice 2007, Win 95/98/200 compatibility and you just took out Vista with its additional restrictions. There are more compatibility issues between Vista and XP than Ubuntu and XP. That's from my experience with Vista, I could be wrong.
    • We bought a new Dell laptop at work and it come preinstalled with the Google toolbar in IE. That, of course, makes Google your default search provider. When you upgrade to IE 7 it's initial page asks if you want to change it to MS live search or leave it with your current provider (the default). After that it leaves you alone and uses Google.

      That's one of the ways Google is going to make sure their search engine stays preferred. But to suggest that they'd write a whole OS because of it is stupid. Google cou
    • They could buy Ubuntu.
  • is what it would be. It would be something that anyone with a web browser could start using instantly.

    They might then phase it into a complete operating system, perhaps by offering a lightweight Linux distro. I say lightweight, because web-based AJAX apps tend to be slower than native apps, so you want to reserve as much processing power as possible. And Google has a history of keeping things simple and lightweight.

    They already have an online word processor and spreadsheet program and about 1,000 other s
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @11:12AM (#16950224)
    They say it may be a web based desktop (aka WebOS), a full featured Linux distribution, or a lightweight Linux distro and/or BIOS.
    Yes, of course, the bulk of end users are just waiting for yet another Linux distro before they drop Windows.
    They predict that once Microsoft's Vista rolls out, it will present a direct threat to Google's Web properties and so therefore Google will start a more punchy strategy -- pushing Firefox and some form of Google OS in order to nullify Vista's potential impact."
    Good luck with that. Say, which major hardware manufacturers have said said they will support this still-to-be-spec'ed Google OS?

  • Give it games support and the mass market will follow it.

    Fail to do that and it wont get used by the people that advise other people on their software purchases.
    • No to be jerk, but "games support" has to come from the game makers, not the os makers. Linux has very good gaming infrastructure with OpenGL, SDL, and OpenAL ... it's just that most game makers don't bother to write games based on those components. Actually, the game engine makers are probably more to blame, but that's a whole other topic.
  • Google Apps (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @11:19AM (#16950330) Homepage
    Google Apps for My Domain is pretty close to being a "web-based desktop." combine this with the fact that they purchased Jot.

    Because all of the heavy processing and data storage is done on the Google end of that desktop, there is nothing that is stopping them from releasing a $250, all-solid-state appliance which consists of linux/X/firefox. But that's not going to find any buyers until a large number of people are comfortable trusting all of their data to Google, and its perpetual "beta" applications. Which won't be any time soon.

    If a product manufacturer is not confident enough with a product to call it anything but beta, you shouldn't trust that product.

  • I like to think that one day I could "log on" to any "computer", and see all my documents, email, and all the other data I use every day just appear on my "desktop" - or any other directory I put them in. The ultimate remote-desktop if you will. It could all be done from a full-screen web-browser, with the local OS just interfacing with a set of complex online APIs and clever client-side scripting to give the impression of real-time updates.

    In fact, I think 90% of users would love to see this too, but I see
  • by not already in use ( 972294 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @11:40AM (#16950726)
    These WebOS's that keep popping up are nothing more than proof-of-concept web pages that do nothing except prove that you can emulate the look and feel of a desktop OS using web technologies. They are in no way practical and anyone who thinks that a real company would pursue this option as a real OS solution rode the short bus as a child.

    Looking at things from Google's perspective, they should want to support whatever could help topple MS. They have a spot of Apple's board, so they are helping Apple from a strategic standpoint. I think it is also important to note that Google is a supporter of open source and Linux, and it would not make sense for them to release their own distro when they could help to support an existing and privatly funded distro that has already made huge inroads (relatively speaking of course, in comparison to other linux desktops) in the desktop market, that being Ubuntu. I personally would like to see google throw their weight behind Ubuntu, as it would really get linux out there as a viable alternative to windows.

    The idea that google is gonna release their own OS? Never gonna happen.
    • Looking at things from Google's perspective, they should want to support whatever could help topple MS. They have a spot of Apple's board, so they are helping Apple from a strategic standpoint

      Apple has a secure niche market and leverages the dominance of the Windows OS through iTunes to its own advantage. Microsoft holds a very strong hand everywhere else.

      Google is a brand name only in search and advertising. It has no presence in mass market retail. No experience in supporting the home market, small busi

  • You keep using that word...

    I do not think it means what you think it means. :-)

    That said, why would google be interested in their own OS? To increase their marketshare? That doesn't make any sense.

  • by nigham ( 792777 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @12:02PM (#16951094) Homepage
    Google is a minimalist company. The Google OS will probably be a basic OS with the ability to check mail, maintain basic documents, your calendar, photos, and your news. Oh wait... thats already here! Am I the only one who realizes how much we're in the browser these days? When I'm writing in Writely I actually try to Alt+Tab out to my browser... before realizing I'm in my browser already.
  • Apparently Robert Scoble picked up on this can check out his article here [].

    But then again, it's not nearly as funny as the comment he left on the ReadWrite blog:
    Google OS for laptops or desktops? You are smoking good crack.
    I think that's just about all that needs to be said here.

    - Scott
  • by EzInKy ( 115248 )
    If anyone had a shot at knocking Microsoft its perch it was AOL right after they purchased Netscape. They had the distribution channels and a user base willing to install and reboot into just about anything they were told.
  • I hope Google gives me a viable, affordable, OS choice sooner rather than later. Especially sooner than Vista. Given the outrageous Vista EULA terms [] being enforced one-way by a monopoly bully [], I'd like an alternative with a big enough company behind it to ensure stability and developer support.

    Microsoft seems to believe that we're forced to swallow whatever terms they offer, and in large part they've been right up to this point. I'd like that to change, and see this as the best alternative out there fo

    • The "OS" is simply a resource manager. It is a commodity.

      And I won't tell you to "switch to Linux". I will, however, give some support to the idea that Linux is closer to the "community supported commodity OS":

      I have a RAID 5 disk server. It is based on an old IBM 300 (Pentium II/266) system, with 128MB of memory (originally came with 64MB, and I put another strip in -- wasn't needed, but I had the strip in a drawer). It supplies SMB, NFS, and IMAP storage services (to four other computers). It runs headles
  • GoogleOS is going to be made of tubes.

    Essentially this will be a big improvement over the Microsoft Vista which is made of cups and string. Very tiny ones. The tubes will be able to move much bigger things. It isn't like trucks though. Tubes...

    Remember I said it first.


    Is it possible that what Google already has is a good guideline to where they are going? I mean clearly they have tried to keep things more or less device and os agnostic. They rely on browsers with standardized javascript (ECMAScript) bein
  • I know this is breaking the rules but I read the article... FTA:
    >They could also make a networked file system the default, instead of the complex UNIX file hierarchy of >Linux - which is another reason why Linux struggles in the mainstream desktop market.

    To which I must cry BULLSHIT. Most Windows users have no clue what their filesystem hierarchy consists of, much less how to navigate it. Most people think the desktop IS their computer, with the desktop background being their "ScreenSaver", and Intern
  • They are hiring kernel developers far and wide, i think google os is coming. If not sooner then later. So far there has been numerous postings with them. I had interview with them apparently they are looking for user interface people too. Go figure.
    • Re:Kernel developers (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @12:48PM (#16952074)
      I think its more likely that Google will just team up with an existing (preumably, some version of Linux) open-source OS distribution in a cross-promotion deal and by dedicating Google staff time to submitting code (and chrome) for it (and to work particularly on getting key applications working well on it): it provides the same insurance against Microsoft leveraging their OS/Browser position against Google that a "GoogleOS" would, and is what Google has essentially done in the browser space with their relationship with Mozilla (and RealNetworks).

  • Meebo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dodongo ( 412749 ) <chucksmith@alumn ... .edu minus punct> on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:12PM (#16952572) Homepage
    The first thing I thought of when I saw Meebo in action was "coolness."

    The second thing I thought was "Holy crap, an emulated windowing environment within a web browser."

    Presumably the backend to run IM clients was straightforward enough; there are several open implementations. The reason, I think, they took the time to set this up is to show that you can actually run a GUI within a browser window and have it be convincingly responsive. They've gotta be hoping Google and some other corporations are attracted to this decentralized, client-naive way of computing.

    In the right hands, this stands to be a boon for computing in general, as the OS becomes largely just another abstraction layer between the browser and the hardware. It would also be a boon for Linux as a viable desktop platform, because all you'd have to do is boot up into a web browser in kiosk mode to have functional (and cheap!) workstations, which are essentially OS-agnostic. Brilliant.
  • GoogleOS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Russ Steffen ( 263 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2006 @01:40PM (#16953178) Homepage
    I always figured that GoogleOS is what we'd be explaining to our children as the reason we're living underground in caves, hiding from the robotic Google Search Engines that scour the earth looking for humans to "index". Oh, and it's also trying to send Ahhhnold back in time to eliminate "the one called Sara Connor".

    Or maybe I've watched The Terminator a few too many times.
  • but tastier and better for you.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling