Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 3rd Jan 2006 10:28 UTC, submitted by sean batten
Google The LA Times is speculating the arrival of a Google PC running an OS also made by Google. "Sources say Google has been in negotiations with Wal-Mart, among other retailers, to sell a Google PC. The machine would run an operating system created by Google, not Microsoft's Windows, which is one reason it would be so cheap - perhaps as little as a couple of hundred dollars." They also say that Larry Page, Google's co-founder and president of products, will give a keynote speech at CES coming Friday, announcing all this.
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RE: Desktop is dead anyway
by flypig on Tue 3rd Jan 2006 15:35 UTC in reply to "Desktop is dead anyway"
flypig
Member since:
2005-07-13

I agree that a thin client seems the most likely scenario. If Google is to release a machine, why not a "network computer"? It might well run Linux, but probably the OS it uses won't be apparent from the user perspective at all.

The only problem is that this is the same thing Oracle tried in the nineties ( http://tinyurl.com/72lne ) with Sun also involved ( http://tinyurl.com/d72mn ) and it never took off. Is the world more ready for this now, I wonder?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Desktop is dead anyway
by elsewhere on Tue 3rd Jan 2006 17:12 in reply to "RE: Desktop is dead anyway"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

I agree that a thin client seems the most likely scenario. If Google is to release a machine, why not a "network computer"? It might well run Linux, but probably the OS it uses won't be apparent from the user perspective at all.

Whole-heartedly agree as well. I'm not entirely convinced this is more than a lofty rumour, but if there is any truth to it then it's hard to believe Google would be going into the PC market.

Google's whole mission since expanding beyond simple web search has been to reduce to relevance of the OS in general, which is what puts them at great odds with MS who keeps trying to make the rich client PC more and more relevant.

I don't think it's entirely inconceivable that they would release a cool little x86 based platform that would run a transparent version of linux but centered around web-centric applications (information retrieval, media searching/streaming, IM, email, net based storage etc.) More along the lines of something to stick in your living room than to replace the desktop in your den. The hardware requirements for that type of useage would be very reasonable, and using off-the-shelf components would probably create a decent pricepoint. And a company like Dell would be more than happy to create it for them as cost-effectively as possible, or it could be outsourced to Asia like every other manufacturer does to keep the pricepoint down.

I don't understand why people think linux wouldn't make sense. It would make perfect sense, they could take a stripped down vanilla distribution, they certainly have the inhouse linux expertise and it wouldn't make business sense to re-invent the wheel. There's no "risk" to using an OSS platform. A stable linux distro running on properly supported hardware would be virtually bulletproof for appliance useage, I doubt they would do anything cutting edge with the hardware. They could certainly license the necessary multimedia codecs as well, to keep everything clean and integrated. I don't see where the downside to GPL is in that scenario? Use Debian. Roll their own LFS. Whatever they did would be stripped down and optimized for that specific platform, so who cares? If I'm not mistaken, they're using linux for their enterprise Google search appliances anyways.

Their apps, on the other hand, would no doubt be locked down. They have Qt development licenses, so nothing would prevent them from releasing proprietary Qt-based apps. The LGPL GTK option is always there as well.

It's all absolute speculation, but I really can't believe Google would enter the desktop OS market. A thin-client appliance I can see, but not a desktop. It would be suicide, even for Google.

The only problem is that this is the same thing Oracle tried in the nineties ( http://tinyurl.com/72lne ) with Sun also involved ( http://tinyurl.com/d72mn ) and it never took off. Is the world more ready for this now, I wonder?

Maybe. Those ideas were definitely ahead of their time, not to say that this is necessarily the right time either. Broadband is in much wider adoption, and the idea of web- or server-oriented architecture is a little more accepted. No doubt it would be positioned as a more "secure" way to use the net. Everything google is doing now is server-based anyways. Maybe a partnership with some broadband ISP's to create a bundle deal. Then there's always their partnership agreement with AOL to consider as well. Who knows? We'll have to wait and see...

Reply Parent Score: 1

sean batten Member since:
2005-07-06

It'll be a locked down box that plugs into your tv and provides access to google services.

A quick look at Google Base (base.google.com) shows you where Google is heading. With topics like recipes, housing, jobs, services and wanted ads it's clear that Google want to be your local paper. A lightweight Solaris/Java/Ajax box fits provides the perfect way for Google to serve this up to you.

Sun have been here before and failed, but I bet they've learnt from their (and others) mistakes. Sun have the know-how and Google have the services (chat, email, search etc). Together they make a perfect fit for a commodity home pc.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Lumbergh Member since:
2005-06-29

Their apps, on the other hand, would no doubt be locked down. They have Qt development licenses, so nothing would prevent them from releasing proprietary Qt-based apps. The LGPL GTK option is always there as well.

No, the more likely option is that they wouldn't bother playing ball with those two groups and write their own toolkit. They have ample resources to do it.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Desktop is dead anyway
by ma_d on Tue 3rd Jan 2006 17:18 in reply to "RE: Desktop is dead anyway"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Because: People in the market for a cheap computer don't have fast enough internet connections for a network based system.
Unless they're good with terminals!

The idea of a big shared distributed computer that everybody gets an account on to use in various ways from your own machine sounds pretty reasonable to me though.

Reply Parent Score: 1

sean batten Member since:
2005-07-06

People in the market for a cheap computer don't have fast enough internet connections for a network based system.

But there are plenty of people who can afford fast internet access but know nothing about computers. I know plenty of people who fall into this bracket. They don't buy a computer because they feel they don't know enough about them to use one. A cheap computer has that "I'll give it a go" air about it unlike a full blown (600) PC

Reply Parent Score: 1