“Let’s face it. Google pretty much owns the Internet landscape. Unless something truly unexpected happens within the web community, I see no real indicator that they’ll lose their market share anytime soon. This also opens them up to other online opportunities should they decide to pursue them. One such opportunity is believed to be the much famed idea of a Google OS. The rumors have been floating around back and forth for awhile now and many people believe that it’s simply a matter of time. Well I’m here to tell you that this is never going to happen; at least not in a form that we might expect to see, that is.”
Why Google OS Already Exists
About The Author
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2006-06-21 7:07 pmCaptain N.
Turn on Safari/Firefox/IE/Opera, and set your homepage to http://www.live.com or my.yahoo.com and bookmark your web Apps.
How’s that? 🙂
Edited 2006-06-21 19:08
Will there be a stop to the demand for local, personal storage that isn’t open to the outside world? I doubt it, and unless you want all of your data floating about on servers out there, which I would believe that few do, there’s always going to be demand for an “unattached” device in which to store and retrieve your data. Thus, the home box with some OS on it. Google does have a great leveraging position for keeping people profitable on the web, but they can’t turn the switch on and off at home… yet. That’s still MacRosoft’s job.
the idea of everything on the web is flawed. Nobody wants thin PCs hooked up to google doing everything on the world on it. There are several reasons why but mostly its very inefficient.
Unless if google is doing secure enterprise storage i don’t see why someone would use time and effort to upload their data to a remote network. With GMail–not many people care about 2GB’s of storage, who is going to use all of that? It will be 2GB of junk mail, and in that case no one would be using it.
Why would someone want to use an online office anyway? Theres not much point in it. Agan, It’s more efficient to run clients on PCs and network that way. Why don’t people use web-based messengers instead of PC-based ones?
Last I saw, google only owned a larg eportion of the search marketshare–nothing much else. They aren’t even the most visited website in the world. Now if they got into desktop software and ecommerce, then you’d really have something. Like Windows Live–which will fail because its really stupid and pointless. These guys are using philosophy from netscape–which failed (everyone upgraded to IE because netscape sucked at the time) and is mostly dead.
By the way, Google uses a customized OS for their network. Why couldn’t google package that up and sell it? Maybe it’s because they aren’t an OS company because they don’t see a good profit margin.
Edited 2006-06-21 14:17
2006-06-21 2:59 pmma_d
Not to mention dependance. It’s one thing to depend on google for your searches, knowing others depend on similar sites which you could switch to. And it’s another to depend on it to keep your data.
Many of us already do it for e-mail, and we haven’t been screwed much yet. But what happens if Google is down next weekend and you need to read that memo you have on your gmail? Think it’s impossible, it’s not. It’s highly unlikely. But it’s much more likely that in 10 years google may no longer be in business, what if you had 10 years of documents stored with them and they get lost in the bankruptcy?
Besides that, to depend on Google for your interfaces is to depend on Google, your ISP, their line host, Google’s line host, your web browser (which wasn’t designed for heavy interfaces but pages), and your OS.
To depend on a local application is simply your OS and your application, which was designed for heavy interfaces.
Besides, I probably use wikipedia to search more often than Google these days. Although I often use google to index wikipedia because wikipedia is too loaded.
2006-06-21 7:11 pmrm6990
I use POP3 to download all my incoming and outgoing messages on Gmail once every week or two. Then, if Google goes bankrupt (unlikely in the near future) or goes down, I do have a copy of all my emails on local storage, and if I’m away from home or on another computer, I have access to all of my emails anyways. Problem solved.
I use Ical on my Mac to do the exact same thing with Google Calendar, since Gcal offers syncing via the ical file format.
I will continue to use online services, as long as they offer some form of local backup mechanism, which most of Google’s services do already.
2006-06-21 7:33 pmma_d
Yea, I use pop3 for my gmail as well. But that’s not really using gmail, because I use it simply to use a local mail client.
There’s always the issue of applications which don’t offer a local backup method and the question of a lack of local applications for the problem so that local backups don’t do you much good without the online service. This hasn’t propped up yet, but I imagine it will if online applications grow in popularity to be on par with local applications.
Please, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!
Suddenly awake to find you had it all along.
The problem with the alleged ‘Google OS’ that the author is talking about is that you need to have a machine that is Internet-Ready… For that you need an real operating system ( such as Linux, OS X, Windows, BeOS, React OS, etc… ) and a High-Speed Internet Connection (Try to use Google Map with a 56K Modem!)
While Google does have a customized OS for their server farm, they do not provide an OS for the Desktop use and will probably not wander in this space, leaving that to Microsoft, Apple or other companies that manage Linux Distros.
“When bundled with their Web apps, they have a great alternative to downloading and installing OS specific applications. Based on this, any concerns with software compatibility is limited to commonly used web browsers. Needless to say, it’s a brilliant strategy. Too bad Microsoft did not figure it out until it was already too late.”
Microsoft already figured it out, and was smart enough to kill it back when Netscape tried it. Because it would threaten them..if it ever became a practical, worthwhile technology.
Which won’t happen for a while. There’s a reason the downloadable version of Google Earth has more features than the AJAX version.
Besides, when did having a collection of applications equate to having a pseudo-OS? Where’s the talk about Adobe-OS?
Edited 2006-06-21 14:37
What is the author trying to say? Does he even know what OS is? Internet ready OS? I am definitely going to write my next C code on Web.. Ha Ha….. Get a life!
2006-06-21 8:47 pmShannara
Until the people who are running OSNews get off their butts and fix the voting system, I will keep commenting on it. Guys, Please fix the website! This is irritating not being able to place votes due to a bug you guys refused to fix!
BAck on topic ..
This deserves a mod up not a mod down .. Why are slashdot trolls coming here?
.. they aren’t good on everything. I mean, like the guy said: I use Wikipedia a lot to search things, as it will return more relevant results than Google. Google Chat/Talk did not replace MSN/Skype… Google Image Search sucks for pr0n, Altavista is far superior So yeah, Google is cool, and I use Gmail, but I don’t think I’d run GooglOS.
EDIT: … unless it becomes standard, of course.
Edited 2006-06-21 15:50
An interesting side-effect is to boost competition in the OS market: if a big amount of people were to stop using Word, Excel, MSN Messenger, Outlook, in favor of their web-based counterparts (Writely, Google Spreadsheets, Google chat, Gmail, Google News), the transition from Windows to something else (Mac, Linux) would become much easier and cheaper.
So alternative OS’s could receive a big boost in market share as an indirect result of Google’s success.
Google doesn’t need an OS, they need to extend the application platform they’re already building upon.
How about a self-contained Google appliance that can be plugged into a small-mid sized business network with an SSL-based portal for employees? Nothing new there, a lot of companies are doing it.
But how about further developing those Ajax apps, presenting some sort of virtual file management interface and offering indexing of corp documents, internal portal management etc.
Extend the framework to work with existing management/security infrastructures.
Suddenly you’ve got a simple to deploy solution for extending remote application capability for your employees using any web browser, without having to deal with vpn headaches, remote application installation or things like Citrix that require client-end compatibility. It’s a google-like web portal to your employees, but on the backend it’s integrated into your existing infrastructure and not into Google’s datacenter.
Instead of turning ad revenue, turn it into a services based model.
I don’t think it’s too far fetched, the pieces pretty much exist today, the SSL vpn market is outpacing conventional vpn’s so customers are certainly accepting of the technology, and google is in a good place to leverage their strength in using the browser as a platform, rather than, well, a browser.
But hell, with google, who knows.
Just my 2c…
2006-06-21 5:17 pms-peter
You may want to have a look at their enterprise solutions:
So far, it’s mostly search-oriented, but I’d guess we’ll see “Google Office” and whatnot lined up there as soon as they are enterprise-ready.
Reading the article, I couldn’t help making a comparison with the star wars movie where the chancellor of the nations slowly grabbed more and more powers ultimately becoming the evil emperor.
Now I am not comparing Google with the evil emperor of star wars fame. And surely Google in its present form is a do gooder. No doubt about it. But then power has a habit of adversely affecting people and institutions who wield it and absolute power corrupts them.
That is why even with all its drawbacks, democracy is favoured by most freedom loving people. In a democracy, it is difficult for one person or a group to hang on to power for ever and so they will be cautious about the decisions they take.
I feel that for any good deal for the netizens, no one firm should dominate the stage rather there should always be space for competition.
The operating system is technically the kernel so Google doesn’t need to reinvent this but just use the linux kernel. Take your basic Fedora packages, throw on a stripped down version of Gnome, add a Google Ajax extension that adds a sidebar for Google online applications. Add Google web applications as bookmarks to Firefox and you would have a ‘Google OS’.
This is good news for Linux users since newbies wouldn’t have to worry about installing or updating applications. I have tried Google spreadsheet but I prefer a local version of Open Office running since it is faster. It is an interesting trend though to see the OS as just a framework for accesing online web applications. Maybe Sun was right after all the network is the computer — they just pushed the idea before the market was ready for it.
The reality though is that people are used to using desktop applications and it would take time to move to using web based applications. Issues such as network speed, data storage and security would come to mind as problems to address. Also the idea of synchonizing desktop data with web application data would have to be resolved. This way you could disconnect from the network and bring you data with you and when you reconnect it could transparently update the web data.
Edited 2006-06-21 16:31
Google has some fairly cool things beyond search, like Google Earth, Google gadgets/desktop, etc.
But the web apps suck, plain and simple.
I tried Google spreadsheet the other day, and it was awfull. It’s not that it’s bad technology – it’s quite a good AJAX type of app – it’s that you can’t really have a full featured, high performing spreadsheet that is web/AJAX based. The performance problems are just too big to overcome. And you can only do so much, feature wise, with AJAX.
Web based apps have been espoused for many years as the MS killer, that they would replace equivelant desktop apps. It just isn’t going to happen. Nobody wants their data stored by some third party, and nobody wants the performance and feature hit.
Web based apps are good for some things, like online mail, Google Maps, and large internal corporate apps (where ease and low cost of deployment becomes a big win). But when it comes to heavy hitting desktop apps, web apps will never be a suitable replacement.
So, the so called “Google OS”, which is actually their collection of web apps, is mostly a pipe dream.
Correct me if if I’m wrong, but…
It seems to me the wishful thinking about a Google OS revolved around the idea that this was the one technology company with enough money to compete with Microsoft head-on in the same niche, commodity operating systems, and that with their history of success, they’d almost have to come up with something prettier and more secure than Windows.
It’s a relatively new concept that an OS even come with a suite of apps. I don’t think our memory is so short-term that we’ll fall for someone saying an OS can be nothing but apps. Somehow, an article about web-based e-mail and a crippled Jabber client feels like a bait-n-switch.
Nobody wants their data stored by some third party, and nobody wants the performance and feature hit.
So true. I worked for a starup company that provided web based supply chain management coded in Java. One day we found out our Sun box had been hacked and rooted. We had pretty good security people too. The short version of the story was that we couldn’t sell the idea of companies sending out data to be processed via the web and the company closed 2 years later. None of the major companies we worked with would do it. Now that I look back at it their fears were justified. Servers get hacked, browser security can be compromised, dishonest employees are tempted by insider trading. It is a lot less complex and more secure to rely on local networks to run applications.
Now, if he’d said that Google won’t do an OS because it doesn’t need to, it can just release apps, then I might be more convinced he was a serious commentator. Google in no sense already have an OS (for the home user’s computer). At best they have a partial desktop environment (omitting any thought of window managers and such).
This undermines the other points that he makes that might merit serious consideration: Google’s market dominance, are we seeing the birth of a behemoth? Of course these can hardly be considered new or original questions.
Edited 2006-06-21 17:39
For end users, performance, appearance, and features are always important.
Unfortunately, Web apps don’t deliver as much of the above as regular desktop apps, written typically in C/C++, typically using Win32, QT, GTK (or something else), are capable of.
Same goes with stuff written in Java or .Net. Mangaged/Garbage collected code simply is not as capable of delivering a fast, rich user experience as native code can.
That’s why most retailware, large commercial software, games, and systems level stuff is still written in C or C++, in spite of the potential productivity or ease of deployment gains from web apps or managed code.
Googlenux…Googlebuntu. Anything but Microsoft.
2006-06-21 6:54 pmrockwell
// Anything but Microsoft.//
which is *exactly* what Google(soft) is turning into, o ye of short sight.
Alot of people believe that Google will be #1 for a long time and it may be true, but it may also be false.
I really don’t understand Google’s strategy. To me, they are wasting their time writing applications with unefficient technologies. Everything I tried from them wasn’t fun to use.
I think Google should promote a new standard for Web applications. There’s a need for a new way of making web pages. Something less painful than HTML+CSS. And for web applications, even if I’m not the biggest Java fan out there, it may be the way to go. And there’re even open source implementations of it! Why would one write a web applications with AJAX when he could write it with a real programming language like Java? It really bothers me. Maybe they think people arent going to install Java on their machine? That’s why someone like Google should push the technology. Them and the Mozilla foundation.
Maybe people are just scared to run applications directly on their machine? Like the whole ActiveX nightmare? Well, I think it’s possible to make something secure. I’m sure Java is secure enough! .NET too!
2006-06-21 9:04 pmJeffS
First I said Google’s real competition was Windows Live:
Then, I added specifics like personalized homepage, online IM client, webmail, widget set, and other things mentioned at http://ideas.live.com/ :
And finally, I wrote a little piece I called ” The Google IS the computer”, taking on the same basic premise as this article, that online services is the new OS layer :
All I can say now is… told you so. Now, granted, the “traditional” local OS layer is still a requirement (how could it now be?), but it has largely become reduced to “anything that supports our browser requirement will do”, and as such is largely interchangeable and anonymous. The OS your desktop is running can be a personal choice, and for the most part, doesn’t matter – as far as Google services are concerned.
So what is the idea of calling it Google OS if you have to have another OS in the bottom running an Browser or architecture that Google software carn run in?
To call it an OS, it has to be bootable on your PC/mac.
Naysayers and protractors are out in force again. If Google has an OS, then more power to them. If they’re just a service company or an advertising company, more power to them. I personally like the idea of them providing the OS online, but letting you save to your own harddrive at home. I think I read that somewhere… some commentary somewhere.
Point is, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo!, or whoever are worried about what every other company is worried about… the bottom line. Microsoft currently has the OS market cornered. They’re losing ground, but they will never dissappear unless they do something drastically stupid.
Google should be expected to look out for itself. That’s what companies do. That doesn’t make them the enemy. It just makes them a typical company.
When will Google or some other company release an online web browser service!!! You just use Firefox to access the online browser (fully AJAX-enabled) and surf the …
It’s amazing that something that was designed for the exchange of information on a grand scale is becomming what many people invision to be the new computing environment. Frankly I think that’s a bad idea.
We already have a level of abstraction that’s more than adequate. It’s called the operating system and it provides a good computing platform with abstraction from the hardware for developers and end users. Operating systems form the base of what we run on our computers today, applications use the APIs for the operating systems, and for portability from one platform to another we have toolkits like wxWidgets, FOX, GTK and Qt which are already quite good and could only get better with more interest.
Of course big businesses weren’t satisfied with having toolkits, they wanted to be able to have a program written for one big iron server that would run on another completely different one with a minimum of money lost. For them companies developed langauges that are not only compiled, but then interpreted as well. Take for example Java and Microsoft’s .net platforms which were yet another level of abstraction piled on top of the OS. Of course it wasn’t the end user that brought that to the desktop and workstation environment, it was the developers who thought “gee that’s neat, imagine if I only had to compile my program once and it could then run on any computer”, and then we wound up running Java applications on our desktops and workstations despite the fact that Sun and Microsoft’s graphical frontends to those languages are dog slow. Now that the idea’s been tried with reasonable acceptance we are seeing a greater push for Java and .net as the new industry standard for application development. Of course there are some bandages for that slow graphical performance, and guess what, it comes from third party add ons that use either the native windowing toolkit or a portable one, thus removing the absolutely transparent portability of that Java or .net application. The idea of transparently portable applications has a certain appeal, in fact I cut my teeth on Java before switching to C++, but because of the disadvantages of Java and MSIL I’d rather stick to natively compiled languages and applications and I will personally resist any switch by the software industry even if it means being a self employed independent developer rather than having the convenient of a job.
Of course, as my english teacher recently demonstrated, my line of though is often dismissed as crazy doomsday propaganda by lay people who want neither to realize, nor deal with the dangers that lye ahead on the path they choose. Then of course there’s literate people who like to think things will turn out ok, and that’s possible too, but it doesn’t hurt to be too careful.
The only thing they need is to port Grand Theft Auto to AJAX so it can run from the web.
Once upon a time there existed commercial internetworks that you attached to via what amounted to thin clients. All of your data and all of your computation was on some remote machine that could be anywhere in the world. The one I used first was called Cybernet, run by a company called CDC (Control Data Corporation.)
“GoogleOS”, as envisioned by the author, would be a 30 year step backwards.
For today’s kids, a computer that isn’t connected to the Internet will evermore look like an oddity. What mostly strikes me is how desktop applications are becoming remote; and all these tools have become increasingly democratic over one decade. The main advantage being the cross platform compatibility of the Internet. As long as a browser is standard-compliant, one can have access to all these “desktop” applications online.
People now write down thoughts (Blogger), store pictures (Flickr) and videos (YouTube) on a remote machine, one can also to listen to remote sound files. With fast connections and streaming, the need to download most of this kind of content might dissapear There are already online word processing tools and Google recently added its online spreadsheet editor.
Soon the computer desktop and the Internet might become one thing, or more precisely, personal computers might simply become clients. But that’s only my take on the matter.
the missing link would be an ajax web2.0 start page that looks like a desktop with a start-like menu that links to their web applications.