I’m a Web Evangelist for Opera, but this post does not represent the official Opera position.
So it’s no surprise that Google announced its Operating System:
we’re announcing a new project that’s a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It’s our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be…Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks…Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds.
As I wrote when they released the Chrome browser,
It seems to me that Chrome is designed to compete with Microsoft Windows as an Operating System and Office as an application: Microsoft’s biggest revenue earners (as far as I know).
For my wife, Dad and daughter, this is sure to be a winner. I already use my family’s Linux netbooks in preference to my own laptop for going on to the Web to check a sports result or train time, as their Acer Aspires take 15 seconds to boot up; my Vista laptop takes minutes.
So now Google dominates search, maps and will be running an Operating System (confusingly named identically with its browser). Why wouldn’t they want to do that? They believe, as I do, “for application developers, the web is the platform”.
Let’s not forget that Google also provides many Web applications – its docs suite, its maps, its analytics tools.
The Google annnouncement goes on to say
All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser.
It would be wrong if Google apps only ran on Chrome and Firefox on the Google OS (will it be possible to install another browser on machines running Google OS?) so I read this announcement as an implied promise that Google’s own apps will be tweaked to run across all standards-compliant browsers, including Safari and Opera. That would be a win for the Open Web.