Believe it or not, Google are pushing their own agenda; an agenda that speaks of the strength of the web as the best content distribution system. A strength that will usurp the current juggernaut, Apple’s App Store. It would be a misstep if Google, the undisputed leader on the internet, did not support what is largely, its playground.
Chrome OS, will be web-based and installed on a handful of forward-thinking netbooks by the end of this year. What implications has it for the iPhone? None directly – at least not for now. But, aside from its open-source roots, one of the biggest selling points of Chrome OS is that it will be a major encouragement for the only universal platform in existence: the web. No company owns the internet; at least not yet. However, while other reign their intellectual property in with hegemony on a certain platform, Google are working against that same idea. One thought process will succeed, and one will be forced, by necessity, to follow the other.
Since web browsers are used by a far greater percentage of the population than any one hardware platform, Google’s strategy appears to be one of consolidation and careful consideration. They know the internet. They do the internet. Indeed, to some, Google is the internet. A web-based OS is perhaps still too sci-fi of an idea for the current market; contemporary reality is still based on hard disks, personal files and toting everything in one hand. However, cloud computing, internet-based computers and shared resources are undoubtedly the future. Scary as it may sound, as computing devices competitively strive to become more integrated with online connectivity, items that have until now been considered necessary will undoubtedly fall by the wayside.
If Apple, as ever, violently oppose borderless computing, their App Store will have to fight very hard. Google is far more connected than Apple ever will be; an undertaking like Chrome OS – an operating system based on established technologies – can fail without significant financial problems or market share fallouts. Apple, however, stand to lose if Chrome OS is successful. The now teething Mobile Safari, Apple’s ownfast, webkit browser at which Google’s guns are aimed, could be the biggest competition to its baby, the App Store. Obviously, this quandary won’t sort itself in a few weeks, but when placed against any other competitor, Apple look good. Google, however, are that much bigger and steered by younger minds which, on the outside, seem less interested in protection an ageing technological hegemony.
Google’s Chrome OS has at least one caveat – if, as an open source OS, its main selling point is web-driven apps, it will remain just a software conduit. However, if and when Chrome OS or another similar platform really takes off, Google’s early investment will undoubtedly pay off.
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