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Why Google Needs To Pull the Plug On Chrome OS 266

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the pull-tha-stringzz dept.
judeancodersfront writes "It's time for Google to realize that it is way too early to be pushing an OS that only provides a browser. If Chrome OS fails on netbooks it will just make OEMs even more hesitant to use a Linux-based OS instead of Windows. Google should instead build upon its already successful Android platform and provide a system that offers local applications."
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Why Google Needs To Pull the Plug On Chrome OS

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @10:32AM (#32169034) Journal
    This guy makes a lot of assumptions.

    Though it looks like Chrome will have a basic media player the dependence on the internet for applications will be too limiting for the typical user.

    So you're telling me that you know for sure I won't be able to bring up Google Docs and access my Google docs when I have no internet connection? Because right now I can do that in the Chrome Browser with Google Gears and they are working on HTML5 which is supposed to natively support this "offline" functionality. But what you're telling me is that they plan on dropping this paradigm?

    No local printing

    All I've heard is that Google Cloud Print and the proxy service for your printer plans to be bundled with Chrome OS. I've not heard whether it's opt-in, opt-out, mandatory or if -- shock of all shocks -- they figure out a way to make it work like Google Gears.

    That’s some advanced technoshit when I have to contact a server in California if I want to print a bbq recipe from a printer that is 2 feet away from me.

    Google Cloud Print aims to make printing from any online device to any printer available. Apart from what you so eloquently claim, they did not set bricking your printer as a goal. Nor did they express a desire to inhibit your ability to print on your printer from your local machine directly. If Google Cloud Print is not opt-in on Chrome OS, I will be just as critical as you but there's no indication one way or the other yet.

    Every consumer OS has a browser. Selling an OS based on the fact that it has a browser is like selling a car based on the doors. Consumers will be confused when they are told that Chrome OS is just a browser. Just a browser?

    And let the terrible analogies flow. Wrap your mind around this: what if the consumer just wants a netbook to surf the internet and do word processing? Like me and my netbook.

    Why can’t I access local files? This netbook actually does less than my cell phone?

    Is it that you can't access local files or that you can't discern between work that's being stored and cached locally versus being out on the cloud? One may claim that this simplifies the user experience. Who cares where it is? I can access it.

    A DS even lets you play local MP3 files.

    You just blew my mind. I've had a Nintendo DS for several years without this ability ... in fact, I don't even thing there's a way to store data of that size on my DS. What on earth are you talking about?

    The $300-$400 price point

    Seriously? People belly-up to pay top dollar for quality and components that come with an Apple Product and then you quibble when Google offers something at a similar price with possibly better quality and components?

    Android

    While Android could run on netbooks, all the development I've done for it is through Google developed Java libraries. It's a trimmed down version of Linux so much so that I'm not sure the full functionality of Linux could be harnessed. I personally don't think the advantages that these modifications hold for handhelds would translate well to netbooks.

    Jerkface Playhouse indeed.

  • I Disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @10:33AM (#32169056)
    The only way we're going to get simple web "appliances" is if someone with muscle and money starts pushing them now.

    Google has the resources and the "good name" (at least for now) to make this happen. Simple, safe & secure web appliances will make the basics of e-mail, web surfing and reading common format documents cheap and easy for everyone (this includes the poorer countries of the world). Document & content creation are down the road, but for right now let's get this moving in the right direction.
  • Nah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @10:34AM (#32169080)

    Google has built an empire on having the balls to do stuff that the industry thinks it's "way too early" to do.

    The only thing that makes it too early is that no one has done it right yet.

    Google already provides web versions of office apps, RSS readers/players, photo management, email (naturally), and a ton of other things. From my understanding, online MP3 and eBook repositories are in the works that would allow you to stream that content from centralized storage.

    Essentially, they're preparing to position this thing so that 99% of what people need to do on a computer will be available on this, and since it's all web-based, you effectively get roaming desktop on any ChromeOS terminal you sit down to.

    Besides, I'm willing to bet that while Google themselves won't be making them, they will quite likely setup some ability to install 3rd party applications.

  • by wesw02 (846056) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @10:35AM (#32169088)
    I agree with the assumption that failure of Chrome OS could be harmful to the general comfort of using Linux-Based OS's however I think substituting Android is almost as bad of an idea. Don't get me wrong, I love android, I own two android phones and have developed a few apps for the platform. I just think you should use the right tool for the right job and putting Android on netbooks doesn't fit.
  • Linux? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @10:41AM (#32169168)

    If Chrome OS fails on netbooks it will just make OEMs even more hesitant to use a Linux-based OS instead of Windows.

    Hesitant to use a Linux-based OS? Doubtful. If Chrome OS fails, OEMs might be hesitant to use a Google-developed OS on future products but I don't think it'll impact their view of Linux-based OSes one bit. Either they're open to them or they aren't - the success or failure of Chrome won't change that. What will change is their opinion on Google's offerings. Google should hold off to make sure their foray into the OS market doesn't die before they get a chance to succeed. Unlike the web, you can't release a beta OS into the market and fix it until it works. Consumers who are buying products won't wait around for you to get it right. On the web, sure - knock yourself out. Take a few years to polish the product until you're happy and content to remove the beta tag. On people's computers, either a person is enough of a tinkerer that they'll play with their OS more than Google will or they just want their computer to work and will expect the OS to be finished (as much as can be reasonably expected) from the get-go.

    Chrome will have no impact, positive nor negative, upon anyone's opinion of Linux-based OSes. It will only impact people's opinions on Google's OS offerings.

  • by aussersterne (212916) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @10:43AM (#32169200) Homepage

    innovation, which is in fact nothing more than doing the "wrong" thing at the "wrong" time in a way that soon comes to be lauded as "right" in retrospect.

  • Wrong? maybe. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @10:49AM (#32169272)

    Thats what people said about Android, and Android had 28% of the smart phone market... (The Iphone has 21%)

  • Re:I Disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @10:52AM (#32169320) Homepage Journal

    We have them.
    They are called Android, WebOS, and iPhone phones. And now the iPad.

    Plus it is just a terrible idea that is crippled from the start.
    Lets take two device.
    1. Chrome OS
    and
    2. Android.

    From the end user point of view what can Chrome do that Android can not?
    I am sure that the Web Apps that run on Chrome OS will work just as well on the Android browser. Unless Google cripples Android which I do not see.
    So the Android smartbook can run all the apps that Chrome OS will
    So 1 point for each Chrome and Android.
    What about all the Android apps that are available on the market place? Well Chrome will not run them but Android will.
    So 1 point for Android and zero for Chrome OS.

    Now from a developers point of view.
    If they want to make a web app do they target Chrome OS or Android? Well no need to choose. Both work just fine. So here is a tie.
    Now suppose the developer doesn't want to run a server? He just wants to write an app. Chrome OS is out of luck but Android is just fine. Plus one for android.
    Suppose the developer wants to sell the app and not depend on advertising? Well the develper could offer subscriptions on line but it is so much easier to just sell the app. another for android.

    Suppose the developer wants the app to only work on a lan that doesn't have an internet connection? You may be able to do something with Gears but again an app is just a clean simple solution.

    A browser only OS is a limited OS.
    Any gains in ease of use will be very limited compared to what we have already gotten with smart phones.

    Chrome OS is a case of philosophy over functionality and to be honest IMHO greed. Google thinks it can make more money off of ads than it has off of apps IMHO.

  • by ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @10:58AM (#32169390)
    I feel like I'm iGodwin'ing this discussion, but it's going to happen eventually. Isn't Android on a netbook essentially the (apparently successful) idea behind the iPad? You and I may decry its applicability, but the gadget-crazed masses seem to love it. A smart-phone OS essentially delivers a web browser and just a little something extra through installation of programmable apps. This is apparently all people want from a 'netbook'. I think* Android would actually be better than iPhone OS in this regard, if only because it is the more open platform.

    *Historically, the device market tends to disagree with me.
  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:00AM (#32169422) Homepage Journal

    The best Slashdot article within the past week was someone stating that since Netbook sales exploded, but then the growth curve slowed down in June of 2009, it was all because of the iPad, which was announced in January of 2010.

    Netbooks were clearly dead as a doornail, despite not only still selling, but continuing to GROW in year-over-year sales.

    The logic of that article still hurts my brain.

  • Too early? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drumcat (1659893) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:04AM (#32169470)
    Wait, I'm to believe that a large company that is based around a user living in their browser should actually care what OEMs think? So you're telling me that Google should actually stop developing a competitive operating system because *this guy* thinks that they'd be better suited to wait 5-10 years to do something? Let's stop innovating because a nay-sayer thinks it may harm their prospects. BRILLIANT!
  • um What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:07AM (#32169510) Journal

    If Chrome OS fails on netbooks it will just make OEMs even more hesitant to use a Linux-based OS instead of Windows.

    OEMs are not hesitant to use a Linux-based OS on netbooks. They started off with it. The problem was that most of the target market wanted Windows. Those customers were not comfortable with the various Linux distributions being used and they couldn't run the applications they wanted. OEMs are out to make money. Windows may cut into the per unit margin, but if they sell enough units then the OEMs make up the difference in volume.

  • Re:Linux (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:08AM (#32169530)
    Not really. Anyone who actually examined the link target would see the "goatkcd" in the URL (and the "I'm Feeling Lucky" lets you know you're not actually visiting Google itself).
  • by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:09AM (#32169546)

    I still think ChromeOS needs to disappear, but I have to admit you've brought up good counter arguments. I'll still have to agree with the original point that its going to cause consumer confusion and frustration. I also realize that I'm not a normal user and probably want too many things that just aren't on the web yet ... unless someone can find me a full CAD/CAM/CNC controller solution done in HTML5 (Obviously not the target market) then I could switch my shop computer to ChromeOS and be happy.

    I realize thats an extreme case, but I think you're still going to have that problem for normal users. It won't be the lack of CAD software, but there's going to be 'something' for a long time I think.

  • Re:Nah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:17AM (#32169670)

    We've yet to see whether 3rd party native apps are allowed yet or not (my bet is that they will), but you're forgetting the advantage here: the entire desktop is setup with web-usage in mind.

    I wouldn't be surprised if even 3rd party executables were distributed in a byte-code style fashion and could download and run on any system you logged on from.

    Having a single sign on, to any ChromeOS system, where all my apps, all my bookmarks, all my media, and everything was available anywhere with a net connection, would be HUGE. Regardless of if I'm working from my phone, netbook, desktop, work system, friend's computer, whatever.

    As to mobile data plans - that's already becoming ubiqitous. Tons of people are using their mobile data plans more than their actual cell plans now. If any part of your argument is that a mobile data plan would be required then you're just arguing against change, and uselessly. It echoes the same arguments people once had against purchasing internet plans for their home computers back in the mid 90's. Fast forward to today, and no one makes that argument anymore because internet connections are useful enough that everyone has them.

    As to roaming data charges overseas, honestly, what percentage of the market needs that? Do you think that this percentage (which I know is non-zero, but still somewhat small compared to the entire population) is enough to derail an ENTIRE PLATFORM, or is it more likely that that small subset of users just gets a full OS on their netbook and is happy?

    This fit will NOT work for everyone. Heck I'm not convinced that even if it took off that I personally wouldn't just use ChromeOS from within a VM on a full system (best of both worlds), but there is a lot of promise in it.

  • Why limit choices? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by steveaustin1971 (1094329) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:32AM (#32169886)
    "Because it might hinder linux" is a pretty stupid reason for dumping the chrome OS. I don't know if you realize this or not, but the reasons for not using linux aren't limited to it not being available or known to the masses. At this point most people know what it is, and many people have tried it. I had it on my netbook pre-installed, and I installed windows 7 instead. Why? It saves me a lot of time and effort to run windows over linux. I find applications I need more quickly, never have installation issues or driver issues, all my devices work with it as is, and I have far more options. Linux is a very solid OS, but its really not a good choice for many people who could care less about learning it or spending more than 5 minutes configuring their software. My netbook is a tool I use for work, and I don't particularly enjoy my time using it. I would much rather be doing something else, so spending extra time on it, to me, is just not something I am willing to do. I have very rarely had virus or security issues because I just don't run around clicking on random crap online, so the whole "security" issue is just not there for me.
  • Re:um What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:32AM (#32169888)

    To continue your thought, if discomfort with the interface was the issue with Linux netbooks, then it's actually an argument in favour of Chrome OS. If it's web-based, then the "apps" and interface are already second nature to the user.

  • Consider that the only thing the user is intended to have access to is the browser. That doesn't mean it's the only thing running on the box. What's stopping google from making Chrome OS contain a LAMP stack, or similar, and writing more complex applications that won't fit entirely in the browser. Hmm, my sources say nothing. I've been dabbling in drupal off an on with the intent of using it as the basis for various applications which would run in a browser (obviously) on a machine which basically just runs Chromium with some nice plugins. Kind of waiting for D7 so I can get proper sqlite support so I don't need an RDBMS. The machine would also contain, among other pieces of software designed to operate in the background, UMN mapserver. If I write some simple daemon to make GPS location available to the browser then it's easy enough to use the browser for mapping (if not navigation, yet.) Google could do the same sort of thing, except probably a lot more gracefully...

  • by buback (144189) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:39AM (#32170010)

    I don't know who this guy is. He might be some teenager sitting in his parents basement. There's no explanation in the post why i should care what this guy thinks. And it is just one guy; it's not like this is a link to an article about how "some study finds devs hate Chrome OS." It's just a blog post.

    Why is this on Slashdot?

  • Re:I Disagree (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:43AM (#32170066)

    From the end user point of view what can Chrome do that Android can not?

    What can an Android device do that a PC can't? You're asking the wrong questions.

    A device that has no storage, no potential infections, no installable software ... nothing but a UI and an internet connection. It's the "toaster" of computers. The easier and safer you make them the more they will end up in every room of every home.

    They are not replacements for Android devices, iPads, etc ... nor replacements for full blown computers. Ask a parent if they want their 6 y/o using a controllable "dumb" internet terminal appliance or anything else and they'll tell you "safe and dumb as possible".

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:44AM (#32170086) Journal

    The newest DS, the XL has a standard SD card slot, for playing music from. Why you would want to do that I am not sure, as there are cheaper and superior players around but it can be done.

    This Jerkface Playhouse guy is just windows noob upset that the world he knows a tiny bit of is collapsing around him. People like that react with fear and hostility to anything new.

    I have no idea if ChromeOS will be anything more then a thought experiment, but stranger things have happened. Right now Android is outselling the iPhone. Who would have thought eh? granted there are more android phones and they are cheaper but still. And who would have thought that with all this MS is behind EVERYONE on mobile phones. So much for 3rd time is the charm with a MS product. What release is Windows Mobile 7 by now (and no, it ain't 7)

    I think Google is just seeing what sticks. It wants to break open the entire IT market and it is succeeding so far. MS ain't its enemy, MS lock-in is its enemy. Same as telecom lock-in and email provider lock-in. MS is breaking this up. more and more small companies and bigger ones use gmail. Gmail. Not exchange. BANG. Gone MS lock-in. For that matter lock-in with anyone. Granted now you got a bit of gmail lock-in although since there is far less tie in going on, you can far more easily migrate away from gmail then exchange.

    If the internet becomes open then Google can sells its services to anyone. The more cheap devices are out there connecting, the more people will want to use online services (I barely ever write documents, and then often on different machines, I don't need office. I don't want office. I do use google docs. Anywhere, anytime.) and google makes money from that.

    ChromeOS is just another attempt to break the lock-in. Maybe someone will make a cheap netbook with it purely for web access in the house. A cheap iPad for in the kitchen. Or maybe it will be in eternal beta. But Google is constantly trying and a lot of its succeeding.

    When news broke about Android outselling the iPhone, where were all the doubters? To busy eating crow to admit they were wrong?

    I am personally very intrested to see where Google is going. They are one of the freshest daring companies out there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @12:00PM (#32170316)

    I suspect Google has a buttload of web-based apps ready to roll, all compatible with the browser. Developers can write all the locally executable software they want, the push by Google will be for centralized computing. The goal is to push the cheap thin client into the home.

  • Re:Nah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HateBreeder (656491) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @12:45PM (#32171112)

    Why is an OS that you can only use web applications on better than one that you can use web applications on and native apps on?

    I think apple answered that one for you:

    because the vast majority of the consumers are absolute retards who want LESS flexibility and more simplicity. as sad as it is, for a lot of people the less choice you give them the happier they are.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @01:24PM (#32171690) Homepage
    >> ... would you really want to read a cogently argued article
    >> that garnered nothing but "Yup" and "Seems right" responses?

    >After 20 years on the 'net, I'd be curious to see something like that just for the novelty value.

    Pfft, surely you remember nodding along to the McCahill comp.infosystems.gopher post shredded that upstart Berners-Lee and his unpronouncable "Haitch Tee Tee Pee" nonsense?
  • Re:Nah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by imgod2u (812837) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @01:40PM (#32171946) Homepage

    His point was that Google has built an empire, not necessarily made money. One of the things about Google's business model is that any additional use of the internet is better for them -- whether or not they make money directly.

    Yes, youtube is just a giant money sink. But think of how many more people use the internet on how many more devices (phones, tablets, netbooks, etc.) because of it. Now think of when all those people need to find something related to a video they saw.

    The basic ad-for-money model only works if the market expands. Google helps that market expand by making services that bring more people online for more hours of the day.

  • Re:Linux? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dbcad7 (771464) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:40PM (#32173516)

    Chrome will have no impact, positive nor negative, upon anyone's opinion of Linux-based OSes

    Exactly.. Why everyone went all hilly and nilly analyzing Android and Apple OS's without addressing the main (I'll call it a point) of the article, is one of those things that make me ponder a society based on learning everything they need know from TV commercials.

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