Since the announcement of Google Chrome OS, it seems to me that online communities have gone nuts, either with over hyped stories of how great the Google OS will be, or completely the other way, stating just how poor Google is as a company, how unfocussed they are.
What is striking is that no matter what, Google does attract lots of hype, sometimes correctly so, but recently, maybe not. It also illustrates to me that, mention the name “Google”, and you get either one of two reactions, love or hate. This kind of reaction used to be reserved just for Microsoft…By the way, that doesn’t mean I think that is a good sign or a bad sign, just an observation.
So just why does Google manage to be surrounded by such hype in everything it does, well announces at least? The only answer I can really point to is that many people, including bloggers and the press, still regard Google as a nice company, run by two guys out of a shed or something. A company with great morals, that stands for freedom of information etc. However, this vision just simply isn’t true. Remember Google was sold and is now a big old corporation, now more than a little in the Microsoft mould funny enough. I also find it funny that people forget just how many court cases Google has been involved with, many of which regarding people’s basic rights, such as privacy.
The company does provide the worlds foremost search engine, one that has a massive market share and one which many claim to be the best and most accurate. The search engine does deserve all its hype, as to put it simply; it’s a great search engine. The company also has to be applauded in the way it has monetised its search engine with online advertisements, targeted based on peoples search key words. (Though this has been the subject of some court cases and accusations of Google misleading web users and misidentifying sponsored links).
Google company direction
From the outside looking in, I can see many arguments for why people claim Google may be losing it’s way, and is reacting to things in the IT industry, rather than taking the lead. I have read lots about how Google is simply providing new software and services to plug a gap in the market, but that simply isn’t true is it. We have a number of browsers and a number of operating systems already, do we need more?
What we are seeing is Google doing what any sensible business should do and that is diversifying. Any business should not rely on one sole area, in Googles’ case advertisement revenue from its search engine. So diversifying makes sense.
A web browser is the obvious choice, though very few people have chosen to use the Chrome browser provided by Google. However, gmail and google docs are direct responses to Microsoft’s hotmail, and office offerings, which does take them into new waters so too speak. With regards to the Chrome OS, I can see a small argument or idea why it would be nice to tie an OS to the web more, however, I just don’t feel Google is the company to do this well, especially since they are using an open source operating system as its core, Linux.
On that point, it is also weird that Microsoft isn’t allowed to ship IE with Windows 7 in the EU, yet both Apple and Google can ship their operating systems with their own web browsers pre-installed….Curious isn’t it?
Google and Apple?
I have also read so much about Schmidt (Google Chief Executive) sitting on the board of Apple, and that many comparisons can now be made between Google offerings and Apples. Many claim that Google cannot think for itself and is simply stealing ideas from Apple…Maybe….I can see the logic there…
What is for sure is that Apple and Google now share some similar markets. Take Android (Googles mobile phone operating system), this has received a lot of “air time” from on-line bloggers and phone reviewers, however as a mobile OS, it really doesn’t compete with established offerings. This must annoy Apple with their iPhone? Both companies now offer web browsers for the windows platform (Safari from Apple and Chrome from Google) and now (though both hold a very very small market share), Google plans an operating system, which you could argue will compete against Apples OS X.
I must admit, I don’t see how one man can sit on both boards if they are effectively competing in any way shape or form, which they now are. I would say Google and Apple are more at war than Google and Microsoft…But that doesn’t have such an impact on story headlines…When you look at their market share for web browsers, they are for sure competing. Look at mobile phone market, they are competing, though Apple is light years ahead in market share. Next year, will we be seeing Google Chrome OS on netbooks competing with Apple entry level notebooks? Well they will be, but again I think Apple will be a long way ahead with regards to market share and sales.
Blog post distortion
Hmmmm One thing that has come from all of this Google OS hype, is that many blog posts are simply wrong and are written by people with limited knowledge (especially technical) on how things work. I have read many articles that hail Google OS as a revolution, something new that will compete with Windows 7, however these same articles don’t understand what Linux is, and its history. For me this is quite worrying, it seems that while reporting via TV or even news papers has some form of “checking”, the internet fails to have any, even the big bloggers…
Such incorrect posts do get around, and in todays social media environment, millions of people may have read that wrong information, believed it to be correct and actually made a purchase based on it. This isn’t good at all, not only for companies but more so for individuals.
I have also read a number of blogs that really do “lay into” other blogging sites, especially the larger ones for their lack of technical understanding. Which is probably just, but it’s the way such posts are written that almost makes you not want to read the post…For me, they lose all form of credibility themselves.
It is also very rare now to find blogging articles that don’t seem to have an agenda, especially so called review / news websites. Many either love Microsoft and hate everything else, or they love Google (this seems to be the larger amount of bloggers) and hate everything else, or finally, they love Apple, and hate everything else…It is very hard to find actual knowledgeable people writing independent unbiased posts, which is a shame…
The whole Google hype thing has also brought me much laughter when reading peoples responses to articles. I have also read a new term this week, “Googasms” which I am sure you can work out what that means…
For me, I read most responses with a little pinch of salt.
So Chrome OS, should it be getting the hype?
If that’s a question on what it will be like, probably not. After all it is built on an open source operating system which has no end of issues with driver support etc and has failed to make any sort of dent on the operating system market (even just for netbooks). But since Google has it’s badge on it, I can see why it has gained so much press time.
Will it be any good? Without seeing it I don’t know, no one does at this stage. My guess is that it will look and present well, but once you get into actually using it, it will have all the same problems that Linux has right now.