I just finished reading an article by Tim Bajarin who has written his take on how the Google Chrome operating system could change the computer industry. He reiterates a fact that we are all familiar with on how Microsoft has had a stranglehold on the personal computer companies for some 25 years. In addition is the main difference between Microsoft Windows and Google Chrome OS. That difference is cost.
While Microsoft continues to charge about $40 for PC companies to install Windows on a new computer, the Google Chrome OS is free. Yes, free, but with some limitations in place by Google. The first limitation is that a user must have a Gmail account, or some other Google services ID such as Google Docs. The second limitation is that Google has control over what extensions and applications can be installed.
As an example, I was unable to access my Netflix account to stream video. I would imagine that some time in the future I will be allowed to stream stuff from Google TV. Mr. Bajarin mentioned that the Google Chrome OS also does not support Apple iTunes. He wonders if we are just exchanging one stranglehold from Microsoft for another stranglehold by Google? Good point and a point that many of us will have to consider for both operating systems. There is also the stranglehold that Apple places on the users of any of the Apple products to deal with as well.
There is this statement taken from the article:
While this new OS should drive some important questions for the industry, what Google is doing is important and most likely represents the future of laptop and desktop operating systems. Clearly, browsers will be the gateway to the world of apps and information, and they’ll be the front end to the cloud. They will also be able to work as standalone operating systems. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft responds to this Chrome OS challenge.
I personally do not see that Microsoft needs to respond. Microsoft Windows and Google Chrome OS are two distinct and separate operating systems. Those who need the power of a high-end system — for video editing and such — will continue to use Windows. For those who need a computer to just surf the Internet with the luxury of a lightweight portable device, Google Chrome OS will fill that need.
There are also other alternatives such as the Apple iPad and smartphones that offer their own distinct attractions for some. We are entering into a technological age that is going to have something for all of us, with no one company totally dominating the computing field.
We, the consumers, will be the beneficiaries of these technologies.