Google’s Decision to Launch the Chrome Operating System Reflects the Growing Importance of Web Applications

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Microsoft owns the operating system market with its many flavours of Windows. Only Apple OS has attempted to break that monopoly with only marginal success. As a result Apple has recognized Microsoft’s predominance in creating dual-boot MacBooks that operate both Apple and Windows operating systems.

Microsoft and Google -- Two Birds Not of a Feather

Microsoft designed Windows before the arrival of the Internet, when micro-computing was something that happened on a desktop or was a shared experience through a local area network. Windows has remained desktop or device-focused in all its iterations.

The growth of the Internet has led to Windows becoming a target for hackers, virus writers, malware authors and more. Windows is constantly being patched with a legion of security releases coming out annually to plug its many security holes. On June 9 alone, Microsoft released 10 security bulletins, 5 focused on Windows, the remainder dealing with Internet Explorer and Office vulnerabilities.Such is the life of Microsoft as the front runner in the world of micro-computing.

Google from its formation as a company, focused on the Internet through its search engine. Google created a lab environment and encouraged its employees to spend time creating Internet applications that emulated many desktop applications, from email to word processing. For Google the Internet is the computing platform, not the desktop. In Google’s approach, the desktop, laptop, netbook, mobile phone and other appliances accessing the Internet are physical devices similar to the telephone that sits on a desk or kitchen wall, a device that accesses dial tone.

Google Introduces a New Dial Tone

For Google therefore, the Chrome Operating System is the equivalent of dial tone. “The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way,” states The Official Google Blog,designed for speed and simplicity. “We are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.” So just like dial tone on your telephone, web access is immediate taking a few seconds at most.

This is not Google’s first entry into the world of operating systems. Android, an operating system for mobile phones, set-top TV boxes and netbook computers was recently introduced successfully. Now with Chrome Operating System, Google is focusing on web presence computing. Supporting this effort is a full range of Google web-based applications, Google Apps (site, news), and third-party products like Zoho (site, news), Even Microsoft announced on July 13 that it will be offering a web-based version of Office 10.

Learning Opportunities

The Web Applications Battle Ground Heats Up

This move by Google and countermove by Microsoft represent an acknowledgement that applications running on the web represent a significant growing market. What are the security issues in moving your document creation from applications running on the desktop to those running on the web?

This is well summed up on Zoho’s website in the following statement, “if you are currently maintaining your data on personal computers or your own servers, the odds are that we offer a better level of security than what you currently have in place.”Web-based applications are housed in secure data centers that provide the best defense against hackers, malware and virus attacks.

For Google the mission is clear. “Computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up.”

Google wants computers to always run as fast as they did on the day you bought them. Google doesn’t want users to have to constantly apply new security patches. Google wants user data to be accessible from wherever, whenever. With the arrival of the Google Chrome Operating System, configuring hardware or uploading device drivers will be a thing of the past. And like many Google applications, the Chrome Operating System will be free.

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