Tuesday, August 22, 2006
The Google Operating System
I guess it began with Google Desktop a few years ago. Since then there's the web accelerator, Gmail, Google Spreadsheets and Writely. There was some speculation whether Google would begin developing an Operating System to more directly compete with Microsoft. It has happened, it took only a few years, and has been apparently successful. And oddly enough, it probably has little to no impact on sales of Windows.
The Google operating system (though perhaps the Google Desktop Environment may be more appropriate) has almost symbiotically attached itself to Windows. So long as your computer has Windows (and soon Linux, it appears)you can access the GDE. Instead of using Outlook and Hotmail, you have Gmail, which you can easily access through outlook if you so choose. The benefit to Gmail is that so long as you have your web browser open, you have a feature rich mail client at your fingertips. All the power, but less resources wasted. Google knows that in this day and age a user's browser is open 24/7 and is able to serve web-based applications that are secure and relatively bug-free. For free. More users visiting Google web sites means more revenue generated from adsense.
Someone asked on Slashdot a few days ago what Google could possibly gain from giving away free services. Google's sole business strategy is to serve ads to as many people for as little cost to itself. Gmail and Blogger must have proved that the cost to maintain and build these services was worth it, or else Google wouldn't have designed Spreadsheets or aquired Writely. Also, interestingly, are programs that the company provides that exist merely to enhance the user's online experience. Neither Picasa or Google Web Accelerator serve ads, but instead give Google more visibility.
Their version of an operating system is simple, even if it's use is aided by the fact that it's "not Microsoft".