Google’s Chrome browser has been praised since its 2008 release, being branded an ‘attractive, fast, and impressive browser’ by The Daily Telegraph, and sparking a new round of discussion from technology bloggers and internet advocacy groups. The browser has also attracted strong growth, becoming the second most popular non-IE browser over the last two years and a worthwhile option for users uninterested in Mozilla Firefox.
While technology bloggers have already labelled Chrome as the beginning for could computing, the design team at Google aim to go one step further, rolling out a complete PC operating system by the end of 2010. Dubbed ‘Chrome OS’ and purported to enable home users to benefit from true cloud computing, the operating system has rival company Microsoft a little worried.
And for good reason. The California-based search giant has expanded their reach dramatically over the last decade, growing from a small venture-funded search company into one of the web’s most influential and important presences. Already fiercely competitive in the mobile operating system marketplace with Android, Google’s expansion into operating systems could see Redmond-based Microsoft lose their tight control over the enterprise computing market.
The first signs of imminent disruption are already visible, no further away from home than at Google’s Mountain View headquarters. In response to questionable security and a series of recent hacking attempts, Google has instructed staff to switch from Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system to an alternative platform, offering Mac OSX or Unix-based systems as alternatives.
It’s a move that’s stirred up endless discussion in the blogosphere. Technology bloggers have labelled the decision to abandon Microsoft operating systems as critical for Google, claiming that the change represents more than potential security interests. Is Google implementing their new operating system policy in preparation for the release of Chrome OS?
It certainly seems likely. Google’s workstations have operated using a combination of operating systems since the company was founded in 1999, although most have stuck to Windows over the past decade. With the latest edition of Windows suffering from fewer security holes than Vista, it’s possible that the ‘security’ measures aren’t entirely focused on keeping Google’s data safe.
Google employees have stuck to the security story, claiming that employees are quickly shifting over to Mac OS in response to the new company policy. It’s a move that seems quite strange, given the recent war of words between the two companies over mobile operating systems. Could Google’s upcoming competition with Microsoft push the Silicon Valley technology giant closer to Apple, a company which they were once strategically involved with?
Right now it’s anyone’s guess. Given the recent China controversy and the strong security concerns for Google in Eastern Asia, the shift to a new operating system appears to have been for good reason. With Chrome OS looming on the horizon and a potentially legendary battle with Microsoft very likely on the cards, few security measures seem to paranoid, or too expensive, for the Mountain View-based technology company.