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Dec 14

If Chrome OS perishes or even merges, it will be a sad day for the Web

Google, Mozila, Open Source, Open Web Add comments

People have often commented on how strange it is that Google has two OSes in Android and ChromeOS. Some talk about how it is doing the “Microsoft thing” by setting up an internal competition, and Google is big enough to do that kind of thing.

There were many who saw that “the Web will eventually win”, but as Android’s numbers get larger and larger, others are pondering things. Is the timing off? Has Android gotten too large to let itself lose to Chrome OS? Is the app ecosystem for Chrome OS not up to snuff with Android (let alone iOS)?

If Google pulled the plug on Chrome OS it would feel like a bad day for the Web. Chrome OS needs push the entire Web forward. Chrome is adding features to WebKit and Chromium at a very healthy rate, and the Chrome OS pieces make sure that features that flush out the Web to rival native environments come along. Without the Chrome OS project being part of the whole Chrome ecosystem, that may not quite be the case.

There are some projects that Google should go long on, and some that should be experiments. You could argue that Wave was an experiment that didn’t warrant continued evolution, but Chrome OS should. It moves the Web forward.

The Web has a lot of huge benefits, but it is still hard at it going up against iOS, Android, and others. We need a lot of investment to give the Web the SDK that developers are striving for, so they can deliver compelling experiences. We aren’t there yet.

With Google and Chrome OS, HP and webOS, and even a lot of other players (e.g. RIM and its Web support, Nokia and its, etc etc) we are seeing a healthy double-take on taking the Web forward and making the next big platform truly multi-vendor.

“Merging” with Android is interesting. Android’s web stack has gotten better recently, but it is very much lacking, and you could argue that getting the Chrome/WebKit talent and putting it on the Android stack could do a lot for the Web, and maybe bring the Web up to be a true Android platform. That could be a good thing, but would it ever truly be a first class citizen compared to the “Java but not really Java” stack?

I truly hope that Google double downs on Chrome and Chrome OS, and gives it time to have the Web come along for the next ride as more than the ghetto that some would like to see it become.

If not, time for Mozilla to create a Web OS :)

4 Responses to “If Chrome OS perishes or even merges, it will be a sad day for the Web”

  1. rd Says:

    Google has been talking since last year about the possibility of increasing the commonality between Android and Chrome OS. Google it.

  2. JMC2543 Says:

    Google stated themselves that Android is ment for touch and chrome os is ment for a keyboard. The two are two different worlds even though they dance on that fine line. I peronally cant see businesses going to a touch interface for EVERYTHING that needs to be done.

  3. Russell Leggett Says:

    I have a hard time believing that Google would drop their efforts to put the web/web technologies everywhere. I definitely suspect a merger before I see an outright killing of the project.

    That said, as much as I stand behind open web tech, I really do wonder about it being the only option. Even Palm has the native back door. What I would really like to see, is a divide between web and native, where each is given first class status, but different. Much like how Apple draws the line of native apps come from a controlled app store environment and web apps are totally open but more secure by default, I think such a thing could become the dichotomy all over with a little tweaking.

    Picture if all of the new operating systems (iOS, webOS, android, windows phone 7) had a possibly proprietary native platform, and a standard, but first class web platform. If something like ChromeOS became the standard web half of the coin, and all the OSes could then do their own thing for the native portion, I think it could be the best of both worlds. From there, the tricky bit would be bridging the gap between web and native – I don’t know if a standard solution is even needed or if tools like phonegap would be enough.

  4. Yococo Says:

    I think Android and OS Chrome don’t have the same use and goals: Chrome OS is more dedicated to Netbooks and Android to phones.

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