Why Googles Chrome OS is not bad for Android

I recently read an article on bussiness week about how Google were possibly making a mistake by having two OSs on the go at once.

I think they miss the point of Chrome… Chrome (as I understand it) is the Linux kernel with a minimal UI  and a browser running applications.  So if it runs on chrome it will run on anything with a browser (including Android).

Android is the Linux Kernel with a snazzy UI aimed at mobile devices and a bunch of applications, one of which is a browser which is based on webkit.

The Linux Kernal is insanely modular you can build it to run on pretty much anything, and if there is something that it doesn’t work on there is probably someone somewhere working on making it work on it.

I assume that Chrome will just be a minimalistic setup which will run Google’s own  Chrome Browser unless Google are looking to maintain two browser projects on the go… Which I doubt they are. Chrome (The Browser) is based on Webkit too…  So any advances in Chrome can be rolled into Webkit… And benefit Android.

In essence Google aren’t talking about releasing a new OS they are talking about releasing a stripped down Linux distro with window manager that runs nothing but a browser, which to be honest is what I use my computer for 90% of the time.

Any enancements to the linux Kernel/Drivers will probably be able to benefit Android, any enhancements to Webkit/Chrome will probably be able to benefit Android. Heck if google are sensible Chrome will just be a Desktopified version of Android.

There is no fear of Google losing third party developers from Android to Chrome OS because if you are writing an application for Chrome you’ll be writing a web application, which will run in Chrome’s browser and in IE, FireFox, Opera, Safari, or whatever… And it will by implication run on Android in the browser; Heck it should even run on your PS3 or Wii.

What Google have realised is the real money isn’t in selling people a powerful computer, it’s in selling them a computer that does what they want, and what most people want can be done from a browser.

You dont need a 4Ghz machine to do word processing, spreadsheets, or just checking your email. If you are editing photos there are even web applications that let you do that. You can store your files on a google server, which they will happily charge you for, so you wont need a huge hard drive.

The only issue that comes up is how useful this machine becomes when the plug is pulled on the internet. What if I want to write the great American/British/Arabian/Wherever-the-hell-you-are-from-ian novel but I’m in an area without internet access and I can’t get onto Google Docs? I would assume that there will be some offline application that will allow me to write away and then synchronize with Google Docs. I’ve never really used Google Docs so I don’t know is such a client already exists.

Google have been workign on the Android API which allows you to write apps that run on Android, the beauty of the API is that it’s in Java. Which means that it doesn’t matter what architecture the OS is running on, it wouldn’t be hard to have the same API also work on Chrome OS, which would mean that if you write an app for one you are writing one for the other, hey presto you’ve doubled the target market of any app from one OS to 2 (Or if Google release an app that will run Android apps on any other OS with Java then to all platforms).

I think what Google are doing is sensible because they don’t care how you access the internet so long as you are, because if you are chances are you are using Google, If your computer doesn’t have any Fat applications running on it chances are you’ll be using the ones they link to online, which will be Google’s.

Anyway… rant over.

Author: Omar

Omar is the main/only contributor to Ohmz.net. He is a Computer Programmer based in Glasgow Scotland.