Google Chrome should be swept away by Google Wave

Google’s announcement last week that it is launching an operating system to rival the likes of Microsoft has made news headlines. But Gareth van Zyl thinks Google’s Chrome Operating System will be eclipsed in terms of innovative technology by Google Wave later this year

Tags: Google ChromeGoogle IncorporatedGoogle WaveUnited Arab Emirates
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By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  July 13, 2009

It all started with a simple search engine. It has evolved into Gmail, Chrome, Picasa, Docs, Calendar, News, Reader, Website Analytics, Latitude, AdSense, Talk, Sites, Translate, iGoogle, Android and much more.

It’s become a worn-out cliché to say that Google is right up there with Microsoft when it comes to companies that dominate our digital lives, and it’s clear that Google’s aim is to creep even further into our existence with the announcement of the Chrome Operating system.

According to the Google blog, “Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks… netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010.”

The blog post goes on to mention, “Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.”

Whether it will take up significant market share in the OS department remains to be seen, and my guess is that even it does, it won’t happen overnight. In fact, Google has set a precedent of creating hype around its new services and software, and then not quite delivering. The Chrome browser had a lot of hype around it as being a major competitor especially to the likes of Internet Explorer and Firefox, but it hasn’t quite captured the significant browser share as expected (it’s estimated that about 2% of web users use Chrome).

Then there is Android, which is beginning to gain speed as a mobile OS of choice, but which didn’t quite burst onto the scene as an ‘iPhone killer’.

What I find really interesting though is that news of the Google Chrome OS has taken precedence over news about Google Wave, a new service to be launched later this year that seems to have gone quietly unnoticed.

Wave is set to become somewhat of a combination between Facebook and collaboration technology such as Google Docs; and Google describes it as equal parts conversation and document. That is, people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps and so on. The ‘wave’ is also shared, which means that any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Participants can then rewind the wave to see who said what and when. Wave will also include live transmission as you type, so that participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.

Wave, in my opinion, is a more innovative product as compared to the Chrome OS. Android is already being taken up by netbooks and now the Chrome OS will be as well. Obviously, they’re two different systems, but this venture from Google into the OS sphere is nothing new. I’ll rather be eagerly awaiting for Wave to be released.

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