Over the last 2 days, the tech blogsphere has been focused on a single topic, Google Chrome. Chrome is Google’s entrance into the world or web browsers and many are saying it could be the beginning of the end of Windows, with Google proving that the operating system(s) could become irrelevant.
While I could argue that the idea of a browser making the OS irrelevant, it’s not that far off. Google has proven with online applications like Gmail and Google Docs, that online applications can be both relevant and useful. Granted the masses haven’t exactly adopted Google Docs for their document needs (compared to Office it’s lacking a lot of features), but there is forward momentum with online web applications such as those provided by Google.
Google started the whole offline web app with the introduction of Google Gears and it seems that Chrome might be an extension of this technology. But what does any of this have to do with making the operating system irrelevant? Well if Google can make a browser that makes web applications scream (performance wise) then they are truely onto something. Google can prove this concept with their own applications and in doing so, they will bring others into their fold. These people will develop their web applications with Google Chrome in mind.
So here’s what I predict (since everyone else is making their own predictions): Google Chrome will not take massive amounts of users from Internet Explorer or even Firefox. But through Chrome, Google will prove that web applications can be rich, feature filled, and fast. Chrome is the first step in proving that if you have an internet connection, what operating system you are on is irrelevant. Google is not aiming to replace the operating system but rather to make it meaningless. If you have Chrome (or something like it) and an internet connection, it won’t matter if you are on Linux, Windows, or even a Mac. Your apps will look the same, function the same, and work regardless of the underlying operating system.
I think that Google is setting out to prove a point, not be the sole provider of change. Will they accomplish this? It is certainly possible, but I think it will take them a while to get the point across to the masses.