Google Chrome OS: Will It Kill Windows?

by Ben Parr

dropped a major bombshell earlier this evening: they’re launching their own operating system, known as Google Chrome OS. The new operating system will be lightweight, is based of its Chrome browser, and is clearly Google’s challenge to Microsoft’s longstanding domination of the OS market. While we’re still trying to catch our breath over the announcement, we can’t say we’re particularly surprised – the rumors have been bubbling for a long time now and projects like Androidshow Google has had an interest in this arena. But the Google OS leaves a lot of questions to be answered. How will it differ from Windows? How will it work? And most of all, can Google actually do what many consider impossible: beat Microsoft on its home turf?

Questions to Answer

The reality is this: we know almost nothing about Google Chrome OS. The announcement is hot out of the oven, which leaves us with a lot of questions. Here’s what we hope to answer in the next few days or weeks:

Is it free? – Microsoft Windows can cost hundreds of dollars for the premier versions, which brings up the cost of new PCs. Since Google OS is open-source, it’s almost certain to be free, although Google has not explicitly stated anything of the sort. Could Google charge for specific features or extensions? Nobody really knows.

Will Google OS have advertising? – If they decide to provide this OS for free, they will almost certainly monetize it with ads. With Google’s expertise in web advertising, they may be able to utilize non-intrusive advertising to create a new revenue stream. Imagine browsing your music files and having ads for John Mayer downloads on the side.

What kind of support will it offer to desktop apps? – It’s based on Google Chrome, a browser. But can it run Microsoft Word and Photoshop?

Will it be extendable by 3rd party developers? – Will there be a developer platform for Chrome OS, not unlike the ones offered for many other Google products? The fact that it’s open source makes us think this is a possibility.

How will it interact with current hardware? – Could I wipe my current computer’s hard drive and run it on Chrome OS? What kind of driver support will it have?

There are lots of other issues to address too, but clearly this is only the beginning of a long story that poses a lot of questions.