Gmail’s Creator Doesn’t Think Google’s Chrome OS Will Survive

Google's test netbook for Google Chrome OS, the CR-48


Google demonstrated its new Chrome OS to the world last week but already the pundits are tearing into it. Perhaps the strongest voice coming out against Chrome OS is that of Paul Buchheit, a former Google employee who created Gmail. He recently tweeted, “Prediction: ChromeOS will be killed next year (or ‘merged’ with Android).” Ouch. Why all the hate?

First things first, Google Chrome OS has less functionality than Android OS right now. That might sound a little ridiculous but it’s true. Chrome is still in very much a beta state right now so the criticisms might end up being somewhat unfounded. But the truth is, without an actual desktop to browse (Chrome does everything through the web browser), Chrome will have a very hard time catching on. Not only that, but without an active Internet connection, netbooks running Chrome are practically useless. All the ‘apps’ are Internet based and thus without Wi-Fi nearby, you can’t even word process.

Matt Rosoff from Business Insider even went so far as to call Chrome OS a “waste of time” right in the title of an article he wrote today. His reasoning is one that is echoed across the Internet: no peripheral support, no way to easily find or delete files and Android already does everything Chrome is meant to do better. Especially when you consider that next year Google will be releasing Android OS version 3.0 ‘Honeycomb’—a version optimized for tablet computers and ostensibly netbooks as well—Chrome seems like a waste of time and resources.

To be fair, Chrome OS does some things very well. It boots in less than six seconds on the Google-built CR-48 netbook designed for its beta testing. Running Google’s Chrome browser, the Chrome OS also has one of the fastest and most stable browsers available. And finally, Chrome OS does run web based apps very well. That’s what it was meant to do after all. The question is though, is the world ready for a computer based entirely on the web?

Netbooks have been around for a while now and the majority run slimmed down versions of Microsoft Windows. I don’t see business users ready to jump on board the Chrome OS bandwagon simply because nothing they need to do for work can be done on Chrome besides browsing the web. As for regular consumers, most would rather just stick with a regular netbook or snag a tablet from Apple or one of Google’s Android manufacturers. Indeed, Chrome OS’s biggest competition is Android. So why did Google make Chrome?

Time will tell, but don’t expect Chrome to start making waves anytime soon.

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