As founding editor of ReadWriteWeb, every weekend I’ll pick out 2-3 posts from the past week which I thought were particularly good and worth highlighting. The biggest news last week was probably the announcement of Google Chrome OS (excellently covered by Frederic Lardinois), which many people saw as the much-anticipated ‘Google OS.’ On further analysis though, there were a number of unanswered questions about this new product. Sarah Perez, one of RWW’s feature writers, wrote an insightful post outlining 10 things that people are dying to know about Google Chrome OS. You can click here to read the whole post, which I encourage you to do. I’ve also pasted a couple of highlights below…
What will happen when you go offline?
If the Chrome OS is all about running web apps in a browser, that begs the question – what will happen when there’s no internet connection available? Of course, Google apps like Gmail can run offline using Gears, but Gears isn’t everywhere yet. Another likely possibility is that Chrome OS will support the upcoming standard HTML5, which also offers offline capabilities. However, not all web applications will support that either…at least not immediately. That just leaves the “windowing system” running on the Linux kernel. Will it, like any other Linux OS, allow us to install software applications? That seems less likely since Chrome OS is all about the move away from the desktop to the web. The only real solution to the offline conundrum would be to bundle in a cellular data service with the netbook so you have always-on connectivity.
Will Chrome OS Turn into an Enterprise Play?
Although Chrome OS will launch on the netbook, how far does Google plan to take their new technology? To the consumer desktop? To the small business? To the enterprise? Google has already shown how competitive they are when it comes to fighting Microsoft Office, will they do the same in fighting Microsoft’s foothold as the business desktop OS of choice? If so, they may have a tougher battle ahead of them than they think. It may be one thing to get the IT guys to ditch Office software for a simplified cloud version, but ditch their OS? Not so much. The Windows desktop OS is designed to work with the rest of the Windows stack, including everything from Exchange Server to SharePoint and many others. In a client-server setting, IT admins create server-based policies that control everything about the corporate OS including browser settings, backup policies, logon restrictions, file access, permissions, updates, and so much more. What can you control when the OS is the web? Not much. And that could be a big problem.