Google has announced, here on Chrome’s fifth birthday, that Chrome will be expanding what it does to include applications that go beyond the internet. Chrome Apps, not to be confused with Chrome extensions or other applications that already work in Google’s web browser, will provide applications that one can use online or offline in a similar manner as native applications. With this announcement and release, Google Chrome seeks to compete in the OS market place.
The move, for Google Chrome, seems to be expanding beyond their use as a simple, secure web browser, one that has over 40 percent of the worlds users on it, to a real operating system with its own rich eco-system. Going beyond the cloud, it will allow you to access all hardware of your computer directly through the Chrome browser and Chrome Apps.
At the moment, it has only been released for Windows and Chrome OS, but there is already word that it will be coming to Apple’s OSX in the near future. In regards to how it works with Windows, it basically allows you to run Chrome as an operating system on top of Windows. For Chrome OS, it is providing the functionality to be a full fledge OS, moving it away from being a secondary operating system.
Having used every operating system and web browser available, I am excited to see what Google will be able to do. Windows is kind of clunky and the fragmentation that has occurred with the operating system has been evident since Vista, with Windows 7 and 8 quick to follow. Yet, Windows, and Microsoft, has always been aimed at business, which is obviously shifting with their acquisition of Nokia and the pushing of Windows 8 and the tablet PC market. Windows has never worked for me as a student or independent user, with the one exception being video games.
Apple’s line of products always seemed like a step behind Windows, but as I have used more of their products and been involved with the testing of their newest and greatest software, I see that Apple is separating from the pack sharply with their newest products being launched this fall. With OS X Mavericks, iOS 7, as well as the expansion of iCloud services (using iWorks from an iCloud web portal is amazing), Apple is already beginning to set itself apart for individual and creative user services and support. It wasn’t until Lion and Mountain lion that Safari even became interesting or useful as a web browser, but with the integration of iCloud and the ease of syncing information across all Apple devices Chrome is no longer the only way to store or sync content.
It is very exciting to have Google Chrome seeking entry into the OS and mobile OS market places. Chrome has the potential to pick up what Window’s drops and expand beyond PC vs Apple entrenchment lines. Having more competition and innovation in operating systems, cloud computing, internet integration, and web browsing is only going to help things richer and better. This bid by Google Chrome to compete with other operating systems is refreshing.
In order for capitalism and a free market to work, in any kind of functional way, there needs to be at least two options. With Chrome now reaching into being a fully functional OS we have an interesting triangle where at least two parts are good at competing for any one advantage. Google and Apple are great with cloud services and integration. Google and Microsoft are great for PC users, games, and fast, easy browsing. Microsoft and Apple are still the champions to productivity software like Office and iWorks. The beautiful thing is that many of the different operating systems, web browsers, and cloud services can and do over lap creating a rich and teeming environment for the consumer.
However, with Google creating more specialized tools for Chrome, it is going to be something to watch for whether Google can remain supportive in their vision of an open source service. One of the most attractive things about Chrome, Google’s Android, and Chrome OS, is that it is open source, just like Linux and Unix. Yet, as they grow will they remain open source? Or will they also compete to have their secrets and patents to prevent Microsoft or Apple for using something Google created that consumers love?
Only time will tell, of course, as more and more is released for public consumption, but being someone how uses all different platforms and systems, I am very excited to see how it plays out. Google’s Chrome has helped inject innovation to the web browser since their initial release in 2008, we can only hope that it can add some more of the same to the operating system market. So, I welcome Google Chrome as it seeks to compete and enrich the OS market.
Written by: Iam Bloom