Webeden Blog Google Products Can Google make computers work better than Microsoft?

Can Google make computers work better than Microsoft?

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Google Products

Anyone with an interest in computers can’t have failed to notice the announcement last week about Google’s plans to develop their own operating system.

The operating system (OS) is the basic software that organises the circuit boards, transistors, wires and chips in your computer into something that we can actually use. For example, it turns your monitor from a blank screen into a series of windows and icons. It is the building blocks upon which other programmes (such as Word, Excel, and Firefox) can sit.

It’s long been the area of the PC where Microsoft completely dominates the market. Microsoft’s OS – called Windows (until 2004) and then XP, and now Vista – is installed on over 90% of all computers. It makes Microsoft the gatekeepers to computers the world over. Nothing can happen on a computer until the Microsoft OS is installed. And as a consequence, it comes pre-installed on 99% of all PCs sold. You can’t imagine a market more dominated by a single company.

Microsoft isn’t the only option. Macs run on their own OS called OSX. And the super nerdy can choose to download and install Linux. But for the rest of us, there’s just Microsoft.

So there has to be a few people at Microsoft HQ who were a little perturbed by the news that Google plans to develop their own OS, to launch in 2010. Its long been thought to be in the pipeline, especially since Google launched an operating system for phones, called Android.

Google have said that initially their OS is going to be tailored to smaller ‘netbooks’, computers that are designed purely to access the Internet, and carry out few other tasks.

But since Google’s vision for the future of computing is in the ‘cloud’ – where all the applications that normally go on your PC actually sit on the Internet – the netbook OS is the perfect fit.

Google reckon there is no point in having loads of software installed on every PC in the world, necessitating all PCs to have loads of storage and processing power. Far better, they say, for there to be a single version of the software on a server on the Internet, and allow users to access it whenever they need to.

The Google OS will be called the same name as their browser – ‘chrome’ – and is supposed to be as ‘fast’ and as ‘lightweight’ as possible. It’s supposed to have no bells and whistles, similar to both their browser and search engine.

The news will be hugely welcomed by PC owners frustrated by the slowness of their PCs, and by the frequency with which they crash. Microsoft software has also been criticised for slow loading times and their vulnerability to viruses.

Google reckon that the problem with current OSs is that they were designed in an era when there was no such thing as the Internet. They’ve been adapted and developed, but that fundamental design flaw still exists.

The other key thing about a Google OS will be the fact that it will be open source, which allows other developers to create applications that will run on it.

To help developers, Google said the source code for their OS would be released at the same time as Microsoft launches its new OS Windows 7. This will give developers a chance to start working with it so as to have applications ready for the launch date.

Would you make the switch to a Google OS? Or are you a big fan of Microsoft? Are you worried that Google is going to end up dominating all things computer led in the same way that Microsoft always has? Leave us a comment below.

  • http://onlineart.org.uk Tony

    there is already many another OS on market, some of them are open source … for example as Solaris, Ubundu or Mandriva … personally I don’t think Google is going to the end up something, the bigger competitor for Windows can be Solaris, it is a product of Sun Microsystems, which also made Java … I’m using OpenSolaris on of my notebook and if I have to be honest as common user I don’t need Windows ….

  • admin

    Thanks for the recommendation – is it something you’d suggest for all people using Windows?

    Is it easy to install?

    The trick for Google is going to be getting Chrome pre-installed by the manufacturers – a guaranteed way to buy market share!


  • http://www.buteweddings.webeden.co.uk Alison Cross

    I use open office on my mac and my pc. It’s great and there are loads of free add-on apps that you can download to tailor your package to just what you require.

    I used to be terrified to deviate from the correct software, but it’s so expensive and one can’t help feeling that they’ve got you over a barrel. But open office is just great – pdf maker and everything. Can open most types of documents for editing no bother at all.



  • http://onlineart.org.uk Tony

    Very easy to install. If somebody just would like to try it, is possible use live CD. Easy and secure way how to find out what is new OS about and if you like it you can install by simple click on your computer. As I mentioned above for example OS Solaris is already possible get pre-installed by the manufacturers like Toshiba or Sparks. Also another OS are coming already pre-installed by manufacturers such as Ubuntu(Dell, HP, Acer) or Linpus Linux Lite on net-books. HP company

    What I suggest to some people using Windows is : if you use your computer for internet, music, movies, photos you don’t need Windows. Many of popular applications like FireFox, Skype, Gimp, OpenOffice, VLC, Blender are running on many different OS platform (Solaris, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Suse). So will better for you to buy cheaper computer without Windows and use open source software on one of mentioned OS. You will not need something else.

    But if you need to use Adobe CS, Microsoft Office or another specific software. You have to go for PC with OS Windows or Mac with OSX Leopard.

  • admin

    Hi Alison,

    Its good to know that you can get by without Microsoft. Are the open office docs completely compatible? I remember using it for a while last year but some people started to complain about not being able to open my stuff.

    Not sure if it was their incompetence or mine!

    We use MS Exchange hosting for our email here in the office, so are completely beholden to Mr Gates.


  • admin

    Thanks for the advice Tony, very comprehensive – and appreciated.

  • http://www.buteweddings.webeden.co.uk Alison Cross

    There can be issues when people are using older programs. I dare not confess what age my Word is, but it’s older than my son :-)

    Frankly, if I could get away with using Wordperfect (remember THAT!?) I would have continued to use it.

    So, yes, there are some problems with compatibility – mainly when using modern OpenOffice with an ancient microsoft package, I think. But even then, openoffice can save docs in all manner of formats – including pdf. And most pcs will have an up to date pdf reader – if not, easily downloaded for free.


  • admin

    WordPerfect! Used to have that on my old 386!