After 100 days of using Google's new OS, I have learned to love it. Everything about it screams efficiency. Most notably, navigating your most visited websites is quicker than ever. The default homepage is a mosaic of thumbnails for your most visited websites. Also, your bookmarked websites show up in the address bar as you type them. I know this doesn't sound like much, but it eliminates the scrolling you must do in other browsers--as in Firefox--that rely on a drop-down menu of your browsing history.
Chrome has also recently updated certain glitches that it suffered at its inception. I had some problems with certain features on the Facebook website and slow performance when using Flash or (oddly enough) watching Youtube videos. All of these problems have been fixed, and--to the best of my knowledge--is the best performing browser on the market.
Speaking of the market, Chrome still has a long way to go in terms of market share. The new browser has been hovering around the 1% share mark, still dominated by the incumbents IE, Firefox, and Safari.
With that said, Google doesn't plan on letting this get in its way. While the company's market share doesn't seem to be going anywhere, don't think it doesn't have something up its sleeve.
Last week Net Applications reported that nearly 1/3 of all computers at Google were running on an unidentified operating system. This reignited rumors of a Google OS for the desktop. Google, of course, already has an operating system for mobile phones called Android. Many expect that the company will simply expand current efforts with Android to other devices, including TVs and PCs.
Whether these rumors of a Google OS are true or not, Google's recent expressed interest in pushing Chrome reaffirms its commitment to bringing more and more computing to web-hosted applications. Google's Docs applications are improving in quality and scope (now includes a pdf viewer) and are available offline through the Google Gears browser extension. Now, with a browser that is engineered to run a variety of different applications on the web, Google is using Chrome to delve deeper into the computing space.
In my opinion, it's only a matter of time before Google creates a rudimentary operating system to eventually push Microsoft products out of the PC altogether.
Of course, a Google victory would be no foregone conclusion. Still, the software industry would become much more compeititve. Finally Microsoft would have a viable competitor for its core product offerings, Windows and Office. Google has already shown its ability to strike distribution partnerships for its software products. Once Google has an OS, many OEMs will be licking their chops for a lean, economical software with a strong brand to back it up. Once Google strikes its first major distribution deal, that could be the point of no return that signals an all-out war between Microsoft and Google for desktop dominance.
I'll admit that I welcome the day that Microsoft has some more viable competition. Although I respect Microsoft for doing a great job so far in creating one-size-fits-all software for the masses, the time has come to break up what has largely been a monopoly. Greater compeition will be great for entrepreneurial firmst that require technology to not only drive productivity up, but to also drive costs down. A stripped down version of the PC with largely web-hosted applications could offer the cost savings that I envision...and it's an ad-supported company like Google that is most likely to supply it.