Additionally, Google is seeking to reinvent the future of online communication through Google Wave, with a synergy of e-mail, instant messaging (IM), blogging, wikis and other contemporary media.
Speculation that Google would one day construct an operating system to compete with Microsoft Windows has never been far away. Google has in fact already made moves in this arena in the form of mobile device platform, Android.
The good news for Linux users is that Chrome OS, like Android, will leverage the Linux kernel as the heart of the system.
Yet, Chrome will not be “just” another distro. Sure, it may include Open Office and a package management tool and window manager and all the other things that make up Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian and all the rest.
However, Google will paint it with a web veneer so that Chrome OS is truly oriented towards web applications – things like Google’s own products mentioned above, Wave, Gmail and the like. Through the use of Google Gears a degree of web content can be cached permitting a reasonable online-like experience even when disconnected.
Why I believe Chrome benefits Linux is because anything that pushes Linux further out into the mainstream is a good thing. Anything that gives Linux greater credibility among the general populace on the street is good for the Linux community as a whole.
Initially Google are pitching Chrome OS for netbooks (although my colleague Stephen Withers raises the question whether Chrome is enterprise grade.) The netbook market was founded on Linux in the form of an ASUS-modified edition of Xandros but it was not many months before Microsoft Windows XP gained a foothold and ultimate prominence.
There is no need to go over the reasons for this again; largely, the vendors tell us, consumers wanted a familiar face on their computers. They wanted Windows XP because they knew Windows XP – what it looked like, how to operate it and the name itself.
Here is where Google carries far greater cachet than the likes of even a leading, popular name like Ubuntu.
Everyone knows Google. Everyone trusts Google.