by Sam Dean – Jan. 25, 2012Comments (0)
According to several new reports, Google is finding some success with its Chrome OS in certain markets, and is playing “the long game,” holding out hopes that its operating system will surprise people on the upside. There are reports that Chrome OS is finding a place in the education market, and reports that users who are happy to work almost exclusively in the cloud really like the operating system. So far, though, Chromebooks–portable systems based on the operating system–have not taken the market by storm, and the real question to ask is how truly focused on Chrome OS Google is.
Google, is, of course, riding a huge operating system success story with Android, which may quickly become the most favored smartphone platform among developers. But ExtremeTech claims that Chrome OS is finding its way with developers, too, and that the Chrome Web Store is teeming with compelling applications:
“A look at the Chrome Web Store shows a vibrant, lively catalog of software, allowing you to do anything from photo editing to playing games right in your browser. It is populated with many of the same titles as you would see in Apple’s iTunes App Store, from well-known applications to popular games.”
The problem with that, though, is that the apps in Apple’s App Store are not the rich, deep applications that people favor on laptops and desktop computers. You won’t find Photoshop on the Apple App Store or in the Chrome Web Store.
Meanwhile, Caesar Sengupta, product management director at Google, has told The Register that Chrome OS is finding success in the education market, and that Google is playing “the long game” with the operating system and portable systems based on it:
“At Google we haven’t really pushed these devices yet,” he told The Register. “This is so important to us, we can’t rush it.”
Sengupta claims that schools in 41 U.S. states are using Chromebooks, and that many of them favor the machines because they are browser-based and don’t require a lot of IT administration. Given that cloud applications that kids can use, such as Google Apps, have improved, it is possible that Chrome OS could have a continuing place in the education market.
The fact remains, though, that Google made a huge decision when it chose to eschew the desktop application model with Chrome OS, and basically require users to work with applications and data in the cloud. Here at OStatic, we always questioned the aggressively cloud-centric stance that Chrome OS is designed to take. Don’t users want local applications too? Why don’t I just run Ubuntu and have my optimized mix of cloud and local apps?
It remains to be seen whether Google can pull a rabbit out of its hat with Chrome OS and the market for Chromebooks. At this point, though, it looks to be finding only niche success, and there needs to be more evidence that Google is focusing on the operating system.