I rarely dabble into pure technology on this blog, but this news is so big I feel compelled to shine some light on this announcement.
Google recently announced that it will be shipping an operating system based around its Chrome browser.
This has historic implications. For most of personal computing history, Microsoft has dominated its competitors by owning the operating system (first DOS, then Windows). This let Microsoft leverage its deep awareness of the underlying code on computers to then dominate in applications, specifically Microsoft Office. Unlike many naysayers, I think Microsoft makes good operating systems and applications, and it’s helped the computing industry more than it’s hurt it. That said, Microsoft has seen no real competition for decades, but that's about to change.
There are several key trends that will enable Google's OS to make a big impact:
- Google's OS is open source—everyone can use it for free.
- The OS will eliminate most security threats—an OS built from scratch to operate in a networked world can address most security threats head-on. Viruses and Trojans will go the way of pay phones—a once-dominant meme that faded away.
- Everything is already online—most of us spend most of our time online. We are already connected nearly non-stop and it's only getting easier. (My laptop has Verizon built in, and I use Wi-Fi on planes—I'm always online.) If it simplifies things to get our applications online, there's not much downside.
What does this mean for marketers?
This is a tough question and I'm still working on it. Among other things, it will further accelerate the penetration of netbooks (small, inexpensive, long-battery-life laptops) and make them price and feature-competitive with cell phones. Wide adoption of netbooks will allow marketers to provide the richest possible experience to an even wider group of customers than they can today. Post a comment or drop me an email and let me know what you think this could mean for the world of marketing.
The only thing I know for sure is that tectonic shifts like this are rare events and they have a tendency to change everything. Keep your eyes open wide—this will probably be pretty fun.