Chrome, Microsoft and Linux

So Google’s Chrome OS is finally seeing the light of day, with the pitch that it’s a lightweight software base designed to get people up and active on the web easily. A few comments.

First: it’s new in the sense that Mac OS X was new; it’s built on Unix – Linux this time (ok I do know the difference) instead of BSD, but the principle is the same.

Second: maybe this explains why the Chrome browser hasn’t made it to the Mac market. Seems like the browser was just the pilot for this larger project, to carry the fight to Microsoft.

Third: interestingly, in my newspaper (The Guardian), the Chrome OS announcement makes it into the main news pages but the technology section, in the print edition, carries two other apparently unconnected articles. The combination is interesting. One is a long interview with Google’s Marissa Mayer about the future of search which, Mayer suggests, is tied up with real-time information (and that means Twitter). The other is a Victor Keegan Opinion column discussing why Asus dropped Linux as its netbook platform in favour of Windows and a string of non-free services. Keegan, though, hasn’t caught up on the Chrome OS announcement. It would be interesting to know what he thinks.

Oh, and hidden in the Mayer interview is the interesting snippet that Google has been conducting research on which shade of blue for a link is most likely to encourage a user to click through. More blue is better than more green, apparently. I must check my website!

• Introducing the Google Chrome OS, Official Google Blog, 7 Jul 2009
• Google targets Microsoft with new operating system, Guardian, 8 Jul 2009 (print edition 9th July) – it’s worth doing a search on the Guardian website for “Chrome OS” as there are several other articles
• Did Microsoft force Asus to axe Linux?, Victor Keegan, Guardian, 8 Jul 2009 (print edition 9th July)