Google plans event for Tuesday, could unveil the first Chrome OS netbook

Google is holding a press event in San Francisco on Tuesday to talk about something Google Chrome-related. That’s all we know for certain, but the invites started going out shortly after Engadget published a story saying that sources were indicating that a Google-branded netbook running Chrome OS would be unveiled on Tuesday, December 7th.

Chrome OS is basically an operating system designed to run one app — a web browser. Google has been working on Chrome OS for the past year, and the goal is to develop a light weight OS that boots quickly and gets you online almost right away. Instead of installing native apps, you’ll run web apps and Google is expected to launch a sort of app store, where you can find web apps to integrated with the browser-based operating system.

I’m still not entirely convinced that Google is building a product that anyone actually wants or needs here. If you think about it, a browser-based OS fits very nicely with Google’s view of the world, which is that you can accomplish most tasks online and that search is the killer app. Chrome, Android, and other software Google has developed over the past few years have been designed to be useful, certainly, but they’ve also been designed to get more advertising in front of your face, which is how Google makes money.

But here’s the thing: I can’t really think of a single thing that a Chrome OS netbook would be able to offer that a machine running Windows, OS X, Linux, or even Android couldn’t offer just as well — and all of those operating systems are just as useful when you have to cut the internet connection to get on a plane as they are when you’re surfing the web on your home network.

That said, Google may have a few tricks up its sleeve I haven’t thought about. For instance, I know Google has been working on a system to let you connect to printers over the web using Chrome OS. And a desktop operating system that offers long battery life and something approaching instant-on capabilities might be nice. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw many of the developments made for Chrome eventually find their way to Android where they’ll be used by more people.

Of course, I could be wrong. What do you think? Are you ready for a Chrome OS netbook?

  • Ron Schouten

    Once many webapps in the wild have evolved into more robust HTML5 apps, Chrome OS will be very useful indeed. Given that HTML5 features are just rolling out into most browsers it might take a while for webapps to catch up. Hoperfully Chrome OS
    is not doomed by being ahead of its time…

  • Daniel Cawrey

    Brad – I pay keen attention to your writing. But you are missing the point here. The cloud is coming, and it is not leaving. Chrome OS will be the next alternative to Windows machines that people don’t need. Consider how much Apple has been able to take market share from Microsoft, and if Google can do a fraction of that at the most they will be successful.

    • Anonymous

      I’m sure Brad is aware of that but the reality is we’re still a long way from the cloud being really relevant yet.

      Problem is not just the lack of available applications but we don’t yet have the infrastructure to give everyone easy and cheap access. We’re already pushing the limits of the present infrastructure as more and more people are using Internet capable devices.

      So the question is valid as to whether a system that relies on the cloud can compete with systems that won’t stop working if they simply lose connection. Or whether it will be better to market it as an alternate solution for when conditions are more ideal for its use.

  • Kamal250

    I was under the impression that Chrome OS just another flavor of Linux, am I wrong?
    If it is, why would I want to abandon Jolicloud?

  • MikeinRichmond

    So why would I want this instead of a netbook running Gingerbread soon, where I’ll have access to the Android market for all my app needs, and be able to watch videos etc while not online?

  • animatio

    like microsoft intends to do with win8 … the os (and pps) totally cloud dependent. i neither trust ms, nor google nor apple or anybody else keeping and manipulating, controlling my machines by an os centralized on their misty servers degrading my pc’s to thin clients, sort of. in my case this never will happen

  • MonkeyKing1969

    We will know a bit more on Tuesday. I rather doubt they sat around making something that could be done better, easier, or more efficiently on another OS. If anything they fact ‘we don’t get it’ likely means we could be pleasantly surprised.

  • GiveMeLiberty or Death

    Wasn’t it said that the majority of Microsoft’s development teams were working specifically on cloud computing? Hm….

    Well, I personally would never miss Chrome if it flops but I could see Google carving itself out a niche here that eventually will take a popular foothold — perhaps by offering a standardized on-line platform for software developers to offer their cloud-based products to consumers? I suspected this and it seems to bear itself out with the app-store. Chrome being open-source wouldn’t hurt such a goal as well since it could have serious educational potential — albeit with advertisements.

    The purpose of an operating system that connects only to the web seems to be a ploy on Google’s part to gain direct access to the MASSIVE demographic of “soccer moms” that use computers to connect to the internet and nothing much else. Also all Google would need to do is provide a super easy to use platform that could entice your great great grandfather, computer newbies, digital dinosaurs, etc. and they will be successful.

    Especially, when you consider that YouTube, Google Maps, Google News, Google Babysitting, Google Dating, Google Medical Diagnostic Services, Google Digital Condoms, Google Select The Sex of Your Upcoming Child Services, etc. all run only from the internet — Google may be trying to consolidate their control. It wouldn’t mean much to the Big G, for example, if you only connect to Facebook on the internet 7 hours a day and nothing much else — so long as you’re doing it through their operating system! It could also give advertisers direct access to your attention regardless of your surfing habits.

    But I personally think that Google’s plan will work — and that they will put more people online — perhaps billions. Esp. those that are not so technically inclined! Microsoft Windows XP, Vista (no surprise there), 7, etc. etc. are actually operating systems that intimidate a lot of people!

    Also, if Google can Wiki some of the cloud-based apps (thus allowing volunteers to change or modify the language of the programs, for example, to better suit remote regions of the world) then they will have hit a home run.

    I’m convinced…

    Something more simple from the likes of Google is bound to steal the show and catch many people off guard (such as when Google purchased YouTube).

  • Liberty2

    The printing over the internet concept wouldn’t be too bad of an idea, for example, if it were 3-D printing. Where creative users could use a cloud-based design program from Chrome’s app store to make and design objects in 3-D, send the designs over the internet, and have the 3-D prototype sent directly to your door with free shipping. All with the click of a credit card!

    There is serious potential here, Brad! I think you’re underestimating it!

  • Stan

    I think everyone is missing the point of having ChromeOS. Its a FREE operating system, and with that netbooks will become even cheaper and allow even more of the under privileged around the world to be able to afford a laptop. Certainly there are plenty of other free options out there, but none have/will be able to grab the market share as quickly as google can.

    • http://www.netbookfiles.com/ Netbookfiles.com

      I totally agree with your concept. However, with the new slim netbook concept design, I just feel that netbooks are going to come back with a bang once again.

      Specially with their new thin concept so if it uses chrome os it is going to get even cheaper.

  • paranoidandroid

    This OS needs a few offline based apps atleast, like a media player, word processor…

  • LeMel

    This device would have to be very inexpensive to make sense purchase-wise compared to the current market. As in kindle/nook-cheap. I’m curious about what others think about possible price points.