back to article Gmail's daddy predicts Chrome OS assassination

The creator of Google's AdSense technology and lead developer of Gmail reckons Chrome OS will be merged with Android or killed off within the next 12 months. The prediction was posted to Paul Buchheit's FriendFeed account - FriendFeed being a Twitter-like service started by Mr Buchheit after his time at Google, and later sold …


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  1. DZ-Jay

    For Google, it should be worth investing

    The problem is that Android promotes the "single-function app" paradigm, as popularised by iOS devices; and the more specialised functionality you put in a single app, the less need there is to use the web or Google's webby services. This takes control completely away from Google's realm.

    How then are Google supposed to make money if people are not funneled through their ad-fueled network and services?

    The truth is that Android was a always intended to be a secondary market player, which by a historical accident (and to the surprise of Google themselves), ended up competing directly with Apple's iOS as a main player in the industry. ChromeOS was always intended to be Google's future for control of the web, but with "single-function apps" turning into the norm nowadays, the web as the single point of access to functionality seems much less sure now.


  2. Daniel 1

    That "adopted son" was a cockoo in the nest

    I know it is belabouring and oft cited point, but Netscape simply renamed Livescript "javascript" to cache-in on the popularity of Java, at the time. There was no direct link between the two languages. Those who crave "synergies'" often end up inventing them!

    The advantage that Operating Systems like Android offer, is what they have always offered: a full OS can run thin, when it needs to, being as mobile as its thin alternatives, but offering enough processing power to still have the potential to prove useful, two or three years down the line. The risk with dedicated thin clients, is that they may not even offer enough power to cope with the workloads demanded by distributed computing models, a few years hence, while not actually proving all that much cheaper to make.


      javascript -- why didn't SUN sue?

      seriously, that's kinda basic brand protection. Did Sun somehow figure it would be advantageous?

  3. Michael Hawkes
    Thumb Down

    As with other Google products

    Google may "wave" it goodbye.

  4. Eduard Coli
    Gates Horns

    Captain obvious?

    Why go the M$ route and create a bloated OS for big hardware and another for phones et. al.

    If they do though G will have to watch app bloat. What runs acceptable on tablets may not on phones.

  5. Cameron Colley

    I hope this is true.

    Chrome is a good web browser but the thought of millions of devices being sold which only allow email to default to gmail and webmail for everything else, for example, is very depressing.

    Heck, I can't be the only one who would like a choice of web browser and email client, can I?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    The should have bought jolicloud

    It's an excellent implementation of a cloud OS but with enough offline ability to use in low coverage areas, no I'm not affiliated, just impressed that a group of french engineers could beat Google at providing a workable thin client/ cloud OS. Where's the review "el reg".

  7. alwarming
    Paris Hilton

    Javascript is not son of Java.

    "Java" in "javascript" is just a marketing gimmick.

    Don't believe me:

    Just like Paris is not french.

    1. Goat Jam

      They did not say jJS is the son of Java

      They said ADOPTED son, which works perfectly well, although I did read that and think "here we go, queue a bunch of commentards helpfully pointing out that JS!=Java yada yada yada"

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        "adopted son" is no better

        I don't know what Ray meant by "adopted son", but it doesn't make any sense either. If I named my son "Goat" after you, that wouldn't make him your adopted son.

        The observation about Java and Javascript in the article was pointless, and deserves no better than a bunch of tangential complaints about it. You want people to focus on the actual content of your piece, you avoid making vague, irrelevant, unsupportable claims.

  8. DrXym Silver badge

    That would make sense

    There is no reason for Google to be pushing two operating systems. The whole thing smacks of aimlessness and infighting. It makes Google look like it's acquired some middle aged spread common in corporations where the left hand doesn't know and doesn't want to cooperate with the right hand. Just merge the best bits of ChromeOS into Android and present a consistent and unified OS. They're not alone in this - Microsoft was dithering too with Kin and Windows Phone but did the right thing by killing off one of them.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      No reason?

      ...because all the other successful software vendors are running a single OS across Mobile Phones, Tablets/Slates and traditional Desktop/Laptop/Netbooks - right?

      Not that I disagree that Google often comes across as aimless, contradictory and frenzied, but the use cases for Android (tablets and mobiles) and ChromeOS (netbooks) are still different enough that there is not another vendor in the market that has addressed both with a single OS so I would disagree with piling on Google too much for having 2 OSs - Microsoft has 3 and Apple 2 after all. I think eventually someone will manage a single OS that can effectively interface with all inputs and use cases, but for now I still haven't seen a single compelling touch interface that wasn't running on a purpose built OS (iOS, Android, WP7, WebOS, MetroUI).

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        They are not that different

        Android is being used in Google TV, in set top boxes, in PMPs, it even runs on PCs ( . There is no doubt that some of the apps would benefit from enhancements to support mice, keyboards and the larger screen but the OS is a fundamentally sound basis to use in other form factors. Even Google realise this.

        The OS in ChromeOS is largely irrelevant. They've cut the OS to its bare minimum to support the app and improve boot times, but otherwise it's just a stump over which the app runs. The app is a glorified shell that could be running over any OS for all the difference it makes to the end user. It could certainly run in Android which is Linux based (just like ChromeOS). The native client functionality (which is LLVM based similar to iOS) could also run in android. It could and it should. Then users can mix and match Dalvik and LLVM apps and use an enhanced Chrome browser which could work pretty much how it works in ChromeOS.

        Pushing two operating systems is just nuts. It confuses consumers, it divides developers. As for MS & Apple having multiple operating systems, that's a debate in itself but there are obvious legacy reasons which do not apply in Google's case.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Again I'm not trying to be disagreeable

          But are there other distros out there doing the verified boot and targeted at making the OS, more or less, stateless? To me that is the most interesting aspect of ChromeOS - the only local data you have is a cache of a copy elsewhere and if the machine catches fire or gets dropped in the ocean you could just log back into another machine and get back up and running.

          I think it's just a matter of time before they get down to one, but for now I don't really see the two as *such* an issue for consumers (especially considering that ChromeOS isn't even on sale yet) - but we're definitely on the same page regarding developers.

          Just out of curiosity, is it just me or do you see Native Client and Dalvik as being contradictory too? At the very least I think they should try and get NC rolled out to both OSs before they launch ChromeOS into production.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        iOS == Mac OSX

        Actually, iOS is a subset of OSX, so technically, Apple only has one OS (ok, ok, plus the OS for the iPods).

  9. Michael C

    not surprised

    ChromeOS doesn't actually need to exist. Its the apps it runs - HTML5 based programs - and the cloud behind it that made it attractive at all. If Android supports HTML5, and is already a solid and viable platform, then ChromeOS itself is unnecessary, and simply complicates the product offering.

    I tell you what I'm really looking forward to: an iOS or Android phone, with NFC chips, and a slightly beefier hardware offering sold side-by-side with simple touchscreens having little more in them than an NFC chip. The single device (phone) is the brains, and goes with you everywhere, but, power on a larger portable tablet screen anywhere near it, and pair it up, and it;s an instant tablet with 100% of what's on your phone available to it, and maybe bringing a few extra features to the table (an SD slot, more storage, etc). I don;t need a tablet and a phone, i Need a phone with a touch OS and enough horsepower to run apps on a larger screen (ore better yet more than one concurrently!) that it offers by itself. Make the screen $200 and high quality (iPad or better equiv), but also ubiquitous, such that any screen would work with any NFC paired device. they'd be thinner, cheaper, and much lighter, and then you don;t need to manage them all seperately...

    1. Goat Jam

      Sounds good

      But I doubt that NFC as it stands has anywhere near the bandwidth capabilities that would be required to drive a touchscreen.

      1. John 62


        I suspect nfc would just be for pairing. you could use ad-hoc wi-fi or something for the data transfer

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Seriously WTF

    The future merging/reconciliation of Android and ChromeOS has been discussed since ChromeOS was announced. Making Developers deal with two completely different models for Google OSs was identified quite early on as a problem that Google needed to deal with.

    Furthermore why are you incessantly repeating the debunked miscommunication/rumor/whatever-it-was that ChromeOS was ever targeted for tablets? I think Google is as hyperactive, ADD and contradictory as the next guy, but except for one little blip which was subsequently corrected Android has always been the touch-UI (which implies mobile and tablet) and ChromeOS has always been the more traditional keyboard-UI (netbook).

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      If it's been discuessed since day 1

      Why are we still talking about ChromeOS and a Cr-48 laptop that runs it nearly a year after it was publicly announced?

  11. Mage Silver badge


    The point is that Android is sort of a Mobile Linux Distro that can run local apps.

    ChromeOS is just a locked Linux OS with a Web browser.

    It's not a netbook platform/OS

    It's a Browser Appliance. The fact that it's called ChromeOS isn't relevant. Or even what underling OS it is.

    It's meant to be far more locked than a Pre Android Archos PMP. Those had Browser and you couldn't install any apps. Android was a step forward.

    The ChromeOS is not a Tablet or Netbook alternate to Android, MeeGo, iOS, OSX, Windows (CE or NT families). It's a niche market, the "Cloud Padd". Internet/Cloud apps only.

  12. K. Adams

    I like the idea of ChromeOS...

    ... I just don't think it's going to make much headway.

    I doubt very many ChromeOS netbooks/tablets are going to debut with a 3G (E-EDGE/EV-DO/HSPA) or 4G (LTE/WiMax) wireless connection, which would limit its utility to places where an Ethernet/Wi-Fi connection is available, and to voice-chat apps that can be executed completely within the confines of the browser.

    Android, by contrast, is a much more flexible (and, to a certain extent, much more complex) OS, with a true mobile connectivity stack included from the get-go.

    The two places where ChromeOS has the advantage, in my mind, are boot speed and battery life: Since the browser IS (in essence) the OS, booting should be (relatively) instantaneous, and if paired with netbook-sized batteries (and no extra cellular comms gear sucking electrons), a single charge should last quite a long time.

  13. Daleos

    Always on connection?

    Chrome has one serious flaw for me... It's reliance on the Internet.

    I've not looked at Chrome's offline caching if it has any but I can think of several situations where having cloud based apps will cause me real problems.

    1. On the London Underground - no signal, no play.

    2. At my mums in the country - modem only access to the net, up to 1 bar 3G signal depending on the weather

    3. On holiday abroad - How much does 3G roaming cost?

    4. On a flight - probably no signal, very expensive if they do.

    5. Data caps and limits. What happens if you go over your limit?

    Chrome might have it's uses as a corporate HQ thin client OS but as an OS for 'go-anywhere' device it needs to be able to cache several apps and a fair bit of data. There are just too many situations where either internet access is not available or too expensive to use.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    So the browser is the OS argument going to start again

    How thin is thin, isn't a webbrowser interactive wise about as thin as we would like already?

    That then would get down to the browser actualy being the OS, which would kinda make the whole mess Microsoft has had with internet explorer seem a bit silly and also perhaps set a more pesemistic approach legaly. Could you bring out a device that was just a firefox browser and not have microsoft ask why they cant run there browser on it. That could be funny.

    Responsive, robust, reliable....just works is what a consumer wants and thats down to multiple levels nomater the device. Sure there is the hardware and then the software on the device itself and then there is the carrier/connectivity and then the services upon that. Each adding to the degree of potential fail/poor experience from a end consumer.

    It then gets down to what is the most promenant services used and compatability with those. What with the likes of companies changing there interfaces/API's so others doing compatible interactive software with those services always end up playing catchup with regular periods of incompatability fail as you can fairly release a new software application and make the API fully available on day one knowing you have your software working to that API, others you can respond, we have a new API its there so please adapt, sorry it wasn't earlier we were still developing it. Were does that start to become anti-competative. Or does it ever. So in the end you find yourself buying X suppliers services and only reccomended (AKA partners or whatever is the latest buzzword for legal partnership thats like conspiracy but isn't, another fine line) and fully approved supplies compatabile products for peace of mind.

    So in that respect I think the RIM offering will offer some very intersting competition due to there chosen OS having a rather good pedigree as well as some nice respectible robust hardware and more so combined with the fact they do have experience of interacting with 3rd party services and more so probably the best experience of the mobile telecoms market, knowing what does and what dosn't work and happily write there own network protocols to get the job done efficeiently and effectivly. Google on the other hand have the services and also has the ability to adapt at a constant evolving pace, never passing go, but not going to jail either. But things change and so do the rules. So what will be the difference in the end between Chrome and Android when you start looking at drivers/support and the endless grief when the two area's are mearly a marketing term and operator compile options away from being the same thing. Yeah can see Chrome and andriod combineing and end up being monika's akin to Windows 7 basic and WIndows 7 ultimate, Full version, light version.

    It still realy ends up to what browser and in that respect you have to realy love those people at Opera. Now if RIM broght Opera, that could prove realy interesting but in a sad way as another monalith would of been born.

    WEB 2.5g here we come, bumpy bumpy.

  15. lord_farquaad

    very poor article

    As already said by anonymous coward, natively, chrome OS is targeting netbooks and not tablets.

    This is a very important distinction.

    Is there a touch based layer at the time being in Chrome OS ?

    I don't know.

    But reading such a short article based on a single tweet, and mentioning twice that ChromeOS is targeting tablet is really clear on the level of this article : bullshit written by somebody of very little knowledge of the situation

  16. sola

    I agree

    I don't see any need for a clear-cut, browser-based OS. Nobody trusts the cloud to that extent (and they shouldn't).

    Android will just do fine,. They just need to develop it to be able to handle tablets.

    Netbook machines could be MUCH BETTER SERVED with full Linux OS-es like Ubuntu, not something so limited like ChromeOS.

    They should have just created a Google branded Ubuntu distro using Chrome instead of Firefox and call it ChromeOS.

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