It’s no secret that Google is one of the biggest IT companies out there today. From search and mail to browsers, they’ve got it all. What we in the IT community have been talking about that you may not have heard of is its chrome OS. Basically its designed for netbooks, and it has limited uses without a net connection. Of course, thats true for netbooks in general. It might not be right for me, but 70% of computer users that I know use a computer only for internet related purposes. Google has developed a rich suite of applications geared specifically towards those kinds of users. And I’m not to dissatisfied with that for one main reason: the internet is accessible from any platform. Those of you who traveled here from my link in UF already know this, but for everyone else: I run Linux, not Windows, not OS X. Linux is a totally free operating system for your computer, has excellent web browsers including firefox and chrome, is more secure than most other operating systems (number of viruses is in the single digits), and is the most customizable operating system that has ever existed. The main problem is that the majority of people continue to use and expect others to use proprietary software, which besides the fact that you never own it, only rent it, will not run on every platform. Linux is gaining market share, they recently hit 2%, so the major manufactures will start caring soon. But what if I want to run BSD, another free OS? Out of luck. On the other hand, if everyone uses google docs instead of MS office, I’m able to access it if I’m running BSD, Linux, Haiku or even VMS.
However, there are disadvantages to a web based infrastructure centered around Google. One major thing is that I don’t entirely trust google. They’re kinda creepy with how they store your personal information for long periods (but they’re better than facebook). Another would obviously be that with most of your mission critical apps online, you’re screwed if there’s a major network outage. Maybe I’m just old fashioned with my computer usage, but even if I like the move to the cloud, I don’t want to be a major part of it, nor participate in it at all.
Moving to a web based future is great, just make sure you don’t accidentally leave all your eggs in one basket. An industry with a Google monopoly is no better than the Microsoft monopoly still going to stagnate, if not quite as quickly.