Google Gets Hard

Both metaphorically and actually, I suppose. The guys at Google must be ogling themselves after their latest round of “surprises.”

This time, Google’s potentially gunning not just for Microsoft — but for Apple, too!

Surely, Google must see Apple as more of an ally than a foe in general. However, as the major online company begins to shift its visions, it will inevitably aim to conquer both companies, not just the bigger. The question is one of approach rather than goals; If Google is to continue progressing, it’ll have to take over computers entirely. And there is no doubt that their ultimate intention is straight out of Pinky and the Brain!

Random assortment of little bought-out companies: “What are we going to do tonight, Brain?”

Google: “The same thing we do every night, Pinky: Try to take over the world!!!

That little bit of happy nostalgia aside, Google clearly is still present, and unfortunately that means contemplating their most recent — announcements? Well, as per usual, Google’s pretty quiet about their work until they actually release it. Pretty standard company behaviour, I think (evidence that Google’s the same as Microsoft?), but still frustrating. Since it’s the truth, however, speculation on rumours must take place.

The first tale is one of accomplishment and musing. For ages, the concept of a Google Operating System has been tossed about. As the former search engine took on MSN Messenger and Microsoft Word, the thought occurred web-wide that surely Google must be aiming to take down Gates’ main pillar of income — Windows itself. The divinely-inspired operating system that comes packed on every computer, however, has been shot at by many aggressive foes, and — much like Google — Microsoft’s tendency has been to swat away the shots like gnats. However, a monopoly is only potent while it retains its position as a monopoly — and that, it appears, is no longer the case! Google Operating System, while not entirely alive, is at least temporarily in effect as gOS.

While Wal-Mart may be up for a challenge when it comes to returns, as the article points out, the entire concept of a Google Operating System is intriguing. Their trend with all software development has been simple, intuitive interfacing with a user-friendly feel. gOS looks to be no exception. Built around Ubuntu Linux, this system would seem to be a testing ground for marketing a Google Operating system. Though I haven’t gotten heavily into it yet, the OS is downloadable here, though it is missing the codecs to play restricted files like DVDs and Mp3s. Built around using web-based applications, the theory goes that anyone using gOS should be able to make due with a low-end PC, which, as the former article points out, is something Windows Vista simply can’t permit.

Combined with the fact that it helps Wal-Mart to sell a $200 PC, and surely some attentions will be caught.

Of course, those attentions are currently the people who are unlikely to purchase the computer. I think it’s an incredible concept, but though I will fool around with the downloaded version, I’d never buy a gPC, since my year and a half old computer can out-motor it significantly. The tech-savvy folks who are enamoured with Google tend to be in the same boat. Those who are unlikely to need a computer with more punch are going to be unaware of their participation in the larger scheme of things, if, in fact, they retain the computer despite the lacking Windows. The interface appears fairly self-explanatory; The regular “nerd” stigma that comes with Linux shouldn’t plague new users, since the system should be pretty simple to set up.

Caught up in all of this are the rumours about a real Google OS, instead of one based on Ubuntu. Whether it’ll happen or not is anyone’s guess, but this could serve as Google’s springboard into the world of computer sales.

The other rumour which came to my attention a while back, but resurfaced over on Awake & Dreaming is the potential for a Google Phone. This, unlike the computer OS, would be more of a challenge for Apple than Microsoft. While it’s true that a new, inexpensive OS would cut into MacOS slightly, the fact that Macs have a following that stands apart from the PC market suggests that Apple won’t have to fear too much from gOS. But if indeed a Google Phone came out, the only possible assumption is that Google is gunning for the iPhone. Suddenly a competition that has primarily been “Microsoft vs. the Rest” would become “Microsoft vs. Google vs. Apple vs. The Rest.” And while we all knew it was coming, Google’s silence has kept the time period hidden. If indeed the Google Phone is developed and released within a year or so, this war could get bloody, and soon!

Up until now, Google has been based on advertisement for revenue. While part of their marketing scheme will surely be affordability, their emergence on the hardware scene will end up creating a stir in the markets. It’ll be the first “real” income source for Google. Direct sales would change the Google strategy. Who knows where it would leave their apps. Perhaps for Google OS users, a version of Google Docs that is downloadable and more potent? Or a Picasa with way more functions? Google has the ability to release a collection of some of the best applications with their OS, but they would have to make it desirable to convert to their OS instead of just using their programs on Windows.

Free is good. But it doesn’t sell. Let’s see where this goes — and here’s hoping that we can all still use their good programs when it’s over and done. Paying for Google Desktop just isn’t going to happen for yours truly!

UPDATE:

Today, a comment about Gphones appeared on the Google Blog. They’re avoiding the hardware for now — and shooting for a monopoly on phone OSs. Even better!

We’ll see where this one’s headed!

For there record, the video’s cute! 😀

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