Hawk's Nest

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Buzz Report: Good-bye, computer; hello, world! - CNET.com

Molly Wood, senior editor at CNET.com, sketches a vision of where she thinks Google is heading with its strategic acquisitions and deployments of web-based products. I have to agree her vision is compelling in many respects. I've long thought that Google was developing a desktop operating system (OS) but her outline of how it would be delivered is equally compelling. The only issue I see is that to access this web-based environment involves requires a Windows, Mac or Linux OS. This OS needs to address all of the security headaches like spyware, viruses, firewalls and the like in a simple, robust way. People are still going to surf the Internet with a browser, placing them at risk to the pitfalls of the Web. So let me go a step further than Molly.

Google needs to customize a Linux distribution which takes advantage of all the vision laid out in Molly's article. It would include Firefox, optimized for the Google environment, DVD-burning capabilities, built-in antivirus, spyware, firewall applications with free updates to keep it secure. The GUI should be simple, Windows-esque, with plenty of automation. It could be distributed with new PC's as an option and provide the local storage options for privacy which Molly mentioned. This combination would provide what a majority of people would need and use.

Support for this OS would be one concern I have. Who would provide it? Would there be a Google Desktop Knowledge Base? Would there be paid for engineers?

Another concern would be websites which rely on Internet Explorer and ActiveX for functionality. Could a "sandbox" environment be created to virtualize the IE functionality without exposing the underlying OS to the security risk? What if Microsoft release IE 7 as stand-alone application for all OS's, including Linux? What solutions are these problems?

I can see how this vision can be attained. I'm anxious to see if it will be tried. If anyone can do it and do it right, it's Google. They are the biggest threat to Microsoft.


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