There's now something called the Google stack:
- it starts with an operating system called Chrome,
- a browser of the same name,
- the forthcoming Wave productivity, communications and collaboration application,
- a separate set of Google Apps (which includes secure email and chat), and
- a burgeoning developer community.
Google's announcement also seems timed to wreck havoc with Microsoft's roll-out of Windows 7. While Microsoft clearly has a lot of commitments in the PC market already, it may not have much more than promises when it comes to the very much unsettled netbook market. In fact, Sony announced a strategic about-face today, saying it will bring a netbook to market after all; and few observers would be surprised if Apple were to introduce a netbook running on Chrome rather than its own OS (especially since Apple CEO Steve Jobs said Apple isn't capable of producing a netbook that isn't a "piece of junk.")
Veteran industry observer Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, noted in his newsletter this morning that
problems with Vista led many of those vendors to explore OS and application options beyond Microsoft... What Google is betting on with the Chrome OS is that this elemental "rearrangement" of PC technologies will lead to an analogous shift in computing and consumer behavior... [which] could disrupt the efforts of virtually every vendor focused on personal computing, not just Microsoft.Indeed, Google is trying to capitalize on the convergence of personal and business technologies, recognizing that what would have been unthinkable in the enterprise even five years ago (iPhones, social networking, cloud-based applications) is now becoming commonplace. Craig Clearwater, vice president of the financial services segment at data quality vendor Informatica, told me in his New York office today that while many kinds of data will continue residing on premise, behind corporate firewalls, applications and work products (like reports derived from those applications) can increasingly reside in remote data centers controlled by the likes of Google. Adding up the various elements of Google's growing stack, Clearwater said simply, "it's big."
And you notice that in all of this, nary a mention of search; yeah, Google still does that too.
[Image source: Wikimedia Commons]