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Some preliminary thoughts about Google OS
Google's announcement:
The software architecture is simple Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform

Kottke writes:
Sure, GooOS is not an operating system as a programmer would define it but it's an OS from the perspective of the user

I think there is a problem here that none of the comments I've read today adress. A user may not care about what a programmer thinks is a good programming environment but in the end they are the ones that code the apps a user actually uses.

The web isn't a terribly nice environment to code in if you want something beyond simple stuff. Webdevelopers started using scripting languages like Perl, CGI, PHP, ASP, JSP and Ruby and the like because HTML+Javascript is terrible for application development. You want data storage, application logic and state preservation; and traditional web languages aren't good at that. You need a scripting language at least and even then you need to run that on a server, not on a browser. Despite all the effort Google is putting into making Google Docs available offline hardly anyone "normal" (that is, not a web-savvy, technical minded user) knows about it and it's terribly difficult to code. Probably more so than in traditional C like environments.

When Apple released the original iPhone all you could do was code webapps for it and there was much boo-ing. When they released the SDK a year ago with the release of the iPhone 3G countless coders jumped on that ship and started coding in Objective C. In fact news came out yesterday that there are now almost 60.000 applications available on the iTunes store. That's a sick amount even if you can guesstimate that there are about 15 lighter applications, 30 fart noise apps, 30 different Mahjong games and about 75 Sudoko clones.

If Google seriously thinks that the web is the ultimate platform for app development they have a shock coming to them. But then I think they know that and that that's the reason they're targeting the netbook market now. If you buy an underpowered device you do not expect state of the art and niche apps.
As Apple has proven, if you give programmers more and better tools developers will jump on that, and that requires allowing system level API access, even though the iPhone isn't more powerful than a netbook and therefore should be even more geared towards webapps.

It will be interesting to watch how this plays out but I doubt Apple is worried. Microsoft may be worried about the low-end home market but there's no way this will ever seriously hurt them in the business world. Not for another 10 or 15 years at least.

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