To be honest, I haven't been very impressed with any of the products that Google has released besides the dominating trifecta of Search, Maps, and GMail. Pretty much every other product that Google has released is pretty ho-hum. I'm not counting services that Google has bought like YouTube, Picasa, Blogger, GrandCentral (Google Voice) etc. which are great products. To name a few in no particular order: * Orkut * Android * Google Shopping * Google Checkout * Google Finance The telling one here is Android. I have used an Android phone (not the new Nexus One, but the Droid) and found it to be supremely disappointing versus the iPhone. Supposedly, the Nexus One is supposed to be better but from all the online demos I've seen of the Nexus One, it's incrementally better than the Droid but not by leaps and bounds. Unlike Microsoft, I don't see Apple getting complacent about their product development and Google has a lot of ground to make up.
Second, the rumblings are that Eric Schmidt needs to leave Apple's board because of potential competitive issues. He currently recuses himself from board meetings that deal with the iPhone due to Google competing Android product. Will he now recuse himself when there is talk of Mac OS? So pretty much he's just there to discuss iPods? Seems like a waste of space in my opinion. However, my prediction is that Schmidt does not leave Apple's board. This leads me to believe that the Google Chrome OS is not really going to be an OS in the traditional sense of the word which means it doesn't really compete with Mac OS and for that matter, Windows. Let's remember, it's basically Linux with the Chrome browser bolted on top. The real point of the Chrome OS is to push more Chrome installations and not to beat Windows. Believe me, it takes more than just having a superior OS to take significant market share away from Microsoft. Look at Mac OS and the ahead of its time BeOS. Both were better operating systems yet couldn't even make a dent in Windows. I hardly doubt ANOTHER Linux variant is going to fair any better.
I picked this post up from TechCrunch and though it definitely is a major step forward, let's not make it more than what it really is. Google Chrome, in its proposed incarnation, will never replace Windows (or Mac OS) as a legitimate desktop OS; just like Linux never replaced Windows as a consumer desktop OS. The web has become a major APPLICATION that we all use on a daily basis but there are many other applications that we use that don't require us to connect online. And before anyone starts talking about ZOHO or Google Apps, has anyone really tried using any of these online office applications? Frankly, they're not that useful beyond the bare basics of what a spreadsheet or word processing application should do. Can they get better, of course. Just not today or in my opinion the foreseeable future (next 1-3 years).
But lest I seem like I am in Microsoft's corner, this is a significant announcement. The real point is not for Google to overtake Microsoft in the OS world. It just needs to make a dent and I think it will. Microsoft's empire is one based on total domination. If it ceased to own more than the roughly 90% of the OS market it does today, that will be a major hit to its bottom line. Microsoft is a bloated organization with lots of people making lots of money (roughly 91K+). If Google was able to either take 5%-10% market share OR force Microsoft to significantly lower the price of a Windows license, it could make things difficult for them. In the end, that's all Google is aiming for. Make life difficult for Microsoft in its core product (desktop) so it doesn't concentrate on Google's core product (web).