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Google Chrome OS is vaporware

John Gruber points out that Google Chrome OS is vaporware. There’s no running code, there are no devices, and there aren’t even screen shots. He asks but doesn’t answer why Google made this announcement right now. Steven O’Grady punts on this question in his analysis as well.

This is the burning question for me, why now? In the olden days, we’d call this FUD. There are not many reasons to announce something so early. One is that it was about to leak, and Google wanted to get its story on the record before the media took off with the story. The other is manipulation (FUD). You announce something early to keep people from making decisions without taking your future plans into account.

Right now the market share of the Chrome browser is small. That gives Google little juice in terms of demanding a seat at the table in discussions of future browser development. Google may be trying to raise the prestige of Chrome by letting people know that soon there will be computers available which will support Chrome and only Chrome for browsing. If people presume that Chrome OS will be successful, then suddenly it becomes much more important to take Chrome into account in the overall browser market. So that’s my guess: Google is announcing Chrome OS so that more people will take Chrome seriously.

6 Comments

  1. Dunno if you’d call this FUD, but it’s definitely a bit of an odd announcement. People get excited even if Google sneezes.

  2. Windows 7 is coming out in a few months. You can pre-order the update on/at [Amazon|Fry’s|Microsoft|etc].

    Maybe this is a way to get people to pause and reconsider, especially since the upgrade process is worse than pulling teeth with a rusty wrench.

  3. It’s exactly as you say. Google needs better browser tech for its apps to succeed. Not just Javascript, but an offline storage cache and better file uploading capabilities are two of the things it’s trying really hard to get into HTML5 and onto other browsers. Whether Chrome (the browser or OS) succeeds or not isn’t the point. They’re just tools to give Google leverage in web standards discussions against other players who honestly don’t have a huge need for more native-like behavior from web apps.

  4. Scoble seems to be hinting that Microsoft has some big announcement next week that Google was trying to steal the thunder from. Probably some type of big “cloud” computing idea from MS coming…

  5. It’s an open source project. You announce that you want help with those before you are finished. That way people can contribute.

    Comparing it to a product that’s built secretly first and then announced and then sold to customers is not what this is about.

  6. I would find that more persuasive if they had released any code. This is a really early announcement.

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