An Unreasonable Faith In The Google OS
The Google Operating System is a myth. I’ll admit it. I also admit that I have a certain amount of faith in myths – or at least fairy (faerie) tales. It’s true that people, when faced with sudden affirmations of faith, will leap to conclusions to support it – it’s called cognitive dissidence. However, a friend of a friend told me a Google OS is eminent, and I believe it.
This is what the friend-of-a-friend says, who wouldn’t release screen shots or the email about it: Google plans to release an operating system into public beta soon, and plans to announce it at some upcoming conference.
Silly me, so hopeful in my landing of the scoop, which my colleague says no longer exists – the scoop, thought it may be announced at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York, just a couple of short weeks ago. Like for Santa, the proof eludes me.
People have been talking about it for years, the elusive OS that there have been screenshots for (which were fake), the Windows-killer that puts Google squarely in competition with Microsoft, making it the real (as in not-so-hyped) rivalry we all knew Google could offer the Beast of Redmond (after all, Macintosh, Linux, and Unix never really fulfilled their promise of competition, now did they?).
For a little while, we entertained that busting blocks wasn’t Google’s game. The recent acquisitions of YouTube and DoubleClick shows that’s not quite true – Google now controls a fair chunk of online video and online advertising. They like to pretend they’re still the idealistic, do-no-evil, play-with-Legos, guys-next-door-sort-of-by-accident-build-the-world’s-next-super-corporation kind of company. But they’re not anymore, plain and simple.
Google is a multinational, publicly traded corporation with its sites on as many markets it can possibly get a foothold in. What was once a college project is now a vehicle for shareholders.
It wasn’t too long ago, when I was greener, that I stubbornly clung to the belief that Google would offer some kind of Internet access (free or paid, wired or wireless), and Google denied it despite all the evidence of dark fiber buy-ups and patents filed, and my own co-writer and more famous columnists completely disagreed.
I’m still not convinced they won’t. They have the ability, and the incentive, given the AT&Ts and Verizons of the world, to do so. Why wouldn’t they?
Faith in Google OS is founded on the same principle. They have the ability and the incentive to release some kind of operating system to the masses as an alternative to Windows and Mac, and a market that is probably willing to accept another viable option.
I contacted Google about the possibility of such of thing, considering that my source was quite reliable – the friend and the friend-of-a -friend, who is in just the position to know these types of things but wouldn’t say any more for fear that Google would "blow up my house." That’s figurative, obviously, but I understand. This person’s position as a trusted tester would be in jeopardy.
Google’s response came from Andrew Kovacs, who works on Google’s client software. "Our position on this hasn’t changed," he said. "We’re continually exploring opportunities to expand our offerings, but have nothing to announce at this time."
And just as before, I take "at this time" to mean "we’ll let you know later, when we’ve got the whole thing figured out."
My prediction: Google will release an operating system not too long before they announce the GoogleNet.
Call me idealistic and foolhardy if you wish. As always, my faith cannot be shaken.