What Chrome Needs to Make a Dent in Windows

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-12-29 Print this article Print

5. User understanding

What is Chrome OS all about? Why should a consumer use it? Will it work with third-party peripherals? What happens when users can't connect to the Web? These are just a small sampling of the many questions users have about Chrome OS. And until they get their hands on the operating system, it's likely that Google will be unable to answer those questions. The search giant needs to do a better job of helping users understand what Chrome OS is all about. If it doesn't, the software will be just another also-ran in the space.

6. It's about hype

If Apple has taught Google anything, it's that hype is a best friend when attempting to sell products to consumers. Google had that hype when Chrome OS was first announced. Since then, the mainstream has largely forgotten about Chrome OS, while tech pundits are wondering why Google hasn't done more to talk about it. If Google wants to put a dent in Microsoft's market share, it needs the support only hype can provide.

7. What about the enterprise?

Chrome OS is not designed for the enterprise. In fact, some analysts have said Chrome OS probably won't be ready for the corporate world for about 10 years. That's a problem. Microsoft's dominance in the operating system market is partly due to its focus on businesses. Google can't afford to ignore the enterprise for long.

8. A long delay

When Google first announced Chrome OS, some folks were excited about the possibilities it might offer. But when Google said it wouldn't launch the operating system for another year, others were perplexed about why the company would announce the software so far in advance of its release. As a result, users will likely move on to other things. Chrome OS will be just a memory. Big mistake, Google.

9. Vendor support

So far, Google has done little to reassure consumers that Chrome OS devices will be available when the software launches. A few companies have jumped on Google's bandwagon, but many others are waiting to see if there's a market for an online operating system. That's a problem. Ubiquity is everything in the PC business. The more places an operating system is available, the more likely it is to sell well. Google needs to find a way to reassure vendors and sign more companies up. It's imperative at this stage in the operating system's development.

10. Security

Security is the thorn in every operating system maker's side. It's now a key concern of Google's. But by detailing few ways in which it expects to keep users safe, Google leaves some wondering if Chrome OS will really hold up against attacks from malicious hackers. In the future, Google needs to focus much of its efforts on reassuring both consumers and the security community that it knows what it's doing with operating system security. If it doesn't, it could hurt Chrome's market acceptance.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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