Opinion: Google Chrome is the new Platform?

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Kevin Tofel wrote an article for GigaOm entitled, How Google plans to rule the computing world through Chrome. That article seems to have gotten quite a bit of attention but when I last looked, there weren't too many comments... and I tried to comment... but even in two different browsers, I couldn't get the comment submission to work properly so I decided to post it here. What follows is my response to his article:

Google added an app store in Chrome some time ago... how many versions ago of Chrome was that? There was a little buzz shortly after it came out with players like the New York Times pitching their Chrome App... which works fine in Firefox too, btw. Then time passed. During that time, yes, Chrome Browser has gained more market share... but so far as I can tell, the Chrome App store, which is mostly just a fancier way to deal with bookmarks, really hasn't taken off.

Is there an opportunity for Chrome Apps to become more popular? Sure... if they can fill a niche and work well. Does that mean everyone will want to do everything in their browser... or via a browser-based although-works-fine-offline technology? Probably not. People are creatures of habit. Yes, they can change habits as well as add new habits but they aren't going to scrap everything they have just because there are more icons in a Google App Launcher thingie. It just ain't going to happen. Just moving the icon selector GUI from the Chrome browser window to an OS panel / dock is not going to be any revolution.

So many people seem to think that what they like has to win out over everything else... but that rarely ever happens. I think Google Chrome and Chrome/web-based Apps will pick up some market share and will do quite well... but it will be just another player in a crowded arena that is constantly getting broader with more choices... not less.

The zero admin functionality you speak of is nice and all but how will it not be laid to waste by similar security problems that have started to plague Android? If and when Chrome Apps become popular, then malware creators will also target it... and unless Google somehow does a better job with Chrome than they have done with Android, it has the potential to be a mess that completely negates zero admin... but at least it'll be cross platform malware now. Thanks!

In the end what empowers more people is quality free libre and open source software, not better marketed commercial apps.

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