Open source, presumably free, this has the potential to be an extremely disruptive development. Strategically, I think this rollout has been done masterfully. They’ve had time to work on their office replacement products under a ‘beta’ banner for years without having to face direct head to head comparisons. By the time this OS would be ready, those products would be fully up to speed. Indeed, “Google also announced it was removing the “beta” label from such applications as Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Video For Business, and others.”
Why an OS? Why free? It reminds me of when a group of friends and I used to camp in the desert outside Vegas when rock climbing. We used to run into town on ‘rest days’ to Circus Circus for 99 cent Margaritas. Where I come from, a 99 cent Margarita is a watered down mess with a only a hint of lime and even less Tequila, but the ones in the casino were most excellent. It’s obvious after a moment of thought that the money is not made back on the drink, it’s made back from the gambling after a few of these tasty beverages. Presumably in this case the money is not made from the OS, but from the improvements to search provided by getting access to more information, and greater ad revenue.
The tech landscape is littered with product initiatives launched naively into markets the parent company didn’t understand. It will be interesting to see if Google can achieve some relevance on the desktop once the product launches.