Rich Skrenta wrote about Googles platform shortly after the launch of its Gmail service in April:
Google is a company that has built a single very large, custom computer. It’s running their own cluster operating system. They make their big computer even bigger and faster each month, while lowering the cost of CPU cycles. It’s looking more like a general purpose platform than a cluster optimized for a single application.
While competitors are targeting the individual applications Google has deployed, Google is building a massive, general purpose computing platform for web-scale programming.
This computer is running the world’s top search engine, a social networking service, a shopping price comparison engine, a new email service, and a local search/yellow pages engine. What will they do next with the world’s biggest computer and most advanced operating system?
Jason Kottke added: [Googles] real target is Windows. Who needs Windows when anyone can have free unlimited access to the world’s fastest computer running the smartest operating system? Mobile devices don’t need big, bloated OSes…they’ll be perfect platforms for accessing the GooOS. Using Gnome and Linux as a starting point, Google should design an OS for desktop computers that’s modified to use the GooOS and sell it right alongside Windows ($200) at CompUSA for $10/apiece (available free online of course). Google Office (Goffice?) will be built in, with all your data stored locally, backed up remotely, and available to whomever it needs to be (SubEthaEdit-style collaboration on Word/Excel/PowerPoint-esque documents is only the beginning). Email, shopping, games, music, news, personal publishing, etc.; all the stuff that people use their computers for, it’s all there.
Headshifts Lee wrote: The concept of a Google OS is a more fundamental danger to the Windows cash cow that Microsoft is based upon. A distributed system powered by Google’s computing and search power, but which is run through a browser and Web services, could simply render Windows obsolete.
Of late, there has been a lot of speculation about Google and the possibility that it may be creating its own browser. Googles goal would be to create its own alternative to counter the integration that Microsofts Longhorn would offer between desktop computing and the Internet. Google is in an excellent position given its dominance in search to create alternative computing platforms. Business Week also argued that Google should be in the browser bizThe move would be key in helping the outfit expand beyond search, tie its many offerings together, and hold off Microsoft.
Morgan Stanleys Mary Meeker wrote in a recent report on Google: Particularly, with the launch of Gmail, we became intrigued at the possibility that Google could create a distributed computing model layered over user-generated content. Right now users can have 1GB of webmail storagebut with potentially tens of thousands of servers, and commensurately cheap storage space, we wonder about the possibility of Google providing a thin application desktop that resides on the browser, where users could jot brief notes (GWord?), do basic calculations (GExcel?), and of course, search. The April 2004 registration of gbrowser.com by Google could lend some credibility to this line of thinking. Ultimately, we believe the company could have a significant opportunity ahead of it in Search / Find / Obtain well beyond the Google.com domain.
Monday: Browser as Network Computer?