Google Announces ChromeOS: Is it a game changer?

Google’s announcement of ChromeOS has sparked widely varying opinions on the Internet.

On its own, ChromeOS is an open source operating system targeting netbooks and desktop PCs. Google’s intent is to support cloud computing — internal or external. At this level, ChromeOS is certainly a threat to the Linux versions in that space. While an open source project, ChromeOS has the financial backing of a major player that can push development of device drivers and core functionality.

Given Microsoft’s absence from the netbook market and ownership of business desktops, the threat to Microsoft is indirect. Will businesses migrate to OpenOffice? Will they run “office in the cloud”?

If you combine ChromeOS with Wave, however, the story changes. While most of the world focused on Wave’s user interface, I find Google’s stated intention of letting customers run federated servers in-house most fascinating. Wave is a private-cloud platform. Combine federated Wave servers with ChromeOS and you have the potential for an ecosystem.

ChromeOS on the desktop connecting to in-house, shared, and public Wave servers as well as other cloud computing services. Google has the potential to fundamentally change the way businesses compute.