Device operating systems

Google Won't Hit 'Purée' on OSs

1:50 PM -- Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has a lot of operating systems going on, and it's taking a patient approach toward unifying them into one OS nirvana. It might be uncomfortable, but it makes sense.

Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, talked about this in his Tuesday-night keynote at Mobile World Congress.

He reiterated that the Chrome OS is for netbooks and laptops, while the Android family is for mobile devices. Another view: Android is for touch screens; Chrome OS is for keyboards and mice.

Over time, the OSs will be merged, but not yet, Schmidt says. And I liked what he said next, about lessons he's learned in technology: "Don't force technology to merge when it's not ready. Wait for the technology to be ready before it can be merged."

Of course. How many companies have landed in quicksand because they picked a destination first and couldn't steer the technology that way?

Google's shoot-from-the-hip culture of "20 percent" projects makes these kinds of divergences inevitable. The trade-off of organization for speed is how Android got fragmented in the first place, and Schmidt actually apologized for that on stage.

Now that the technologies are loose, it's right for Google to rein them in, but they're being smart in not forcing it -- especially since Chrome OS is so new. The notebooks aren't even on sale yet. (See Google's Chrome Laptop, Google Notebooks Come With Verizon 3G and Google Chrome in Pictures.)

By the way, I'm not in Barcelona. I watched the keynote Webcast over morning coffee. After reading Dan Jones's report, I don't feel so bad about being left home. (See MWC 2011: Surviving the Show.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:12:47 PM
re: Google Won't Hit 'Purée' on OSs

You know, something more cosmetic that I'd noticed ... Eric Schmidt was careful to keep saying "if you want to" or "if you opt in" every time he mentioned a potentially creepy/invasive technology.  That's just PR training, I guess, but at least he's learning. He didn't come across with that attitude that you're not living life correctly if you don't let Google track your every move.

Sign In