Although it still looks pretty early days, and it remains to be seen how things go in the polishing process (read writing huge amounts of drivers), Chrome OS looks to be another great push for change on the web (and computing in general):
- The "the browser is everything" might be called "too simple" by Techcrunch but it's actually a great strength. It is MUCH easier making a souped up browser run on a wide range of hardware than it is arbitrary applications.
- The android strategy also seems to make a lot of sense - android and chrome OS can grow together and eventually chromeOS will be running on millions of handsets. (Look for low end handsets not being able to run apps ... but just being able to browse web apps.)
There's also an aspect of Chrome OS which is almost the opposite of innovative it seems to me - the focus on the full browser page as the primary interface modality - it almost seems to be there because Google still thinks it will be serving huge volumes of Ads in 5-10 years. Where as what is likely to happen in my view is that apps will take on the form factor most approriate to what they do (see desktop widgets
today) - the full page view Web might have a limited life.
Lastly an interesting issue is how the many web apps a user will synchronise amongst themselves. On a "normal" OS different software packages do interact + users can move files and data easily between applications. On the Web oAuth, openID and APIs between providers will certainly help, but this is still far from arbitrary movement of content from one application to another. (Interestingly most OSs still don't handle this well either even after years of development.)
All these things combined potentially give Google an extremely dominant position on line. Microsoft should be concerned. In any case at least they are making everybody think about the future of the web and of our interaction with it.