Techn industry writers are tittering at the thought of a cheap, Google-branded PC being announced this Friday during Larry Page's keynote address at CES. (He a Google co-founder.) Here's the New York Times writer, Sallie Hofmeister: "The machine [sold by Walmart or other retailers] would run an operating system created by Google, not Microsoft's Windows..."
How does this fit in with Google's aim of organizing the world's information? It doesn't. You won't see a Google PC, and here's why:
- a cheap PC isn't the same as free, which all of Google's consumer offerings are.
- for the PC to be free, it would have to display ads, which requires a full-time Internet connection, which not enough consumers have yet (cf. Alibre).
- the "non-Windows" operating system is unlikely to be better at organizing information than any other operating system. although it might be better at storing it.
- brand-new operating systems are too buggy to unleash on consumers (cf. Windows).
- Google has too few apps running on Linux and Mac OS -- heck, even support for non-IE browsers is sad -- to have an entire suite of data organization apps running on the mythical GoogleOS.
- Even if Google has written its own operating system and has rewritten all its apps (Picasa, Earth, browser, etc), consumers wouldn't go for it, because then they would be hosting two PCs (cf. bombs like the Media Center PC and TabletPC), and one PC is already enough of a headache and cost-drain.
The NYT staff writer did come up with a more likely scenerio:
Bear Stearns analysts speculated ... that consumers would soon see something called "Google Cubes" -- a small hardware box that could allow users to move songs, videos and other digital files between their computers and TV sets.
The concept is not new; for example, a PocketPC, such as HP's iPaq with built-in wireless networking and free MP3 playback software can be attached to any stereo system in the house, and stream music files from the home's desktop computer and its massive hard drives.
Selling a Google-branded consumer device makes more sense than a PC, just as Apple has become a consumer products market leader with its iPod brand. But would the device answer the question Google is posing: "How does it help organize the world's information?" Perhaps a consumer device that organizes all (common) files: photographs, movies, music, office data, Web sites, email, blogs, and so on.