Cloudy (GIS) with a chance of Chrome OS!
Last week, Google launched the Chrome OS, its new, light-weight, open source operating system that is entirely browser-based and relies heavily on apps and browser extensions. According to the Chrome blog, Google is working with several device manufacturers to release Chrome OS loaded netbooks. With ipad’s huge success, tech companies like Acer, HP, ASUS, Lenova, Toshiba, TI, and Dell are in the pool, seriously considering Chrome OS. Even though the OS is launched officially, it is not in a consumable form for the public yet (expected after mid 2011). However, Google is sending out a test netbook named CR-48 to pilot testers around the country.
Tip: If you have applied for the pilot program and are anxiously awaiting the result, click here to use an unofficial version of cr-48 shipment tracker.
Will the Geo-community hop on?
Few months ago, we had a brainstorming discussion in Linkedin, over my post ‘Journey from Desktop to Cloud.’ While there were mixed feelings on cloud GIS services, most of the users were willing to adapt to the cloud environment gradually. Not to mention, Esri led the way by moving ArcGIS server on Amazon EC2 , launching ArcGIS online and ERDAS, as well, launched Apollo on the cloud with Skygone. There are several pure browser-based GIS applications too.
Assuming Chrome OS secures fast adoption rates, the increased demand for web-based services may shift a percentage of the geospatial industry into cloud. Although it is too early to speculate and the change is not going to happen overnight, I do expect the migration (average consumers) to be real in about 2 to 5 years. Eventually, would Chrome OS replace Windows and/or other operating systems? Negative. Although, gone are the days of unreliable networks. We have entered an era of sophisticated, fast, robust, scalable, and reliable networks. Based on initial reviews, chrome development, and future trends I would bet on the success of Chrome OS in sweeping market shares, as Android did.