Yes, Google has open-sourced Chrome OS, its much discussed browser based operating system. But as usual, the open sourcing only says so much about its openness. Wait, no – its only open ‘on the hole’. After all, this isn’t something you can load on any PC. And it’s not much of an operating system. You can’t load local applications – not even one.
As part of its crusade to move more and more of our lives onto the web – and onto its own web services in particularÃ‚Â – Google has shunned the desktop entirely. And in doing so, it has shown a certain Apple-like quality: Like the Jobsian cult, Google is intent on tightly coupling hardware and software. The company – dare we say – is closing the market to certain hardware. Gasp.
But the ultimate irony is that after years of criticizing Microsoft for bundling its OS with its browser, Google has nearly made them one and the same. Yes, you can run third-party applications – but only web applications, online services of the sort offered most notably by, well, Google. And you certainly can’t use a third party browser.