The Google Operating System: Myth or Reality
December 7, 2008
“Does Google have a Secret OS?” by Andy Patrizio appeared in Internet News on December 4, 2008 here. I found the write up to be thought provoking. Mr. Patrizio makes it clear that Google did not his direct questions. Like many Google watchers, he must rely on other types of information to tackle the question of the secret Google operating system. The acronym GOS is quite close to goose, and I have been reluctant to land on a hard “yes” as the answer to this question. The main point of Mr. Patrizio’s article is that Android, the Google operating system for mobile phones, may be a first step. Mr. Patrizio pointed to Rob Enderle, one of the big dogs at that consultancy, for this comment:
Such an OS would be an expanded version of the Android OS the company recently released for mobile phones, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst for The Enderle Group. “They were clear they were going to go down this direction, with a platform that largely lives off the cloud with Google apps,” he told InternetNews.com. Look at it as the Android concept expanded to a PC.”
Forbes’ Magazine added fuel to the Google operating system fire with its “Google’s Invisibility Cloak” here by Elizabeth Woyke.
My hunch is that Google has been plugging away on various technical challenges. However, Google seems content to tap into public facing carnival show only when it must. I think Android, Chrome, individualized Google and the other software components are designed to make specific operations possible in tightly controlled ways. At some point, Google may abandon its component-by-component approach.
My research into Google’s patent documents suggests that Google has moved through several eras of software development in the firm’s 10 year history. Like Google’s potential energy in publishing, the company exposes only what must be exposed to allow a specific type of operation to occur. Google has quite a few components which are not available to users and partners. In my opinion, what Google will eventually have on offer will be code components that permit more and more sophisticated operations to occur.
At some point, enough components will be available so an observer can say, “Look, Google really has an operating system.” If a person asserts that a Google operating system is ready for release, Google will probably pull another Searchology type of public relations play to regain control of the information stream.
A better question is, “Does Google make available its full array of software components and services to most Google engineers or just to the top ranking Google fellows, scientists, and technical wizards?” Anyone have data to share?
Stephen Arnold, December 7, 2008