By Harry McCracken | Friday, July 10, 2009 at 8:44 am
Daring Fireball’s John Gruber has an excellent post up on Chrome OS. He’s skeptical and critical. But most of all, he wants Google to put up or shut up: “I like facts, demos, and best of all, shipping products. I don’t like vague promises,” he says.
And that’s the thing about Chrome OS: Google announced it without telling the world enough to allow us to form coherent opinions about it. If it has a fresh, inventive, and useful interface, it’ll be a lot more interesting than if it’s a reduced-functionality knock-off of Windows or OS X. But we just don’t know. If it’s autonomous enough to stay useful even when you’re not connected, it’ll be a lot more interesting than if it’s crippled by the lack of an Internet connection. But we just don’t know. If Google intends to make it possible to install Chrome OS on a variety of hardware, it’ll be more interesting than if it only works on a handful of netbooks. But we just don’t know. And so on.
There’s no law that a company needs to wait to announce a product until it’s ready to discuss it in detail. Conspiracy theories abound about why Google started talking about Chrome OS when it did. I’m not hazarding any guesses about the timing. But I do know that the only bottom line on Chrome OS that makes much sense right now is “Well, it could be interesting.”
Oh, and another thing we just don’t know about Chrome OS: When Google plans to show it to us, rather than describe it in general terms…