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Gmail Creator Says Chrome To Die In 2011

David Gilbert


Gmail Creator Says Chrome To Die In 2011

Isn’t Twitter great? Not only does it allow us to connect with people from all walks of life and get instant access to the inner most thoughts of the rich and famous, it also allows former employees to have their say on exactly what they think of recent developments – which in this case is Google’s Chrome OS.

Paul Buchheit, a former Google employee and driving force behind the very popular Gmail, has turned judge, jury and executioner by declaring: “ChromeOS will be killed next year (or “merged” with Android)” via his Twitter account. And it didn’t end there. Buchheit, who founded FriendFeed before selling it to Facebook, went on to say: “ChromeOS has no purpose that isn’t better served by Android (perhaps with a few mods to support a non-touch display)." This comes only days after Andy Rubin launched the Cr-48 developer notebook, which is the first to run the Chrome OS.

There has been a lot of debate surrounding Chrome OS lately and Buchheit referred to this in his final tweet (so far) on the subject: “I was thinking, “is this too obvious to even state?”, but then I see people taking ChromeOS seriously, and Google is even shipping devices for some reason.” It isn’t the only time someone connected to Google has hinted that having two operating system on the go at the same time isn’t the greatest idea in the world. Google co-founder Sergey Brin has noted previously that the Mountain View company will more than likely “produce a single OS down the road.”

Another issue at Google is recent losses of high profile employees to competitors including the main architect behind Chrome OS, Matthew Papakipos, who left for a job with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook last summer. It will be interesting to see if there is any retort from Google or will it be happy to let its operating sytem, or should that be operating systems, do the talking. We’ll have to wait and see.


December 15, 2010, 7:55 pm

I'd be inclined to agree personally. Ever since details of Honeycomb started to emerge, it looked to be the "successor" of Chrome OS. For a while I was even starting to get the impression that the delay to Chrome OS was because it was being merged into Honeycomb...

Maybe I'm just not the target audience, but I can't really see the point of "Cloud only" operating systems. Granted if you're using it for email and internet then of course you're going to be connected, but for EVERYTHING?


December 15, 2010, 11:13 pm

@ChaosDefinesOrder - Chrome OS won't be 'cloud only'. Google already have offline components to many of their apps.

I don't see them achieving merciless global domination with a Honeycomb type OS. In many ways Android is too similar to the old Windows Mobile (for better or worse) and I think it'll suffer the same fate. Chrome OS has the potential to pull the rug from under MS and Apple.

I guess it depends on Google's appetite.


December 15, 2010, 11:32 pm

Why is everyone moving to Facebook? I'm not a dev so can only speculate but I'd hazard that Google would be much more exciting in terms constantly innovating and releasing new services.


December 15, 2010, 11:37 pm

@rav: I'd have thought the same thing. Can only assume it's the perks and the thrill of something/somewhere new.


December 15, 2010, 11:42 pm

What's great is that the guy is saying what many (myself included) are actually thinking, and the brilliance of people like this, is that they are aware that it needs to come from an authority to be taken seriously.

I think Google pushing Chrome OS is doomed to failure. If anything, call it Android Desktop or something that ties into the android eco-system. I know Chrome OS is supposed to be a system within a browser, but that is an unsettling feeling for a lot of people. "Android desktop" positions the product perfectly to the consumer.


December 15, 2010, 11:46 pm


I'd kill for free gourmet lunches and massages. These devs are just spoiled!

Apparently Facebook have also stolen one of Google's cooks. I have been known to go to extreme measures for a good meal.


December 16, 2010, 12:28 am

I've watched ChromeOS presentation the other day... I was skeptical before but now it looks reasonable. Among other expected features (browser&cloud) it has two things that surprises me. Native GL support (so it will be possible to play real games on it) and native citrix client (for serious business environment).

It's a huge target market. All kind of portable devices on one side and all kind of office machines on the other. It looks so promising that I can expect MS to do similar thing (to protect their dominance in business sector).


December 16, 2010, 1:04 am

I think the working culture is far better at Facebook, plus there is the huge temptation of an equity stake which could potentially be massive even for minor decimal place awards.

Senior employees at these organisations see a lot of the 'future' and inevitably they will also be the type that want to be where the future is. Perhaps they're heading there.

Or maybe Facebook pay more.


December 16, 2010, 12:35 pm

@dark, well I think it's what plenty of people here and elsewhere have also been saying. It just gets more coverage when an ex-Goog says it. Who knows how "aware" he is, he's just a person posting his thoughts like everyone else, maybe he even has an agenda and some bitterness towards his former employers.

Anyway, the iPhone and now Android are successful over Symbian, WM6, etc because of simplicity and more than that, Apps. Chrome may have "web page apps" but it's not the same, and I think it's where Android has the upper hand and will for most people be a better "carry around computer" format. That said the enterprise & third world nations are a big market where this could make some serious inroads.


December 16, 2010, 12:51 pm

@Darkspark88 - Android can't revolutionise the computer world because of its fragmentation and the legacy it is already accumulating. That's what drags MS down. Chrome OS can start afresh.

The other comment above about Citrix is also spot on.

Denis iii

December 16, 2010, 1:28 pm


I've watched the ChromeOS presentation also and with the Citrix client saw the possibility of ChromeOS. Only problem is, Citrix is great in theory but in practice for lack of a better word it sucks balls.


December 16, 2010, 2:51 pm

@JonhH: Totally disagree. Sure Android has issues with fragmentation - devices and OS versions, but I think once Honeycomb comes out for tablets you'll see a standardisation - or at least a minimum working spec that will lift it beyond. It should come out around the same time as Chrome which will just muddy the waters even further.

I also cannot decide if calling it Chrome is a good (brand recognition) or bad (but I just use it for browsing, what happens when I want to play a game or edit a photo) idea. Either way I cannot see myself adopting it.

Hamish Campbell

December 16, 2010, 4:54 pm

Actually when I think of my workplace, this could be superb.

Anyone working out of the office uses citrix. So here is a secure, cheap notebook for staff to work from home with. Should be close to zero maintenance so seems like the perfect fit.


December 16, 2010, 5:41 pm

@HK - cards on the table, I'd hate to see Chrome OS succeed, but I think it will.

Gingerbread might end up being amazing but, at the end of the day, it's just another operating system in the traditional style. Some people will like it, some won't.

I can see it getting some market share but slugging it out with a heavyweight like Microsoft on their home patch doesn't sound like great idea. Especially as they are mobilising themselves with their 'three screens' strategy.


December 16, 2010, 6:51 pm

To be honest, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about, I already use my computer exclusively within Chrome for the most part, the only things I cant do on the web at the moment are Html editing suggestions gratefully accepted) and (speedy) image editing.

As for being net connected, coming from windows Mobile, I originally thought Android was dumb, not having the option for USB syncing, that seems like the middle ages now...

I realize that as a web based self employed, my view is maybe a bit tilted, but I find that if I take my laptop anywhere without a net connection it doesn't get used anyway, it just feels dead without access to web services.

I'm not sure whether Chrome OS the path we will take, but we will all be clouded to the hilt within two years and within five a data connection will be as ubiquitous as a voice signal is now.


December 16, 2010, 6:57 pm

There is also the fact that Facebook and Google don't get along, Facebook and Microsoft are very tight and Microsoft would sell whatever soul it has left to see Chrome OS die a firey death.

Google deliver good products which work, admittedly some of them fail to find a market, but this is simply because they are breaking new ground so much of the time.

Other companies deliver products to established markets which don't work, which consumers then put up with on sufferance.


December 17, 2010, 2:49 am

Will you be able to watch DVDs (or avi, etc) on a Chrome notebook? I mean if it really is just a browser no matter how good apps get and streaming is, lots of people will still want to view things in a more traditional way.

I also feel someone has to build a consumer (and enterprise) version of Linux in the near future that will be able to go head to head against Windows/OSX in a more traditional way. Why would someone choose Chrome when they could get Linux for the same price that does much more? Still rather pay £50-100 more and get Windows myself, but in business when you are getting hundreds or thousands of machines that doesn't scale so well.


December 17, 2010, 9:29 pm


May be a non issue as netbooks don't generally have DVD drives.

For me it all depends on performance. I'd happily accept the limitations for something that's quick and reponsive on basic hardware, which Windows definitely isn't.

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