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Although he has been a major critic of Google, Dave W has come up with some fairly credible info from time to time. The following is given without source, but if true (big IF - but we do know Dave has friends in low places...eg: Redmond), then we have some more evidence that Google is not messing around with a wimpy browser, but going for a bite, but it is going for the whole system:
Okay, we don't know for a fact that Google is working on an operating system, but the tea leaves are pretty damned clear. Why else would they have hired Microsoft's operating system architect, Mark Lucovsky [answers.com]? Surely not to write a spreadsheet or word processor.
Amongst his contributions to Windows NT, was an eighty-page manual he wrote with Steve Wood defining the Windows APIs that should be available to software developers working on the Windows NT platform. He also managed check-ins to the Windows NT source code, tracking each check-in and discussing it with the developer before allowing it to be committed.
Mark is the Chief Software Architect for .NET My Services. He joined Microsoft in 1988 with Dave Cutler and others to form the Windows NT group. From 11/1988 - 7/2000, Mark was a Lead Architect and Developer designing and building the Windows NT executive, kernel, win32 runtime, and several other key areas of the system. In July 2000, Mark was asked to focus on .NET and design a programming model and architecture for a coherent set .NET Services. The result of this work is the project code-named "HailStorm", and now known as .NET My Services. Mark was recently named a Microsoft Distinguished Engineer in recognition of his contributions to Microsoft.
Eweek Confirms Hiring:
I don't believe so, well not for the moment at least, world domination should be done in smaller steps.
I think it's a sign the Google is expanding on to the desktop. Integrated applications related to search, whether searching the Web, searching your email, or searching that massive collection of un categorised porn that you've got stashed away somewhere; and other less important documents.
Surely a bit of inside information doesn't hurt when you're writing software that integrates with another company's operating system?
It seems that MS has now more or less abandoned the path of being "universal keyholder" - at least i haven't really heard about it for ages and i can't find reference to ".NET My Services" on MSDN [msdn.microsoft.com]. In stead they refer to XML based "Web Services" in general, which is an entirely different matter.
Further, this 2002 Cnet article about .NET My Services [news.com.com] mentions that they forgot to add a business model to the concept. Imagine - not even ads! And... what use does MS have for a product without a built in business model?
Well, MyServices seems to have been split into two parts, i guess no. 2 could be the most relevant to Google short term:
On a sidenote i saw that WinXP sports native support for SOAP [msdn.microsoft.com] now. I didn't know that. This means that my Google API Key can be used directly in windows. Easier digestible example here [msdn.microsoft.com] :)
As a guess they would easily gain a 10-15% market share in the first year just because they are Google. I am assuming it would be offered free to start.
The only thing that would hinder that is if it wasn't compatible with widely used software or difficult to install over existing systems.
Go for it G!
They've got way too much in beta and are all over the place IMO at this moment to go around actually building a product.
Brett -- when was the last time Google actually launched a proper product which involved distribution, channel partners, proactive consumer oriented marketing in *gasp* print media? :)
Claus, they gave up on it completely on the corporate level, or more accurately, the corporate level told MS:
You, trust you with our data? I don't think so.
The plan was quietly shelved and lives on only in lowly passport etc.
Brett, I wonder, thinking back on some articles re the google infrastructure, if this might just be related to the whole google file system, which essentially acts like one big OS more or less already. So to me it makes sense that google would hire a serious OS guy, not to create some consumer thing, but to make their worldwide distributed system function more and more as a single system, an OS in other words.
Sort of in line with your suggestion a while back that gecko might be used to better parse pages spidered etc, Google, the next os... connect to it via the web. A single globally distributed OS, running all your services, search, email, etc, just like your local OS does.
A Google OS :), na it's so far off of what they do I would say its extremely improbable that they would just throw there hat into that ring. If they hire a janitor you guys will be saying there getting ready to compete with the mob in waste management:) someone at SES was suggesting that they would release a Linux distro, I hope they do as they would have to release contributed code under the GPL, I don't think thats in there best interest though :)
Another way to look at it would be that Google working on a commercial OS to compete with MS would be a waste of resources. MS has ~50,000 employees and Windows is their primary money maker. Google has ~3,000 employees. Google can't compete against microsoft on that stage right now. I'm with igf1, not everyone working for google is creating products directly.
2. Google has a huge user base across a widening variety of products: Search, Blogger, GMail, Google Tool Bar, Picasa, etc etc.
3. Google already integrates many of these services through one service (the Tool Bar) with a user base in the millions.
4. The Tool Bar is, effectively, a thin client application.
5. Google has been quietly buying up large amounts of dark fiber over the past year. (dark fiber = unused fiber optic trunks)
6. Google recently became an accredited domain registrar.
7. Google hires one of the top Mozilla coders
8. Google hires a top OS coder from MS, specifically one who knows the MS APIs inside and out.
Making an OS? Making a browser? Maybe, but that hasn't been Google's game in the past. Their game so far has been almost entirely web based.
My guess: There are some interesting ways you can combine all this, my personal favorite would be a thin client application, cross platform, that would run something like this.
Buy a domain through Google, and get a whopping set of services to go with it. GMail, Web Authoring (A-La Blogger, but prolly deeper), personal search, file storage, and a range of highly usefull applications (read: MS Office on Steroids), that can all be accessed online from any machine equipped with the G toolbar, for full functionality, or from a web based interface, for slightly reduced functionality.
The power of your PC becomes irrelevant. You have access to powerful distributed computing through a basic login. What's more, you can access your files from any machine that has a net hookup. You could (in theory) do complicated and processor heavy tasks from something as wimpy as a Palm, or even an SMS equipped cel phone or BlackBerry.
>> They need someone who had the architectural knowledge to allow them to slip
>> their mail, calendaring, imaging and mapping functions into the OS
Good points, shri :)
>> They've got way too much in beta and are all over the place IMO at this
>> moment to go around actually building a product.
Also a very good point. Still, i suspect that we will see yet another beta, specifically a "Google Instant Messenger" in due time.
>> to make their worldwide distributed system function more and more as a single system ... and:
>> a grab for someone to improve processes.
I agree that this could very likely be (part of) the short term focus. On the longer term, this spells "integration" to me, as:
>> 2. Google has a huge user base across a widening variety of products: Search, Blogger,
>> GMail, Google Tool Bar, Picasa, etc etc.
...which could all benefit. Now, we webmasters tend to forget this really large market that Google also serves (although it remains a niche, still), and which should really be high priority for a firm like Google:
>> Palm, or even an SMS equipped cell phone or BlackBerry.
Cell phones are more or less all web enabled these days, either by means of WAP 2.0, XHTML, Java, or a combination. Older ones have WAP 1.0 which is something completely different, but it can still be integrated with "web services" in the broad sense of the word.
The things known as "moblogs" and "photoblogs" are both examples of cellphone targeting "web services". To my understanding, in Asia there's also a huge market of cellphone-enabled community sites. (And of course there's been MSN Messenger enabled phones in retail for a while in most parts of the world)
SMS (or MMS) is not really "web" but there are lots of exciting ways to interface with it, and it's the primary "tool" for most cell phone owners (phonebook and calling aside). Also, it's possible to earn income by means of SMS/MMS services.
I believe Google is very motivated to avoid making an analogy to "Microsoft neglecting the web" - i'd personally put cell phones first, and afaik they do have development going on in this area.
Back to the web:
>> 4. The Tool Bar is, effectively, a thin client application.
I suspect your tin foil hat is an early model *lol* You should research this issue, especially the more, say, "alternative" toolbars out there (ie. not the ones associated with big name brands). Toolbars - done "right" - can potentially have access to every corner of your machine and every bit of your bandwith. (i should add: ... just like any other piece of software installed so that it has the appropriate rights)
What did i miss:
Google is increasingly "going global". I think there's something about "localization of applications" and the best way to do this stuff. In MS they have significant experiences with this and a guy working with "cross-over-technologies" (i lack a better term for technologies involving several different products) must have some serious knowledge in this field.
So... there's really a lot of ways a guy like that could be put to use. The only thing i'm 100% sure about is that he won't have time to become bored ;)
This will mean that it will be operating system and architecture independent, and will run on any platform that can support a browser, including PDA’s and next generation mobile phones.
With the current generation of browsers, Google could release a suite of applications comparable to those available in Windows 3.1. Also expected is advanced group collaboration software.
With next generation of browsers, Google will release more sophisticated software like graphics editors and advanced office utilities such as spreadsheets and word processors.
Also, as most browsers have encryption built in, security will be a major selling point. Also, it will be impossible to pirate the software as most of it will reside on Google’s servers.
Every user will be given gigabytes of space in a database on Google’s servers. This data will be highly compressed and will probably take less than 100 megabytes of space for each user. A new file operating system will be built using a database file system instead of traditional file systems like DOS.
I would argue that Microsoft used to know how to ship software, but the world has changed... The companies that "know how to ship software" are the ones to watch. They have embraced the network, deeply understand the concept of "software as a service", and know how to deliver incredible value to their customers efficiently and quickly.
The assumption is that Google recruited. This sounds more like someone seeking asylum and defecting.
As for the OS speculation... well. I think that if they are going to release an OS it will be something HUGE. And I mean Donald Trump HUGE.
It will be something like what someone stated earlier (although I think this would be just one of the many features it offers and as well wouldn't have to be released as an OS but could be a seperate application all together or later on). That it could interact with a cellphone.. meaning the cellphone could use the pcs bandwith/RAM etc and transfer the data to the phone. (Not exactly sure if this is would be possible today or if ever, but they just hired the guy anyways).
Also it will have to be user friendly, very clean, cheap if not free at the beginning and also no ads and keep the stealing of user info to a minimum.
This isn't the first major MS employee that Google has tempted to come work for them, MS employees like money, that's why they work at MS. Google now has money. So some MS employees will go work for them. Plus of course MS is pretty much stagnant for new ideas and innovations, stuff is bogging down, I think there have been more large scale failures at MS in the last 4 years than large scale successes, and the successes are coming in the same areas they always come, servers, desktop, office suite.
The only operating system Google could possibly hope to make as a consumer product would be gnu linux based, that would just be another linux distro, no way they would waste their time with that, it's a huge job to get a consumer level OS out the door, takes years, maybe 10, that's how long it took windows, os x from its next days. You don't just go and make an operating system. Linux is just now hitting consumer useable after more than 10 years.
But you can make a system that will deliver applications to the end user without having to worry about boring stuff like hardware compatibility, driver support, etc ad nauseum, over the web. This isn't a new idea, it's just another example of Google taking older ideas and making them a bit better, like gmail, search, etc.
Should be interesting, it's a good idea I think, Google understands the web in a way that MS never will, and never has, so it stands to reason that they will develop their products to work over the web. Just hope they don't mess up by hiring too many MS people, you're only as good as the people working for you after all.
Windows has been around 15 years, and has just recently become 'stable'
Linux has been around for a decade+, and still isn't usable by average people.
Beos was a great idea that never got off the ground, except for those 'techie' enough to be Linux experts.
I can't imagine the average person changing to another OS, even if free. It would take years to get a stable version going, and people just aren't willing to take steps backwards.
If they were, we'd all be using Linux NOW....
@rise2it and 2by4 - What are you talking about? Linux not being usable? I prefer Linux over Windows, I cant blame you for falling under the influence of M$ monopoly, but do not mock Linux, seriously.
It's just that people have this weird attitude towards linux, OS that only extreme geeks using or being, or OS that is just to strange. I'll stop here because I'll just start venting.
This is ridiclious, why would anyone want to Google OS?
Hiring top win programmer>?
Oh yea that helps.