There’s been plenty of chitchat about a “Google operating system”, since oh I don’t know when. The last time the rumour went up that Google was about to introduce it’s own general-purpose computing environment, it turned out to be phone software instead: Android. Hewlett Packard has now announced that they are ‘Studying’ Android for PC Use. The idea being that Android is designed to run on low-power CPU chips designed for mobile devices, but nowadays that’s exactly the kind of chip computer manufacturers are putting in mini laptops and calling them netbooks, so how about Android on a netbook?
“Google has been working with PC makers to put Android in netbooks….HP and other computer makers for the past year have been trying to make it simpler for users to perform many common tasks—such as viewing photos or watching video—on their machines, in some cases adding their own, more user-friendly features to Microsoft Windows.”
Sounds reasonable, and there you are, the Google OS for real. I don’t mind Android, like everything else Google does I think it’s a fantastic idea relative to other phone operating systems and I bet the implementation is great too. But I’m still wary of this move. Android is linux-based and open source-ish, but there already exists multiple active projects to remodulate ever-flexible linux into a distribution tiny and/or user-friendly enough for lightweight, application-oriented computing netbook-style. Most of those projects aren’t tied to a single company either by code or culture. We’re already toying with giving a single for-profit company something like an information infrastructure monopoly. Do I sound ridiculously paranoid if I wonder out loud if this is a slippery slope towards yielding our personal operating systems to Google as well?