Google’s Chrome OS Announcement Heralds A Bright Future For SaaS

The announcement of Google’s Chrome OS earlier this week set the Internet abuzz with excitement and speculation over the revolutionary impact of an operating system aimed at supporting web-centric devices such as netbooks. Designed for people who “live on the web”, Chrome OS is promised to “re-think what operating systems should be”, hinting at Google’s vision of a web-based future wherein most applications are delivered via the Internet, and operating systems are relegated to lightweight platforms that merely support increasingly powerful web services. With Chrome, Google is hoping to take users from boot to browsing in a matter of seconds, de-emphasizing the importance of installed applications and sophisticated interfaces, focusing instead on speed, simplicity and security – the talents for which Google is known. According to the Chrome engineers:

We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files. Even more importantly, they don’t want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates. And any time our users have a better computing experience, Google benefits as well by having happier users who are more likely to spend time on the Internet.

Google Chrome OS casts a validating vote in favor of the Internet as the medium for future application delivery, echoing the benefits of Software-as-a-Service and the need to revisit the conventional computing model to provide greater simplicity, accessibility and security.

The shift from traditional desktop software to Software-as-a-Service, as evidenced by Microsoft’s recent announcement that Microsoft Office 2010 will be moving to the cloud and Adobe’s announcement of a suite of SaaS offerings at Acrobat.com, appears to be accelerating, and Google’s Chrome OS appears to well-positioned to take advantage of where computing is headed.