There's been a lot of talk over the years of Google producing an OS to rival the likes of Microsoft, as well as Apple and Linux. The recent announcement by Google to release a web-based OS within the next year isn't particularly surprising, but it is particularly interesting.
I suppose the first question to ask is: "Will it really rival Windows, OS X, Linux...?"
The short answer is, "NO". And, in the short-term, like android, it will have a marginal effect on the market. Here's why...
+ The first development of the Google OS is targeted at Netbooks as an alternative for supplier/manufacturers to install a lightweight system that can provide all of the essentials for this target market on-the-cheap; note: Free. While netbooks still have a relatively strong stance at the moment, this segment is likely to evolve as processor and component prices continue to fall and these super entry-level email machines quickly become mid-level laptops.
+ While there is no doubt that the Google OS will take portions of the consumer market, it would be a far cry for major corporations running heavy application processes and internal server-based databases to start using a lightweight webOS. This isn't to say that in 5, 10, 15 years time all of these enterprise functions won't eventually move to the clouds, but switching operating systems will be a big and unlikely step for mature and established firms.
+ By the time the previous bullet point begins to happen ? enterprises moving entirely to the cloud ? MSFT will already be hot in development for a web-, or pseudo-web-based OS. We are already seeing this through their apps with Sharepoint, OfficeLive, etc.
+ Like most Google apps, particularly productivity apps (docs, spreadsheets, presentations), Google is not looking to dominate the market with their OS, simply to offer a cheap (again: Free) alternative to the offerings from the competition. And again, at the enterprise level, Google's alternative applications will never really compete with the robustness of those offered by MSFT, other 3rd parties, et al.
There are no doubts that the Google OS will be built with anything less than excellence, but on its list of intentions, "dominance" is likely not one of them.