Google Chrome and the Third World (Why it will fail)

The announcement by Google of a new operating system did not come as a surprise to alot of people. Its a natural progression in the quest of Google to control the web. Google is a web company that profits from its myriad of web properties that people use via advertising, Google as a company earned $21Billion last year with 95% of that revenue coming from it Adsense program. So the more “eyeballs” that Google can direct to any of its web properties the higher the probability of someone clicking an advert leading to income for Google. The journey started with the release of the Chrome web browser which coincidentally shares the same name with the OS, then the Android operating system and the Chrome OS.

Google is no longer seeking to being the destination of choice for the average user of the web but the only destination for the avrage user of the web by trying to make itself the gateway to the Internet.  The main idea behind the Chrome OS is a custom GUI acting as a wrapper around the Linux kernel with the Chrome browser running on top which by default would direct users to google’s web apps such as gmail, docs, reader, search etc, this means that the netbooks which are going to run the Chrome OS would have to have uninterrupted access to the Internet. This is one reason why the OS will not have a large adoption in the third world i.e Africa.

In Africa, Internet is still very far from being ubiquitous, constant electricity is a luxury. So without Internet access, the Chrome OS would be useless because Internet access is not wide spread and where it is found, the  cost is quite prohibitive and far beyond the reach of the average person who lives on less than $1 per day. Even for those who can afford Internet access they would still have a hard time using the Chrome OS because the average “Broadband” speed in Africa is between (100-300)Kbps which produces a poor experience just surfing the web with a browser, so the experience where the OS depends on the Internet where there would be alot of background processes going on is less than imagined.

This critique of the Google Chrome OS might be a little too early since its still vapourware but I dont see any drastic changes coming to the state of Internet access in Africa between now and the proposed launch date of mid 2010.

Ehigie (Pystar) Aito

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