Late this morning, Betanews founder Nate Mook and I IMed about Google’s Chrome OS announcement. Our differing positions somehow fit oddly together.
Joe Wilcox: Microsoft is seriously up shits creek.
Nate Mook: Eventually.
Joe: The Q is when does Google become like Microsoft. Trade one for another.
Nate: I don’t know anyone at this point that is ready to drop desktop apps for Web apps. It’ll happen eventually, but it’s not there yet. And Google knows it, which is why it’s focusing on netbooks.
Joe: And why Google is announcing now.
Nate: A lot of progress has been made on the Web, but it’s still so vastly behind. Using Google Docs is like pulling teeth. Zoho is even worse. Clearly it’ll happen, but I wonder when.
Joe: Right, but who really needs Docs? Or Office?
Nate: How much has Gmail really improved in the 5 years since it left beta? The web has iterated really, really slowly. We’re still on HTML 4.1 for the past decade. The past couple years have seen a lot of change, but I think it’ll take a lot more.
Joe: True. But always connected handsets will drive fast change.
Nate: Yeah, not everyone needs productivity tools, that’s true.
Joe: Most nobody does.
Nate: But do you use an IM client in a browser, or do you use Trillian/Adium?
Do you listen to music in a browser, or do you use iTunes?
Joe: Brower IM sucks. Music I would do if there were good options. But those things have nothing to do with content creation. That’s what Office is for. How many Word docs do you read a week. Compared to e-mail, IM, RSS or Twitter? Flickr, YouTube, etc.
Nate: Oh, totally. I spend 80% of my day in the browser. It’s an inevitability, and that’s why Google is getting going now. But I still think we’re looking at 5 years at least.
Joe: Microsoft has got no good mobile OS or browser. How stupid is that?
Nate: Microsoft has time to respond, if it can get its act together. But it probably won’t
Joe: There’s no will. And the economy is sapping profits. It’s defensive mode now, and that means lots of bad decisions. Like IBM before Gerstner.