Chrome OS vs Windows Series: Desktop fight; Who Wins?
The title of this post series is inspired by the David and Goliath dynamic … The new kid on the block and the bully, or they reflect the generational shift in approach to “operating systems” … A necessary evolution many would argue. From the days of MS-DOS and variants within the developer community that are open sourced*, there was quite the proliferation of systems that interfaced nicely with the hardware available to general consumers. I’m definitely speaking of the era that defined the operating system category of the computing industry.
Enter Microsoft; this is not a history lesson but I reckon Windows to be the perfect example of a platform refusing to actually evolve beyond the established culture around one of its main cash cows, Windows.
Generally speaking, open source has been winning without even trying as many of the corporations in the world can attest due to their massive profitability based on the nature of the open source community.
Many like Google have given back in the form of Chromium OS and won a lot of praise as a result … and in this case, brought us Chrome OS. The very nature of Chrome OS dictates simplicity … This triumphs feature set or any particularly sophisticated software under the hood, The general user landscape of Chrome device owners is defined by the majority. Truely, the Chrome Desktop doesn’t appear any more intimidating than that of the more established counterpart, Windows.
A Case of Familiarity
The very idea of getting accustomed to a system involves your ability to continually familiarise yourself with it in a way that you can form good associations that keep you coming back.
The primary association of the word, Chrome is to the Google browser and operating system; Chrome and Chrome OS respectively.
Microsoft Windows on the other hand has the benefit of being early in the game with over three decades of established market presence. Typically, the word windows is associated with the Microsoft Windows operating system.
Moving Forward …
Mind you, I won’t be discounting my bias, rather, I’ll flaunt them nonchalantly. Make your case in the comment if you have any.
The desktop interface on the most recent versions Windows and Chrome OS systems respectively have maintained terminologies unique to their individual systems. We’ll do a side by side comparison that contextualizes this difference sometime in the future.
Taskbar Versus Shelf
While the windows taskbar has seen an evolution over the years, I do not consider it maturation. One thing that people tend to forget is drastic change is okay for your individual self, not an entire user base that may be reluctant to try new ways of using a system unless it’s intuitively designed.
I’m making reference to the facelift in Windows 11 akin to that of Windows 8 in UI overhaul that ended up negatively impacting the user experience in an unintended way. Typically, you want to slowly reel your user base in without shocking them with an entirely new way of using a system.
This is also the reason why Google’s update cycle is superior and probably what inspired Microsoft to decide on making Windows 10 the supposed last version until it wasn’t.
Of course, that’s no longer the case as the update practice has become cemented in the consciousness of Windows users. Whether Microsoft likes it or not, its user base` expects Windows 12, 13 and so on with a new UI paintjob in tow, lmao.
Perhaps this is a case where you become a victim of your own success but in an almost unironic way. Consider for a moment that Chrome OS releases versions as well but no one really cares in the general user community … The dev community certainly does but people are used to Chrome OS being updated so frequently (compared to the competition anyway) that they trust Google to just continue pushing them without interrupting their work.
For what it’s worth, this dilemma is not necessarily unique to Windows and we’ll be touching on how this relates to other systems in future comparisons.
Maturity over Incomplete Evolution
My idea of a good system is one that matures with increasing sophistication without compromising any aspect of it’s core. In terms of graphical user interface of Chrome OS and competing systems, it’s easy to see practice of continued evolution is close to the philosophy of the Linux ecosystem Chrome OS is based on.
This is an aspect of design called user experience. Typically, a good user interface will mature as opposed to being scrapped and rebuilt from the ground up.
The Windows taskbar has a primary occupant called the start menu of which alternative in Chrome OS is the launcher. Both buttons comfortably reside in their respective lower left corner by default and you’re allowed to customise the experience of the shelf in Chrome OS and taskbar in Windows.
The Nuances no One is Talking About …
The philosophy of Google’s Material UI is based around materials in the real world. I consider Material design a language that speaks for itself and has evolved over the years with the latest iteration being the Material U of which showcase has been prominent in the Pixel 6 series. As a Pixel 3 owner, I got the Android 12 update in time to get on the hype train.
Be that as it may, the current state of the Chrome OS user experience still trumps that of Windows and not by the bells and whistles by the insistence in uncomplicating the lives of users.
A good product inherently speaks for itself ala word of mouth.
Leaving WIndows in the Dust …
The nature of both Windows and Chrome OS Is perhaps akin to the paradigm shift that resulted in our collective approach to software. From an exclusively-corporate oriented effort to a community based system that exemplifies how a win-win relationship is ultimately good for everyone involved.
With Android 12L in the pipeline, there’s a huge chance that Windows is further left to play catch up. No one is faulting Microsoft for trying their best in transforming the user experience but you can’t really put lipstick on a pig and call it Judy, cause deep down, it’s still a pig. I don’t really know where this saying comes from but making Windows open source is not an option so we’ll have to settle with watching from the sidelines as Chrome OS continues to shame Microsoft’s efforts. Of course, we’re talking about two inherently proprietary systems i’m aware Chrome OS isn’t inherently open source but it’s based on one.
This alone will continue to shape the direction of both systems and if history is to have a say in all this, the relentless underdog has a way evening things out eventually.
As it appears, there’s hardly any real attempt by anyone else but Google in securing the future of IoT and overall interoperability with our currently established ecosystem of devices.
Let’s revel in the potential of Chrome OS as it continues to defy expectations or let’s continue watching the dog fight between both systems … Notice I didn’t mention macOS… right. We’ll get on that sometime in the future. For now, share your thoughts with us in the comments?