CNET reports that Sergey Brin, speaking informally to reporters, said the following:
Android and Chrome will likely converge over time.
Many believe that this would going in the right direction, I’m not sure if that’s the case. The only way for Chrome OS and Android to converge is if one (or both) of them lose their vision. The point behind Chrome OS is that every app is a web app. Android is the first viable smartphone OS that is completely customizable, with an open source core and of course, apps.
If these two operating system converge you’ll get nothing more than a watered down version of both, you’ll get a poor OS cobbled together from two somewhat viable alternatives.
With the iPhone, Apple made one of the smartest moves I’ve ever seen a company do, they took their desktop operating system and broke it down to its essential parts to run on a handheld device. Google is going in a completely different direction. Not only have they decided not to reuse parts from their existing OS, they’ve decided to write a completely new OS, splitting their developers into two camps, Android and Chrome OS.
With that logic you could say that converging the two would be a wise move, but I don’t think that’s true. Rather than merge the two operating systems into one down the road, Google needs to make a decision. They can either scrap Chrome OS entirely using Android on netbooks in its place or throw out all of the bits below the browser in Chrome OS and replace them with Android. It is entirely possible that Google could do the latter (which is obviously the better choice) down the road but why not deal with all of that now. Chrome OS is still relatively early in development, I can’t imagine the nightmare of having to replace the core of an OS after it has already been established in the marketplace.
The truth is, Chrome OS should be built on Android, and the fact that it isn’t makes me question whether Google is really taking either one of these projects seriously. The real test will come in 2-3 years when we find out whether Google employees have chosen to eat their own dog food.
11/20/09: Google Officially Demos Chrome OS
7/8/09: Google Announces a Linux Distro and the World Goes Mad