Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt was at the Sun Valley, Idaho, Media and Technology Conference yesterday along with Google cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and held a press conference discussing, among other topics, the hottest subject at the moment, Google Chrome OS. Schmidt told the audience he was against the idea of a Google browser for many years and it wasn't until recently that the two cofounders managed to convince him.
“At the time, Google was a small company,” Schmidt said, according to the Wall Street Journal Blog. “Having come through the bruising browser wars, I didn’t want to do that again.” It took six years for Brin and Page to convince the CEO and only after they had some ex-Mozilla developers actually build a working prototype of Chrome.
“It was so good that it essentially forced me to change my mind,” Mr. Schmidt said. However, he noted that, even though he was reluctant at first, at the moment he was fully behind the browser and the upcoming OS. “But there is no question I am hugely supportive of Chrome and Chrome OS. They are game-changers. They change the way you think about your computer.”
Page went on to list some of the advantages and unique characteristics of Chrome OS and to stress the focus on the browser rather than the underlying OS with all of the apps being in the cloud and the files saved online rather than on the hard drive. “I wanted the operating system to kind of be out of the way,” Page said.
They also believed that the new OS would not be a threat to Microsoft, being targeted mainly at netbooks, and also mentioned that it would be completely free and open source so anyone could use it and build apps for it, including Microsoft, though Schmidt was skeptical of that.
However, even though it is giving away, Google will benefit from the Chrome OS as users will spend more time online, clicking more ads in the process. “We benefit when people spend more of their life online,” he said. “So for us it’s a very straightforward strategic initiative that ultimately results in more revenue.”