Google Hones in on Its Unified Communications Future

Google has a plan. It's so freewheeling and ambitious, however, that few people know precisely what it is. A couple of things are for sure: It is deeply tied to unified communications, and the Chrome OS -- a Webified take on the traditional operating systems -- is at its core. The traditional UC sector needs to pay close attention, since the new operating system is due by the end of the year.

 By Carl Weinschenk
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The word is that the Chrome operating system will be released this autumn. This is one of the next, and one of the biggest, steps in Google's master plan. Of course, you have to be as smart as the folks at Google to understand precisely what that plan is. Since I'm not, I'll simply comment that the plan obviously is big, ambitious and apparently is working.

I'll add that unified communications is a big part of it. UC may not be named, but the concept is a looming presence. The idea of knitting together standalone and collaborative applications on a foundation that enables a high degree of meta insight – insight into what the system and other participants are doing – is akin to UC and its pivotal presence element.

The Chrome OS approach is to use the Chrome browser as a user interface to reach cloud-based functions. IT World Canada puts it well:

Chrome OS is essentially a version of Google's Chrome Web browser and a set of device-specific hardware drivers. Unlike full-featured operating systems like Windows or Mac OS X that primarily use desktop-based applications, Chrome OS is capable only of accessing the Web and Web-based applications like Google Docs or Microsoft's Office Web Apps.

Thus, the Google OS will be the Google cloud's beachhead on users' computing devices. News reports say the first version of the Chrome OS is due by late fall and it will be aimed at notebooks. The IT World Canada piece and others identify Dell as a possible customer. Google is developing a hopefully soon-to-be-renamed function called “chromoting” to bring the dominant universe of Windows applications into the Chrome OS constellation.

All of this dovetails nicely with unified communications. Much of what Google is doing essentially is the company's very specific take on UC. Indeed, at least one company, IceWarp, this month released version 10.1 of its Unified Communications Server that is specifically geared toward Chrome.

The connections between Google, through Chrome, and unified communications are substantial. The release of the Chrome OS later this year will be an extremely important step for both.

This article was originally published on Jun 23, 2010
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