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What is Google Fuchsia? That’s a question being asked a lot – recently techies have been abuzz about a new operating system called Fuchsia being developed by, yes, Google. Here's what we've been told:
- It's not based on Linux.
- It's using the Dart scripting language.
- It's a command line only experience at the moment.
- You can navigate using a built in shell environment.
- The Google Fuschia documentation (minimal) is online.
Other than this, the rest of Google Fuchsia's features and overall purpose remain unclear. In this article, I'll share what Google might have in mind with this new OS and how Fuchsia's potential might affect existing platforms.
Google's Fuchsia OS on Github
Google Fuchsia IoT (Internet of Things)
Google Fuchsia – it appears – addresses one of the "growth" areas that we see a lot of tech companies clamoring to get into, the IoT space. Companies like Amazon and others are sure it's the next big tech market.
Despite my feelings about it, I believe there is a very strong chance this is what Google is looking to jump into next. After all, they are already dipping their toes into the IoTs waters. And it seems logical for Google to create a new operating system that is based on open standards that would allow other companies to engage in this new frontier with Fuchsia.
Why would Google do this: Google, like many other companies out there, believe this is the next big push for market share. With a shrinking desktop market and Google already doing great in the smartphone arena, this would be a move that keeps their shareholders happy.
What's the value of this endeavor: If Google can address existing shortcomings found with existing IoT offerings, then they could definitely add value here.
- Providing a single "IoT standard" for compatible devices to rely on instead of dozens from multiple companies.
- Lending the Google brand to an IoT offering would certainly help with adoption among holdouts.
What are the negatives to Google getting into this: Combined with our Web habits and smart phones, Google would then have a magic "key" to our homes as well. Personally I find this terrifying, but I'm also one to be careful with how much information I share with a single omnipresent company.
I'm also concerned about what happens to Linux-based systems like Mycroft – suddenly their offering is put up against one of the most powerful companies in the world. Also using an "open source" OS, Mycroft would immediately find itself competing for market share in an already crowded space….this time with a "super-brand" like Google.
Google Fuchsia Desktop/Mobile
Perhaps the most popular belief is that Google plans on making Fuchsia it's Android/ChromeOS replacement. On the surface, this feels pretty far fetched. But when you consider Google's plans in the long haul, it suddenly seems in the realm of possibility.
If we're being absolutely honest about things, Android has become something of a bloated mess. Don't misunderstand me, I prefer Android over any other mobile alternative. But I think it's the application and phone selection that keeps folks running with what Google is offering on the Android front.
Potentially years down the road, Fuchsia could be the answer to this issue. In the years that follow, imagine a brand new core not based on Linux for Google's smart phones or laptops. Instead, we might see Fuchsia powering these devices instead.
Why would Google do this: To be honest, I'm not sure as to their motivation. It's possible there might be some secret benefit that we haven't sniffed out yet.
What's the value of this endeavor: The only value I can see here is control and limiting non-Google created layers. Even stripped down, the Linux kernel is still the Linux kernel. Perhaps Google is exploring a way to drop their dependence on Linux and other technologies by starting from scratch. If done properly, one might even surmise that Fuchsia could speed up the process to blur the lines between Android and ChromeOS.
What are negatives to Google getting into this: To be honest, I don't actually see any negatives here. At its best, this would provide a better experience with Google consumer products. At its worst, we might see less contributions from Google to Linux itself.
Google Fuchsia Server
The last possibility is, in my opinion, the least likely. However, it's not impossible that Fuchsia might be focused on Google's server needs. Years ago, I attended a Linux convention in which Google gave a presentation. Before the presentation started, I was told point blank that I could not record any images of a slide showing off Google servers. Mind you, this was an outdated image and the servers were in the dark. It seems that Google is pretty serious about secrecy.
The presenter mentioned that Google (at that time) uses oodles of Linux in their server environment, along with a lot of specialized stuff he's not able to talk about. Based on this information, doesn't it stand to reason that something like Fuchsia could be used to as a core element for future plans in Google's server space? Perhaps not in its current form, but perhaps the public code for Fuchsia is merely a part of a much larger picture?
Why would Google do this: Anything that makes Google's servers hum along better, faster and with greater success is adding value to Google's offerings.
What's the value of this endeavor: Assuming such a thing was true, then it's fair to assume there is some sort of speed/stability/cost benefit here someplace. Imagine if this even meant Google was able to incorporate new functionality not possible previously? I realize I'm reaching here, but stranger things have happened.
What are negatives to Google getting into this: The only downside I can think of is if there are new privacy implementations not present previously. Unlikely, but I have to put it out there. Short of that, I can't think of anything negative that comes to my mind.
Fuchsia in Google's future
So which one of these scenarios has the most teeth? Short term, the winner in my opinion will be the IoT (Internet of Things). Long term however, I see all of these as possibilities. Especially if things work out well with the IoT efforts. From there, who is to say that the blending of ChromeOS and Android won't be using Fuchsia at its core.
Then we have the servers in Google's midst. Honestly, I have the most difficult time getting my head around this end of it, as what they have now seems to be working great. Yet twenty years from now, who knows. Maybe some project is written on a napkin somewhere that could end up using Fuchsia as its core and will one day benefit Google in this space as well.
What say you? Do you believe Google Fuchsia is basically over-hyped nonsense that the media has taken completely out of context? Perhaps instead, you think that one of the possible scenarios described above is perfectly plausible? Hit the Comments and let me know what you think Fuchsia will be used for.