Gmail creator: Google's Chrome OS will be killed or merged with Android

Less than a week after Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) detailed its Chrome operating system, the platform is coming under a wave of harsh criticism. 

Paul Buchheit, the creator of the popular Gmail email system, Paul Buchheit, the creator of Google's Gmail email system, said via the social networking service FriendFeed that Google likely will discontinue Chrome OS next year or merge it with its Android mobile operating system. Buchheit left Google to start FriendFeed, a Twitter rival that was acquired by Facebook. He also is a venture capitalist at Y Combinator.

"Chrome OS has no purpose that isn't better served by Android (perhaps with a few mods to support a non-touch display)," he said. "I was thinking, '[I]s this too obvious to even state?,' but then I see people taking Chrome OS seriously, and Google is even shipping devices for some reason."

A Google representative was not immediately available to respond to the comments.

Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation and the creator of the GNU operating system, also panned the platform. He told the Guardian that the platform appears "to push people into careless computing" by focusing on cloud computing. 

Google first announced its intent to build a computer operating system based on its Chrome Internet browser last year, and said at the time Chrome OS devices would be available by year-end. However, Google now anticipates Chrome OS notebooks to be commercially available by the middle of next year via manufacturers including Samsung and Acer. Google is now testing Chrome OS with select users, developers, schools and businesses. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) announced a new set of prepaid data plans last week specifically designed for Chrome OS devices. 

While Android runs touchscreen phones and tablets, Chrome OS is intended for notebooks. However, just as Android has morphed over the years, Chrome OS may as well. "Chrome OS is designed to work across a wide range of screen sizes and form factors, enabling our partners to deliver computing devices beyond notebooks," wrote Google's Linus Upson, vice president of engineering, and Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management, in a post detailing the company's Chrome OS.

For more:
- see this TechCrunch post
- see this Guardian article
- see this GigaOM post

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