Google co-founder: Windows is torturing users

By on May 12, 2011, 2:00 PM

At the Google I/O 2011 conference yesterday, Google co-founder Sergey Brin made a point to outline why his company is taking on Microsoft in the operating system space. In short, he believes Windows is too much of a hassle to use and maintain, and that his company can offer a solution to this problem.

"I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with Windows … Windows 7 has some great security features," Brin said according to GeekWire. Then he added: "With Microsoft, and other operating system vendors, I think the complexity of managing your computer is really torturing users … It's torturing everyone in this room. It's a flawed model fundamentally."

Google yesterday announced the Chromebook, which refers to a mobile device running Google Chrome OS. As you can probably guess, the name comes from combining the words Chrome and notebook. Two Chromebooks, one from Acer and one from Samsung, are slated to be available for preorder on June 15, 2011 in seven countries: the US, the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Microsoft has an Automatic Update feature in Windows, but Google of course believes its seamless updating mechanism (as shown in the video above) is superior. The company insists that keeping the computer up-to-date without any work on the part of the user, making management and updates essentially invisible, is critical.

This isn't the first time that Google has implied Chrome OS is superior to Windows. In October 2010, Google CEO (at the time) Eric Schmidt trash talked Windows 7. In November 2010, the search giant claimed 60 percent of businesses could immediately replace their Windows machines with computers running Chrome OS.

Remember, these statements were being made before the Chromebook was even announced. Google may not be able to completely destroy Windows, but it's certainly trying to do as much damage as it can. We can only imagine what the company is going to push with its marketing campaigns around Chrome OS.




User Comments: 47

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Guest said:

I believe that Google has produced a good product, but Windows operates a good chunk of the world. Google continues to slander Microsoft on its operating system. I do agree there is some pains with Windows. Also, there are a lot of products and software people and businesses have invested in that is Windows only.

I believe in the cloud, but I do believe in my privacy, and I don't want all my files and software on a cloud where if they don't like it they can remove/take it. Instead of getting a search warrant before touching any of my information. Google has a great idea, but I do not seeing it take over. Microsoft has created a monopoly with their operating system and its gonna be hard to beat them out.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Ha ha Google... you're so funny.

Configuring Windows for the average user is either automatic or very, very easy. arguably speaking, Windows Updates can and I believe defaults to automatically installing and other than having to restart for this now and then, is transparent to the user. I have my system set up to ask for the install and for the restart, opposed to automatically install/restart, but that's my choice. Management is about options as well; and Windows has an "easy way" or "hard way" mentality about it. Simple wording, simple prompts for options and settings a user is most likely to change, and then settings you need to dig into in order to understand. This is the same for OSX and probably Chrome OS as well, so I don't see what this gripe is all about.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I dunno, Google is starting to sound more like Apple every day.

I would have no problem with stealth updates, if it wasn't for all those other things that get slipped under the radar. I thought I had my Google Buzz pretty locked down until I saw some stranger following me. Turns out there was some privacy update I wasn't aware of that required me to opt out, again, of having random people follow me.

Sorry, I prefer to know about my updates and allow them, even just for the sake of knowing that I installed one so that I can undo it if any problems pop up. Even the WGA (or whatever its called) does not come checked as default in Windows Update, you still have to select it to run.

MS has been the boogeyman for so long that nobody notices, or wants to believe, the throng of companies replacing them. Not that long ago something as stupid as bundling a browser or WMP was seen as some kind of evil monopolistic scheme by MS, but having half a billion people cheerfully having all their data sold by Facebook is somehow ok.

Paige, Zuckerberg and Jobs have plenty of quotes out there about their core beliefs as to how the internet should run, which pretty much involves no privacy for anyone, and that everything is up for sale. But MS is still the bad guy.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

+1 mad

He simply forgot how Royal Pain in the A** their existing OS i.e. android can be, it can be just as unstable as any other OS, it gets slower for no apparent reason, it crashes very so often for no apparent reason, it isn't as 'seamlessly performing OS' as Google want us to believe it to be, its interface is pretty much pathetic compared to other offerings, and it is just as prone to malware as other OSes can be, and yeah battery life well lets just not go there .. I think he stuck his foot in his mouth somehow and afterwards well, you know what happened

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

I'm curious if any of you commentators (besides the Guest) bothered to watch the video.

The video is touting the benefits of webapps or cloud based computing. Since the applications are actually run on servers instead of your device, there's no need for Automatic Updates or local installations. So would you disagree with their premise that even updating automatically isn't as convenient as not having to deal with updates at all?

There's actually several complaints I'd have regarding their design, like unavailable internet, updates that conflict with custom code, information privacy (as guest pointed out), etc.

@gwailo247

When Microsoft bundled IE with Windows, they basically used their monopoly to crush the then superior Netscape browser which built and defined the internet experience. It would have been much more favorably received if they bundled Netscape or even acquired the company as opposed to forcing them out of business with a then terrible web browser. And if I remember correctly, WMP when first introduced was incompatible with many common formats (mp3) and added DRM to any music added to its library. Microsoft has done plenty of unethical maneuvers to land them in the anti-Microsoft hot water they deal with today.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

, I think the complexity of managing your computer is really torturing users ... It's torturing everyone in this room

This sounds like he had a group think with Madison Ave. A stretch of epic proportions that assumes everyone is an complete rube.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

yea but will it support rich text editing.

-1

Chazz said:

red1776 said:

, I think the complexity of managing your computer is really torturing users ... It's torturing everyone in this room

This sounds like he had a group think with Madison Ave. A stretch of epic proportions that assumes everyone is an complete rube.

I agree, I would've taken offense to his statement had I been there.

I also love the hypocrisy of his views. How's the update process on Android?

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

PanicX said:

@gwailo247

When Microsoft bundled IE with Windows, they basically used their monopoly to crush the then superior Netscape browser which built and defined the internet experience. It would have been much more favorably received if they bundled Netscape or even acquired the company as opposed to forcing them out of business with a then terrible web browser. And if I remember correctly, WMP when first introduced was incompatible with many common formats (mp3) and added DRM to any music added to its library. Microsoft has done plenty of unethical maneuvers to land them in the anti-Microsoft hot water they deal with today.

Gosh, you're right. Because in addition to installing IE and WMP, MS disabled a person's ability to install anything else. I don't recall any DRM getting installed on music that I played, but then I used Winamp since pretty much it came out. I do recall getting Netscape delivered to my mailbox on a near weekly basis however. So if you had internet access in the 1990s, you were pretty much guaranteed to at least have the option of installing Netscape. If you were unwilling to do so, that was your problem.

The main point of my post was that companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook are always talking about how bad and evil MS is, while they are doing much much worse IMO. MS being evil is just this knee jerk reaction to anything that is 'establishment'. Like hippies railing against "the man", attacking MS is just the default, whereas people should take a second look. Google and Apple are not the companies that they started out to be.

If you set yourself up as being 1984, and then use it as a playbook for your business, or you go around saying "do no evil" and then start acting evil, then in my book you're being worse than someone who did not go around making such broad statements about the morality of their company.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

I think the government would torture me if Google had all of my data. Whether it be Windows or Linux, I do not trust the cloud. Perhaps Chrome COULD replace many existing Windows machines...but I would argue that it would benefit Google much more than the consumer.

Ten years from now, "Google believes houses are torturing their owners and 60% of home owners could live in a google hotel, complete with two way mirrors everywhere. You can trust us, we're the ones who go through your email and search data to show you ads!"

Cota Cota said:

mattfrompa said:

I think the government would torture me if Google had all of my data. Whether it be Windows or Linux, I do not trust the cloud. Perhaps Chrome COULD replace many existing Windows machines...but I would argue that it would benefit Google much more than the consumer.

Ten years from now, "Google believes houses are torturing their owners and 60% of home owners could live in a google hotel, complete with two way mirrors everywhere. You can trust us, we're the ones who go through your email and search data to show you ads!"

+(1/0)

BTW google could you stop making WoW propaganda on my IP? or maybe you need to spy more so you recognize this house has a new owner?

Whoaman said:

Nice kids\newbie toy. Similar to the netbook analogy but in software.

Back to the dummy terminal. Perhaps one day it will play with the big boys once the net is ubiquitously fast and omnipresent.

Zecias said:

just as a general rule of thumb, i assume every large corporation is evil.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Whoaman said:

Back to the dummy terminal.

Exactly. I worked on a mainframe terminal, and indeed software was updated seamlessly. And you couldn't work if there was a communication problem. Or if the mainframe was rebooted. I wouldn't want to put my productivity at the risk of communication. It's hard enough to lose web access, it would be much harder to lose all app access.

Also, local apps usually need the user to okay updates, but that's usually a good thing. You don't want to be automatically upgraded to the latest beta with a spanking new unfamiliar interface just when you're due your report.

I agree though that Windows needs one thing badly, and that's getting rid of reboots. I really hope Windows 8 addresses this.

Lionvibez said:

Sorry google I disagree windows isn't the problem the brainless public. If I wanted a OS that was gonna do everything for me and hold my hand I would buy an apple computer!

There are just far too many people that don't sit down and just take the time to use the computer and learn how to use it efficiently. Every version of windows gets easier to operate but it won't help lazy people.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I watched the video. It says that your Chromebook updates itself automatically when you power it on. Sounds alot like windows update to me. You turn on your Chromebook and its slow to boot - oh whats wrong with it?! Its updating. Just like Windows.

Good luck using web apps when the webs down. And good luck using it in business. They are getting worse than Apple.

PinothyJ said:

gwailo247 said:

I dunno, Google is starting to sound more like Apple every day.

Microsoft may be the very vision of capitalism, but Google are very Reagen and Stalin-esque in regards to how they handle privacy.

I cannot honestly see myself switching to Mac because all Mac users are wankers (don't get all flamey with me! As a Sales consultant in a business orientated IT store that sells both PC and Mac products, you can ALWAYS pick a Mac user off because they are pretentious wankers who want to waste your times with the most trivial of things. If you are a passionate Apple user I highly suggest you take a good look in the mirror because my many years in serving Mac users tell me that you're probably a prat - sorry.), and I sure as hell don't want to switch to a company that spends more time in court over privacy than the other two combined.

It looks like I will be sticking with the lesser of three evils...

Whoaman said:

PinothyJ said:

you can ALWAYS pick a Mac user off because they are pretentious wankers who want to waste your times with the most trivial of things.

That's because Mac users have the free time to be trivial and pretentious

Guest said:

"The company insists that keeping the computer up-to-date without any work on the part of the user, making management and updates essentially invisible, is critical."

critical for them to be able to install any crap they want on your system without your knowledge. fail.

slayer357 said:

I work in an IT dept.. Updating frequently can run you into many issues. Some software will not work after updates. Having this issue currently with IE9. Our school reports will not work with IE9. The state does not update their software frequently so we also have Java problems. Automatic updates are good, but in some cases it does more harm then good, especially in the IT environment. You must test these updates and products to ensure stability of your infrastructure.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

By the way it is just as easy to 'disable' automatic updates slayer, I am sure you are aware of it; and government departments hardly every update anything, unless they are 'forced' to do so.

gobbybobby said:

I just don't like the sound of googles OS, MS may be a bit shit, but it works I can play games. Competition is good tho, might make M$ shake it up a bit.

I would use Linux if all ma games and Steam worked on it.

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Gosh, you're right. Because in addition to installing IE and WMP, MS disabled a person's ability to install anything else. I don't recall any DRM getting installed on music that I played, but then I used Winamp since pretty much it came out. I do recall getting Netscape delivered to my mailbox on a near weekly basis however. So if you had internet access in the 1990s, you were pretty much guaranteed to at least have the option of installing Netscape. If you were unwilling to do so, that was your problem.

Since I'm (sarcastically) right, how about you read a little and maybe become a little less belligerent.

How Microsoft Killed Netscape

Guest said:

Humans feel pain, amoebas don't feel pain but I think all prefer to be humans and try to fight the pain than are amoebas.

Terminal pc is a dead idea.

slayer357 said:

Archean said:

By the way it is just as easy to 'disable' automatic updates slayer, I am sure you are aware of it; and government departments hardly every update anything, unless they are 'forced' to do so.

This I understand, but if chrome os auto updates itself that can cause many issues in a work environment. I know Windows can have automatic updates disabled, but it seems as if chrome os will update on boot with no option not to update.

LightHeart said:

This goes back to the idea of mainframe/thin client (what was old is new again). It's also the idea of don't trust MS but do trust Google, at Google we will take care of everything for you, no thinking, no other apps when you can just live in the Google cloud, go ahead, take another puff of the cloud, we're not evil, now keep sending us money while we sell your data to the highest bidder.

Guest said:

Seems like 10 steps backwards. Whats the slowest bottleneck for most people's PCs? Their HDD.

How can me make it even slower? Instead of running apps from 3 or 6 gb/s connection HDD, run it from a 10 mb/s web connection, (and probably slower depending on provider, wireless, and web traffic)

Drives fail, but you're always protected so long as you backup your data. Can't Imagine having an internet outage turn my PC into a paperweight... And what If Google was hacked like Sony, suddenly you're Chromebook would be as useful as your PS3's online gameplay.

As for me, I've been buying whatever storage technology makes my computer run faster. (raided SSD drives) I'll deal with the weekly 15 second update when I shut down my PC.

NeoFryBoy said:

Google's going to bite off more than it can chew.

I've been more and more surprised with how snotty Google acts toward other companies. Apparently Zuckerberg isn't the only guy who fancies himself to be king.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Hey Panic, Yes, microsoft killed netscape, like 12 years ago. It's dead and gone. We're not living in 1999 anymore, and today's companies under fire are Google, Facebook and Apple. Back in 1999 many people bought computers to use the internet and were unhappy to find out they needed another $30 netscape program to connect. Notice free browsers are now the norm, not the exception.

I also work for a company with a large IS deparment, I use a TON of different software and MS stuff is the most stable by far. I challenge google to make an OS that is anywhere near as good as Win7. And even if they do, I like Win7 enough that I'm not even willing to pay $20 for a replacement. I already bought an OS, and I like it, and it works.

I use Chrome cause I like it better than IE, but that's free. There better be a free trial period for google's if they expect to even make a dent in MS's market share.

Guest said:

Sure, wait until Chrome OS is as big as Windows is now, see they can still make the same claim. Can they support tens of thousands of third party commercial apps? Besides, is the cloud crashed or is hacked, you are doomed. This just happened to Amazon's business cloud server. We all should learn from it.

Basically, this is just like the old "dumb terminal" concept decades ago.

Guest said:

So why aren't they also taking shots at MacOS ?

Guest said:

Love windows 7, but google does have a point about the updates. Why do I constanty have to reboot after an update? So damn anoying! Also, I have had a few update failures, which forced me to role back. Happened at least twice, and left me scratching my ahead. Eventually, the updates did go through.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Whoaman said:

PinothyJ said:

you can ALWAYS pick a Mac user off because they are pretentious wankers who want to waste your times with the most trivial of things.

That's because Mac users have the free time to be trivial and pretentious

...because they're not doing anything productive anyway.

There's no way that I could use a Google OS. I mean, even if you put the whole browser OS aside, and have a Google distro of Linux, you're still storing all of your info in a GOOGLE machine. And what's Google's number one service? Search and the selling of information. You're potentially forfeiting nearly ALL of your personal information to them by choosing their OS. No, thank you.

As much as I dislike Apple, at least they're more upfront about what you're buying. Google doesn't present you with the option, they just take from you until you notice. That's insidious. Google is looking more and more like the true face of evil.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Wagan8r

IMO Google's primary business is 'selling info + adds' not search, it is just a vehicle to drive the former two.

Tomorrow_Rains said:

So google is saying, The future of Computers means that inorder to Purchase, Install , Maintain And Support Servers all you have to do is press the magical button?

There goes my Career in IT

bioflex said:

Guest said:

"The company insists that keeping the computer up-to-date without any work on the part of the user, making management and updates essentially invisible, is critical."

critical for them to be able to install any crap they want on your system without your knowledge. fail.

+1 .............i will take windows over Chrome OS any day.

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Hey Panic, Yes, microsoft killed netscape, like 12 years ago. It's dead and gone. We're not living in 1999 anymore, and today's companies under fire are Google, Facebook and Apple. Back in 1999 many people bought computers to use the internet and were unhappy to find out they needed another $30 netscape program to connect. Notice free browsers are now the norm, not the exception.

Wow, that's a real news flash. Thanks for letting me know, I lost all touch with the current state of affairs after gwailo247 brought up IE bundling.

I also work for a company with a large IS deparment, I use a TON of different software and MS stuff is the most stable by far. I challenge google to make an OS that is anywhere near as good as Win7. And even if they do, I like Win7 enough that I'm not even willing to pay $20 for a replacement. I already bought an OS, and I like it, and it works.

Do you think before you post or do you just let tourettes take over and submit anyway?

If you're going to tout "MS stuff" superiority as "the most stable", then your challenge to google is way behind the curve. Googles modified linux distro is far more stable than "MS stuff".

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Linux software is FREE!

But who are we kidding? You've bought an OS and can't masturbate enough to it. Thanks for taking the time to let us all know.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Back in 1999 many people bought computers to use the internet and were unhappy to find out they needed another $30 netscape program to connect. Notice free browsers are now the norm, not the exception.

...

I challenge google to make an OS that is anywhere near as good as Win7. And even if they do, I like Win7 enough that I'm not even willing to pay $20 for a replacement. I already bought an OS, and I like it, and it works.

I use Chrome cause I like it better than IE, but that's free. There better be a free trial period for google's if they expect to even make a dent in MS's market share.

I'm pretty sure Netscape was free. I'm also thinking that ChromeOS is going to be free. If ChromeOS isn't, Chromium will be.

Guest said:

where is the fun in that, fixing and tweaking ur computer is the best part about using it

Guest said:

I kind of agree with Google on this matter. The number one complaint I hear from people who use Macs and not Windows is because they say Macs are so easy to use (meaning mac OS). If you think about it, the majority of the consumers buying PCs and Macs are people who don't know a whole lot about computers. That's why so many of them buy macs; because they find them easier to use. (That's not the only reason, but a big one though). In order for Windows to capture even more customers, it would be a good idea to give Windows the ability to be very simple, but at the same have the ability to become very complex for users such as us. Many people out there just want the dang thing to work, be fast, and have few problems. Obviously Microsoft is working towards this, as seen in the improvements from Windows XP to 7 (lol skip vista xD), but it still has a way to go. On the other hand, MAC OS X is not even close in customization options as Windows 7.

What do you guys think?

Brett.

Guest said:

Web apps currently run on all platforms.....That's one of the biggest advantages of a web application.

The real question is, what OS is the server running that is hosting the app? Most likely Linux.

And about the computer updating itself everytime you boot up, what if I don't want the LATEST version of YOUR browser?

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I remember Netscape wasn't free until 1998 or 1999; even that happened due to IE. I don't remember the price at which it was sold, hopefully, someone else can come up with this info.

gingerbill said:

oh my god they have revolutionised computing by building a system that updates itself!!!!!! ..... oh hang on a minute that was done years ago.

Guest said:

Microsoft is based on the creativity. PC is at most a creativity tool and the entertainment (xbox) works as enchantment of the creativity.

Google from the other is based on consumption because its manly sells info's for marketing and space for advertisement.

With the global (and usa of course) debt be high and raising fast I think it's time for more creativity and less consumption because the debt is the consumption of the past.

So I think Microsoft (and pc) has a shine future :)

Guest said:

Wow all these new OS' are so dumb. I'm happy with my Windows 98 :).

Guest said:

Bragging about easier updates on the platform that just cannot run any other software is wrong. It's like saying that the easiest way to maintain your software is not to have one in the first place. That's just stupid.

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