Updated!

Los Angeles Times – January 1, 2006:

Google will unveil its own low-price personal computer or other device that connects to the Internet.

Sources say Google has been in negotiations with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., among other retailers, to sell a Google PC. The machine would run an operating system created by Google, not Microsoft’s Windows, which is one reason it would be so cheap — perhaps as little as a couple of hundred dollars.

Bear Stearns analysts speculated in a research report last month that consumers would soon see something called “Google Cubes” — a small hardware box that could allow users to move songs, videos and other digital files between their computers and TV sets.

If this is true, I’m shocked that Google is willing to compete with Microsoft head-on. This will certainly be a zero sum ploy as Microsoft will never give Google a second chance. It’s do or die, but the game should be very entertaining to watch!

Update:

Google and Wal-Mart are both denying reports that the two are planning to market low-priced, Google PCs via Wal-Mart stores.



  1. site admin says:

    It’s called a dongle.

  2. Presi says:

    I was praying for this!
    I really think this is the right time for google to try a shot into the OS market. Finally a third player in the game!

    I dreamed about a LINUX-GOOGLE machine since google started to develop internet software.

    GO GOOGLE GO!

  3. Ahmer says:

    I hope that Google will roll out thier own Office suite. (for linux)

    I also hope that Google will buy Writely and incorporate that into the suite.

    Linux is awsome!

  4. Lou says:

    It’s about time. Although I’m not sure if they will replace PC’s (and thus majorly threaten MSoft), I do think there is a huge market for cheap & light “Internet” terminals.

    Or to put it another way, take a PalmOS type device, give it sVGA screen, five hours of batt life, FULL internet browswer support, wireless, and you are done. Price it at $300 or less, and you wont be able to keep them on shelves.

  5. zach says:

    You guys ever read Robert Cringely’s column?

    http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20051124.html

  6. RTaylor says:

    All previous attempts has failed, but sooner or later someone will hit the computer home appliance bonanza. In the past hardware costs and bandwidth has been huge hurdles. Could be the time is now right. You have to ask the question why MS is so paranoid about Google. Maybe it’s not paranoia. Apple could have done this with the Mac mini, but probably lacked the resources and desire. Something like this is better pulled of by a young ambitious company, like MS once was. Google is positioning itself for something big.

  7. Rock!

    I’m with Lou, I’d love a light little internet console… either way, if this is true, it’s great news. I look forward to another player in the market.

  8. garym says:

    It is a prediction.

  9. putkowski says:

    The only funny thing about this rumor is that if it proves to be true, the biggest story will be what Google chooses to call it.

    It’s bound to be good.

    Then everyone will catch-on.

    A “what-cha-ma-callit” running linux and giving transparent web use of OpenOffice and the file-system expertise (a-suck-up-word) already shown by Google could be very good for Microsoft puts from 12 to 18 months out.

  10. putkowski says:

    Hey Lou,

    see Nokia 770 –

    800×480 16 bit color
    GNU-Debian linux
    plays music and movies
    Opera browser
    RSS reader
    4+ hours
    802.11g/b
    bluetooth

  11. Jeremy Robbins says:

    Remeber back in the day when all of them didn’t know what the hell was going on so all the Big Guys got into bed with each other. (MS/Apple)

    Apple can make the OS, and get MS to Make it cheap for them, Google can provide all the networking functions as well as search, hmm in my small idea there really is no room for MS. So forget all that I just said.

    Apple, Google and Amazon need to get together.

  12. Awake says:

    Ho Hum.
    The OS adds only about $100 to a system… and you need a very complete OS to even start to satisfy today’s consumer. So the price of the OS is really not a factor,and a barebones ‘browser centric’ system is of little interest to almost anyone. Apple is very popular despite it’s price, specially with entry-level consumers that just want something simple to use.
    People talk about the Google Word Processor like that is some kind of killer-app that we have all been waiting for, when in reality there are plenty of free solutions in that area. So that doesn’t matter either.
    Google is positioning itself as the new “ultra Smart” Yellow Pages, and that is their strength. Cell-Phones, personal organizers, wristwatches will all be ‘Google enabled’, and just like in the past where if you wanted to be in business you needed to list in the Yellow Pages, now you will need to list yourself with Google.
    But a Google web-centric OS? The main question is why should we care about that concept at all? Just to stick a finger in MS’s eye? MS is more worried about people getting smart and using OpenOffice on their Win systems than they are about a new barebones OS.

  13. GregAllen says:

    Finally! Welcome. Welcome. Welcome.

    I LIKE Microsoft products but I HATE monopolies.

    (But, of course, Google is also becoming a monopoly. I guess that’s the way it goes. )

    Linux is useable, (once installed) but it is just not suitable for the average computer user since it is so dang hard to install anything.

    But Google knows how to make things easy. IF they make a computer, it’s going to be easy. You can count on that.

  14. Hal Jordan says:

    “I’m shocked that Google is willing to compete with Microsoft head-on. This will certainly be a zero sum ploy as Microsoft will never give Google a second chance. ”

    But what if the suspicions of some IT folks are true: that Google is a plant of the US Intelligence (a misnomer) established to entice users with a system open to prying eyes. One reason for their skepticism is the Google database that seems to have come out of nowhere, easily defeating the voluminous Alta Vista DB which had been collated for over five years. Folks think that the reason why a Johnny-come-lately start-up like Google had these resources, at a time when hard drives and deployment of spiders did not come cheap, was that it was using the DB of the CIA.

    If this is true, what better to equip the target market with a PC that is locked into the Google system. If they succeed, people will be buying machines that will enable the US Govt. to make them more visible. Very promising. Talk about getting your cake and eatin it too!

  15. GregAllen says:

    >>But what if the suspicions of some IT folks are true: that Google is a plant of the US Intelligence (a misnomer) established to entice users with a system open to prying eyes.

    I don’t know about a “plant” but it it seems that that government’s “data mining” of US citizens would not be possible without the cooperation of private industry. At least according to several people on the show that Talk of Nation did yesterday: “Homeland Security in the Digital Age” :

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5080992

    A couple of the experts stated mattter-of-factly that this was clearly illegal but the host refused to pursue that line of discussion. What happened to “liberal” NPR?

  16. Incognito says:

    It just died. Both Walmart and Google have spokesholes denying the pc.

    I do hope they do an OS sometime.

  17. g. says:

    You mean the compoogle?
    There is some rather obvious behind the scenes R&D funding of smaller companies going on, google definitely tries to out-nimble MS by not relying on a certain hardware platform. The “google cube” will most likely be defined as a set of software features (the above mentioned hardware beeing just one example) The game has already begun, have your popcorn ready for the great finals in q2 2006 when google tries not only to outperform the intel- and MS- but also the apple- hypemachine 😉

  18. pond says:

    Another Idea.

    The ‘Google Internet Box’ could be as much a PC as a ReplayTV DVR. it doesn’t compete with MS Windows but is an add-on. It could come with StarOffice/Google office in a portable edition, storing your documents on the drive locally. It coud include a firewall. It could include Google Search that will index all your local hard drives. It could also be a source of Google Video in a bit-torrent way.

    Bob Cringely speculated on Google creating a phantom internet using half-billion dollar trailer-sized server farms. But what if Google could get all of us to buy Google Internet Boxes that would do something similar on Google’s behalf?

    It needn’t be big. It could be the size of a Mac Mini — only shorter since it wouldn’t need the optical drive.

    Or it could be a 1.8″ drive, the size of the Imation USB ‘Padlock’ drive, and be truly portable.

    Carry around with you all your Google maps, your GMail, your saved Google searches, your Google media, your Google/portable StarOffice documents, your Google Talk account with saved, recorded conversations, your Google Radio…

  19. garym says:

    A Google appliance the size of an external hard drive would definitely be intriguing. Give it a LAN connection, an OS that requires very little user interaction. Set it up as a proxy search engine on a home network. And give it the smarts to see what you’re currently browsing and search for any additional or related links in the background. If you find a topic you want to find more on it serves up the page that it already cached locally.
    At the same time, it could perform local searches and store them off the system’s internal drive so it isn’t taking up space there, not that space is much of a consideration any more, but I think people would notice the intrusion less if they don’t see a giant index of all their files on a local hard drive.
    Link that with the Google Vans that Bob Cringley wrote about, and suddenly Google has not only bought the Internet, we as users have helped them by financing the missing piece…our personal information.

  20. garym says:

    You know what amazes me most about the original article that started this thread? In the very beginning the author states that he is predicting…he goes on to state that his sources are speculating…what they suspect might happen.
    Not once does the author state that these are facts.
    Yet, WalMart and Google both had to go make a public statement denying this. Why? Becsuse somebody partly read the article and apparently missed the parts that said “predict,” “Suspect,” and “Speculate.”
    Talk about rumor mongering!


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