Robert Strohmeyer at PC World argues that Chrome OS is simple because it's an extension of Google's design philosophy and it's only meant to do one thing, get online quickly. And yes we get that. Chrome OS is the Browser as the OS, the one idea that Google has held on to obsessively. And they may even be right. But here's the thing.

A Linux based OS is not simple. For all that Chrome OS pretends to be, it's basically an elaborate way of packaging something that will stop working if it doesn't get the right drivers. And those drivers will be hard to come by. That means only two classes of people are likely to use Chrome OS. Those who choose to download and install it. And those who get it pre-installed. Getting a rival OS pre-installed will be a serious challenge with Microsoft in the arena. Even few Netbooks from companies like Dell would be willing to go that route. And meanwhile Google has made Chrome OS too stupid for the kind of people who might want to take the trouble to install it to use.

Yes simple has worked for Google sometimes. Sometimes. But remember Froogle or Google Video. Both were really simple and failed to give users what they wanted. And so both failed. Because while search interfaces should be simple, not everything should. The premise of Chrome OS is rooted in both condescension toward users and a world in which Wi-Fi is everywhere and people don't worry about their data being in the cloud, rather than on their hard drive. Google may be right about that, but like the Apple Newton it may also be a poorly designed product ahead of its time.