Google have come a long way since their humble beginnings in the cut-throat world of search engines in the late 1990s. Differentiating themselves from the herd with a simple, uncluttered, utilitarian design that put Yahoo to shame, Google has gone from strength to strength: nowadays they have diversified into almost every imaginable multimedia avenue. But as a site that manufactures mobile phone peripherals, our chief area of interest lies in Google’s mobile phone operating system – the freely distributed Android OS. Owing to this open-source policy of distribution, Google have successfully manoeuvred themselves into a position of supremacy in the Smartphone market; the concept of a mobile OS that can be tinkered with extensively is an attractive prospect for companies like Samsung and HTC, who incorporate their own GUIs to ensure browsing their unique phones is a singular experience. It’s the anti-iOS: unlike Apple’s proprietary operating system, which is singularly linked to the experience of owning an iPhone, Android prides itself on its diversity and usefulness across a broad spectrum of devices. But Google, clever company that they are, know that there’s always room for improvement, and they’re looking to their competitors for inspiration. In the past, Microsoft attempted to run their Windows OS across different types of devices, such as tablets, phones and desktops, to provide a homogenous user experience, building up brand familiarity. Their efforts, sadly, failed. This stands in contrast to Apple’s successful policy of building up a brand through marketing, while utilizing thoroughly different operating systems for different devices – just compare the iOS, their iPhone operating system, to the OS X, the classic operating system of their wildly popular Macs. Keeping this in mind, Google are opting to move towards a gradual conflation of Android, their Smartphone operating system, and Chrome OS, their cloud-based operating system that recently debuted on their chromebook and chrometop devices. It makes sense from a business perspective. In the past, Google had to adopt the simpler Android system for phones, because they lacked the processing power to run software as sophisticated as that found in the Chrome OS. But as Smartphones grow smarter, and prices gradually decrease, it’s becoming more and more cost effective and easy to premiere powerful, versatile software like Chrome OS on a device small enough to hold in one hand. But they don’t want to make the mistake that Microsoft did, which was, essentially, brutally ramming an operating system designed for desktops across platforms that simply didn’t complement it. So their plan is to smoothly and organically combine the two platforms, taking the best features of each to create a seamless (but still distinctive) browsing experience. Their Chrome web browser has already made its debut on Android 4.0, marking Google’s first steps into convergence; who knows what kind of conflated Chrome/Android powerhouse could be created by the time the 5.0 or 6.0 versions roll around? It’s easy to lose yourself in the clouds (or perhaps simply place your head in cloud-based storage for a time) when thinking of such heady notions, but for the casual consumer, there’s likely to be little change. Google is a superb company ran by bright and forward-thinking people; they’re sure to retain the unique elements that make Smartphones and desktops special, no matter how similar the operating systems of each may become!