Thursday, February 14, 2013

Invention Controversey

My previous blog post has caused some confusion among people who didn't work with me on the "Google OS" project back in 2007.  Here is a brief response:

I am not surprised some people are calling this claim into doubt since its was work done back in 2006 and 2007.  It sounds like many of these questions are being raised by people outside of Google or individuals who joined the project after 2007.  

First, let me reassure you that while I was not able to walk out of Google with my email history or design documents, Google sent me long correspondence about the Chrome OS patent after I left Google.  I do not believe this correspondence is covered by any NDA, since it was sent to me after I left Google, and I have retained all of that correspondence. 

I published the work called "Google OS" on a company wide email list in April May 2007, with subject line "Google OS" "Guppy needs testers", and received hundreds of positive comments from other engineers at that time.  I also held a tech talk on "Google OS" in May 2007.  Anyone at the company in April May 2007 will likely retain a copy of the original "Google OS" email, search for subject line "Google OS" "Guppy needs testers" in April May 2007.

The operating system that I invented, as described in the  April May  007 email on a company wide email list, was a webapp-centric chopped-down Linux with a Chrome browser front-end.  The operating system had almost no applications installed on it, instead all of the functionality came from webapps;  performing any operation on the desktop launched a Chrome window to one of many webapps.  The original  April May  007 version of the operating system that was published on a company wide email list was substantially identical to the publicly released Chromebook product, as was the writeup in the original 2007 email.

Further, back in 2007, I had meetings with Jeff Huber (VP of Google's consumer products group), Larry Page (now CEO), several other directors and managers, and even presented a techtalk - all of these meetings on Chrome OS project. By the end of 2007, I was working with a product manager, and together we were able to convince management to launch the Chrome OS project and assign head count to the project by the end of 2007.  In August 2007, my product manager and I even met with an external hardware vendor to have exploratory talks regarding their interest in distribution a Chrome OS laptop. 

All of this is verifiable both from the email record, such as the  April May 2007 "Google OS" email to a company wide mailing list, and also by those who met with me on Chrome OS in 2007, including Larry Page himself.  Further, I retain the hard copies of the correspondence with Google that was sent to me after I left the company on the subject as well, which I don't believe is covered by any sort of NDA.

I hope this clears up some of the controversy.  Again, I am not surprised that many of you who either worked on Chromebook or joined Google after 2007 have never heard of me.  Once I left Google, there would have been no reason to continuously bring up my name as the original inventor, and I have chosen not to come forward until the patent was finalized and published.  I apologize to those of you who may have been confused by this.

UPDATE:
A number of people have asked about the history of the trademarked product name, 'Chomebook', as opposed to 'Google OS' and 'Guppy'.

The initial name I proposed when I first demoed my webtop work to Google management in July 2006 was 'Guppy', short for Google - Puppy; and following a naming convention commonly used inside Google of reworking a product outside the company, then adding a 'G' to arrive at a name for the Google variant. 'Guppy' predated the internal release and product testing of Chrome by about six months. It was built entirely on Firefox. That was not a design decision at the time of course, Chrome simply did not exist yet.

When the Chrome team joined the project in May 2007, the project received formal approval and was funded with full-time engineer head count. At that time, the project code name was chosen to be 'Google OS'.

In June 2007, one of the managers of the Chrome team (Mike J.) proposed the product name 'Chromebook' and the name stuck. After that 'Chromebook' was used in all of our documentations as well as management briefings.