back to article Sergey Brin: Only 20% of Googlers still on Windows

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has said that only about 20 per cent of Google's employees are still using Microsoft Windows, and that all of those users are on Windows 7. He stressed, however, that he is not sure of the exact percentage. Rumors had indicated that within the company, Google had almost entirely banned Windows. …


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  1. gef05


    Should we care? echo echo echo

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Well yes, you should.

      A lot of people follow Google and what they do or say can have an effect on the decisions of a lot of people. MS do not need one of the biggest tech companies in the world bad-mouthing and dropping their flagshop product, sends out a bad message. Even the most tech-illiterate have used Google and MS products, they know that Google is useful to find info and PCs run Windows, that's the limit for most users. When of those two makes a noise, people may listen and think.

      Personally I don't care either, I find both Google and MS products distasteful but some people do care and the ad-men in MS are probably none to happy if this news hits the mainstream media.

      1. Adam T

        "...a lot of people care..."

        I dunno. I think a lot of people might care enough, say, to open a GMail account, and use Google's search engine, and Google Maps.

        But care enough to "rent" a laptop with a Google operating system?

        I'd probably have been interested just out of curiousity 3-4 years ago, but not enough to shell out cash to an advertising company, and certainly not now that I've got more gadgets and OS's to deal with than I'm actually comfortable with.

        But hey, maybe I'm a minority and you'll be proven right.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Minority vote increases by 100%

          Your minority has increased by at exactly one.

        2. ElReg!comments!Pierre

          "rent" a laptop

          Well people certainly do care enough to "rent" games (think mmorpg) and phones... Why not laptops? I know I won't, but I also know that the majority will at least consider it.

          1. Adam T

            re: "rent" a laptop

            El Reg found at least one reason not to! :)


  2. mraak

    Good idea

    But what can you do if Google Spreadsheet suck so badly they are impossible to use.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You work for google and you use a spreadsheet? You must be the janitor then

      1. Ilgaz

        mainframes too

        There isn't a single grid that can handle the amount of data Google creates financially, especially downtime isn't acceptable on that case.

        So they must also use IBM mainframes too, the horror!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good idea

      "But what can you do if Google Spreadsheet suck so badly they are impossible to use."

      I see you've used Google Docs spreasheet, then.

    3. mraak


      Geez, what replies :) I was referring to the impracticalities of using a system on which you are limited to using one, sub par Spreadsheet application, in this case Google Docs Spreadsheet. Spreadsheets have been known for decades for representing and calculating tabular data and they really are mature at this day and age. They are also very common in use for wide variety of purposes, from project management, analysis, financial and other things. To go into 2011, and not be able to use it, is actually like going back into 1989.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Jobs Horns

        re: maturity of spreadsheets

        "...they really are mature at this day and age." I couldn't tell, Microsoft keeps offering new versions, and they never produce backwards-compatible files by default.

  3. Anomalous Cowturd

    To paraphrase, if I may...

    > It should be noted that regardless of its design, Windows is targeted far more often than other operating systems because it is unpatched, and poorly configured out of the box, on far more machines. ®

    HTH. ^-^

    1. Ilgaz

      win can be secured

      I don't like the arch of win compared to unix but telling something is insecure because it needs patches is absurd.

      You can install the latest service pack, run windows update automatically and it will function same way as chrome, you won't even care whatever update shipped.

      On Windows and OS X, you have full control over your machine and you can purchase a top end security suite (or get free one) and have way better security than Chrome OS.

      Chrome was recently exploited by French with all the known security features enabled. Why? Because Mr. Google really hurried with some stuff to show off 3d on Web.

      Putting all your data to Google and bragging about how secure your system is also sounding bad.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nicely done

    "that eliminates complexity"

    can't argue with that. A stark contrast.

  5. JDX Gold badge


    Yes, they avoid complexity by leaving out all the features :)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A software company that prefers not to use its competitor's OS?

    Not the most surprising or unlikely thing in the world ever.

    1. Ilgaz

      even MS isn't that childish

      a MS guy uncovered (!) the fact that MS design/DTP guys bought truckload of G5 Macs since they are the right tool for their personnel there. Nobody got assasinated as far as I know.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course

    As reported on 9to5Google most of the other 80% run OS X or maybe Linux on their Macs


    Nothing to do with Chrome OS though.

    1. Steven Raith

      Sorry, I call bollocks.

      As laughingly 'reported' on 9-5 google, most people who were *photographed* had Mac gear.

      Credit to 9-5google, as it's a direct C+P of pretty much their entire article:

      "It’s a familiar scene. *MacBook-toting journalists, bloggers and guests* providing Apple with omnipresence and free advertising at rivals’ events, thanks in large part to the glowing Apple logo on the well-designed notebook family. Who knows, this time next year some of these folks might carry around machines with the Google logo on them if there’s any substance to the whispers of subscription-based Chrome OS notebooks. Check out seven additional Apple sightings below the fold and meet us in comments."

      My asterisked highlight, as it says nothing for Google staff themselves, only people who had showed up, regardless of who they were.

      The rest of the article is captions to seven photgraphs. Hardly a network scan showing that 80% of Google staff were using Apple gear.

      Doesn't meant jack shit with regards to what they use internally, either. I'd wager it's mostly commodity hardware + GoogleOptimisedLinux, especially seeing how much *nix gear they have to run their primary business models.

      But then, unlike the above commentard, I refuse to pass this on as some kind of authorative fact - it's simply observational assessment. Journalists and bloggers != Google itself. In the same way that me using an iPad to show someone some pictures at work is totally misrepresentative of the four Linux workstations, and one Xenserver box with three Windows VMs and five Linux VMs I have at home for actually *doing stuff*. Not that I'd turn my nose up at a Macbook, mind...!

      So the idea that 80% of Google staff, who aren't using Windows, are actually using Mac OS, is on this evidence, an entirely baseless suggestion. I might as well suggest that the 50% (specualtive) or so of people who don't die of natural causes die of Claymore mine wounds, simply because I've seen a few pictures of people in Sierra Leone who have had their legs blown off - it's an equally valid supposition in this case, and equally baseless.

      Steven R

      1. Ilgaz

        better add a sticker to google laptops

        something like "I am such an incapable idiot who doesn't give a heck to my and others personal data so I have chosen a Google laptop and paying in addition to that"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Great idea!

          The other one would be "All your BSSIDs now belong to Google, plus the few extra wifi packets this computer has sniffed by accident."

  8. hitmouse

    Explains a lot

    about the unfamiliarity of how their products run on desktop operating systems. Ignoring system parameters for locale, metrics etc.

    As long as the Californian geeks are in nerdvana, the great unwashed can go to hell.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Speaking about numbers

    it seems the belly-button is extremely popular as proven by the sheer number of people having it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only because

      You don't get a choice: it comes pre-installed.

      1. Scott 53

        Not necessarily

        My son doesn't have one. Long story, but he'll always be the wild card when playing "innie or outie".

        1. Anonymous Coward

          button button

          there is an app for that

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Only because

        But given the choice you'd probably still want one. You could have the option of being an inny or an outy, I always think outies look a little but weird and they don't have anywhere to collect fluff.

    2. tommydokc
      Thumb Up

      belly buttons

      those are OEM.

  10. llewton

    dump it

    "... regardless of design windows is targeted more..."

    but because of design, it gets hit all the time.

  11. NogginTheNog

    Eating your own dog food

    It's a phrase I've seen Microsoft use before, regarding running their own products in house. It makes a lot of sense...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Does it?

      Why DOG food? Why not just say eating your own food? Shorter and more sensible?

      It makes sense at Microsoft: it would be offensive to say eat your own shit so they had to pick other brownish foul smelling substances to represent their products.

      But I don't think that's what most companies should aim for.

      1. Jon_Boy

        Dog Food

        MS definition:

        "Dogfood — Microsoft concept for internal testing of software that’s not fit for public consumption, but good enough for internal purposes. Very unrefined and buggy, but containing basic nutrients."

        So calling it “dogfood” is an indication of quality (not fit for humans). It means more than just “use what you build”. The term is intended to mean “use what you build as early as you can” (i.e. before customers do).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Still stupid

          You seem to like definitions, and by them dog food would be a fully prepared product ready to serve to a dog. Are developers not human?

          If you want to mean food that is not ready yet, then use something like part cooked, half baked, tasting the broth or even tasting the dough. But dog food it is not.

          1. Mediocrates

            Are developers not human?

            No, they are CodeMonkeys (tm).

          2. hplasm
            Gates Horns


            is the released version of MS's 'dogfood'.

        2. NogginTheNog
          Thumb Up

          I never realised that!

          Cheers, that makes the phrase even clearer now.

        3. Frank 2

          You missed the point

          The point is that *you* should taste the food you are giving to your dog == *you* should use the software you are giving to your clients.

          Saying 'eat your own food' is stupid because if you didn't you would be dead.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Great discussion

            So we went from developers not being human to customers being dogs.

            That's pretty much the truth really. Just don't tell mine, they haven't figured out what the cage is for yet.

      2. foo_bar_baz
        Thumb Down

        @OCD AC

        It's curious how language develops organically, not from a linguist's rulebook or an advertising agency's plans. What's the sense in "pineapple"? Perhaps the origins of the phrase predate Microsoft?

        That was really hard.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Can you really not see how the name pineapple came about? Try to look at the fruit (not cut up in M&S boxes) and a pine cone (again not the pine nuts)

          Thanks for the link I'm relieved even the new MS CIO agrees with me.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Lesson from Microsoft

      Microsoft famously used to use all their own tools, write all their in house systems and so on. Once they changed they were saving vast amount of time and money.

      Few companies tend to use their own software internally, it creates a lot of distraction as there proper support protocols can be bypassed and crucial developer time can be spent fixing up simple problems in software.

  12. Bob 18

    Web-based IDE?

    Google is a software company, and many of its employees spend their time programming. I've never heard of any serious web-based IDEs or other programming tools. I wonder if Google has something they're not telling us about --- or else, maybe only support staff will go to ChromeOS.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I reading a different article?

    Where does it say they use Chrome OS internally?

    Just says 80% don't use Windows, so it can be OSX, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, etc, anything really. Why are you assuming it's Chrome OS?

    From the article: "Brin said that Google hopes to move most of its employees to Google's Chrome OS"

    Good luck with that Brin. But that actually tells us most actually aren't, so the other options I mentioned are more likely.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Still not as good as my OS!

    My own linux OS I compiled myself is even safer than Google's!! But all it does is to boot. It doesn't even give you an option to login to avoid force brute attacks. 100% secure. And works without an ethernet port too!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      But at least it boots!

      Plus with no users or admins to f**k it up it should run perfectly forever

  15. json

    ..while the 80% are using Macs!

    hey larry! just provide us with a good port for a non-online office suite -- libreoffice will do-- and my 8-man company will begin using android.. promise!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    What about Mac OS X?

    From a visit to Google New York, I can say that over half of the laptops I saw in corridors where MacBooks. And a third of the phones where iPhones.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      According to Steven Raith above

      They were all visitors to the building :)

      1. Steven Raith
        Thumb Up


        *flips Vs at Anonymous Coward*

        Mind you, I don't recall my post being that long when I was scrawling it last night, I can't half talk some pish after a few lager shandies, eh?


        Steven R

        (Thumbup - because there's no V's option :-) )

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mac OSX?

      Yes but what software where they running on their Apple PCs? I run Ubuntu on my iMac.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Google, Google, Google, Google

    Look at the Register home page and it's everywhere you look. Google this, bloody Google that. Either you lot are taking some kind of immature delight in doing it on purpose to wind people up, success in my case, or you have a Google fetish or Google secretly owns the Register and it's another example of their advertising.

    Whatever the reason I'm off. I genuinely will never visit this site again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google, Google, Google, Google

      This is slightly silly. Google is running its annual conference and has lots of things to say. We are there, reporting.

    2. James Hughes 1


      If you are not interested in news of the worlds largest internet company provided by a technology site on the very same internet, then, well, goodbye. I'd like to say it was nice knowing you. But you appear to be an underwater crustacean.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Bye now

      don't let the door hit you on the way out.

      As an interesting side-note...replace "google" with "Apple" in your rant. Tell me if that rings your bell too...oh wait, you've already left. Sorry.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Here's your coat

      <--------- Here's your coat

    5. hplasm


      Fookin' Prawns...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        I get it

        A least those prawns get funky armoured suits...this one just doesn't get it.

  18. itspoyle
    Gates Halo

    eat your own dogfood

    I think the origin is some dogfood manufacturer exec who was so confident in his product he ate a can in a shareholder meeting. Alternatives inlcude drinking your own champagne, a little more arrogant if you ask me. A term Cisco uses internally.

    1. Jerome 0


      Drinking your own piss, a term popular with Bear Grylls.

      1. Panix

        Only 20% of Googlers still on Windows.....

        Better drink my own piss.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A good example

    Let's hope that many more companies follow this example! Thankfully where I work I have the freedom to use either Windows or Linux.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      the freedom to use either Windows or Linux

      I don't have such freedoms here, Linux is banned in favor of the more "secure" and "compliant" Windows, this version comes with bugware running in the background, that allows remote monitoring of the desktop. At the same time the underlying network is vulnerable to attack, but ooh never mind, the paperwork says they're compliant.

  20. Mark C Casey


    Is pretty meh, you're limited to just the browser.. so any useful programs you want to download and use, you can't. Like a browser other than Chrome? Tough shit, it's Chrome or nothing. ChromeOS is a dead end.

    I can however see Android being turned into a hybrid OS that covers desktops as well as its origin on phones and tablets. Android has a future, ChromeOS does not.

    1. Ilgaz

      afraid to ask or check java support

      What about Java applet support especially after the war with Oracle? For example Vnc to your real computer with applet? Ssh? File management? I give these examples instead of some classic java games.

      I also know a full feature office software ages ahead of Google office (way more older) and it can run in a browser thanks to Java.

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      download programs?

      Why would you want to do that? Not having to download and install -potentially dangerous- 3rd-party software is the whole point of chromeOS. You can dislike the idea, but it's not a limitation, it's a feature. The main feature actually. Most netbook owners already only really use the web browser anyway; Google Docs should cover the other needs (on paper at least. I don't know how good -or bad- it is in reallity).

      And a virtually unpwnable machine that starts clean at each reboot is a very good idea for a lot of people I know.

  21. Doug Glass

    100% of horsemen ...

    ...are still on horses, 100% of women are still female and etc. As far a Googling goes ... BFD.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I imagine a lot of them run google's version of ubuntu..

  23. Cazzo Enorme

    Interesting parallel

    When I worked at the Google of yesteryear, Yahoo!, all the developers ran FreeBSD on their desktop machines. No one as far as I was aware dual booted, and this was before a virtualised Windows was really workable on this hardware / OS combo. The non-developers did run Windows, but at this point there were more developers than the rest of the employees put together.

    1. pan2008

      and the result was....

      Yahoo is almost a bankrupt company now, they use Bing's search engine cause theirs suck and npbody wants to buy them.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @ Yahoo is almost a bankrupt company now...

        that was nuthin t do with BSD, it was google that bust yahoo

  24. Jonjonz
    Thumb Down

    Sergy Has Become GM

    Sergy has become GM. 90% of GM workers drive chevys - whoop-de-doo.

    1. hplasm

      His DNA-

      has been modified?

  25. SplitBrain


    ...Problem Solved.

  26. Sean Gray

    ChromeOS seemed complicated to me

    I tried ChromeOS on my netbook a while ago. It started up and asked me to login with my Google account. Unfortunately, it didn't have the drivers for my network adapter out of the box so it wasn't actually possible for me to login to my Google account which meant that I couldn't even login to the machine to install any drivers.

    I'll stick to operating systems that work, thanks.

  27. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The only advantage to Chrome as an OS.

    is its ability to run on relatively anything. That is a huge advantage for smart phones and low power laptop / tablets. Essentially, that's all a tablet needs really and they could probably pound one out for under 200-300 Pounds. Not an iPad killer, but certainly will nibble their ankles quite badly.

    1. RainForestGuppy

      I think Google already have a solution for this

      it's called Android.

      but tablets and smartphones are essentially viewers of content are not designed to create it.

      Chrome OS is designed to get people to use Google cloud services such as google docs, gmail etc on laptop/desktop.

  28. Mark .

    Logos advertising the brand

    "From a visit to Google New York, I can say that over half of the laptops I saw in corridors where MacBooks. And a third of the phones where iPhones."

    It's very difficult to judge just by looking - remember, Apple are like companies like Addidas in that they plaster their logo over their products. So the few times you see an Apple PC or phone, you notice it, but it's easy to forget the many others that are from other companies.

    (Also you have to remember that Apple phone users seem more likely to wave it around all the time, and announce that they're going to check email on their Iphone, as if this was something special - other people just discretely use it. Most of the time, you shouldn't ever see a phone, because it ought to be tucked away in their pocket.)

    1. Ilgaz

      and closet mac users exist too

      I really hate the image of Apple especially at cafes etc so the first thing i would do is somehow hiding the gigantic illumunated logo. A good quality cover works.

      I really wonder the point of becoming a walking Apple ad.

      Of course, when I have to manage/use a "non trendy brand" laptop like MSi or Lenovo, I never miss the chance to show off (!) with it :) I even shouted "long live xp!" once with A4 mouse in my hand.

  29. doperative

    Windows is targeted far more often?

    > Windows is targeted far more often that other operating systems because it is used on far more machines ..

    That's a debatable statement, imho the design flaws are a combination of Windows and how the Intel chipset handle memory, as it it seems incapable of isolating each processes memory.


    Modded up two, modded down seven ...

  30. Scarborough Dave

    Interesting stats.

    Suprised that the employees are not all using Chrome generally, with other browsers being used for testing.

    Reminds me of a job I did at the Rover Plant, I drove up to the employee car park and nearly all the cars were Ford's or some other make; with barely a Rover to be seen.

  31. Peshman

    I may be late to the party...

    But am I missing something here? Where's the news story? Mr Google telling me that only 20% of his workforce use Win7 isn't newsworthy is it? That's like saying I wear business attire to work except for dress down Friday's.

    Do you care?

    No! Thought not.


  32. Sarah Davis

    "unsure of the exact percentage"

    so it could be 98% are still on Windows, or it could be that Googles operatives lied to stay in the companies good books. Given the limitations of the google O.S. only people with the most limited computer usage (web, chat, docs, and media playing) would be able to use it. Does it have any sophisticated Graphic, Video, Music, 3D, or Animation editors ? Be intersting to see how many people Reg readers know who would actually consider using Google OS let alone paying $330/year for renting a low spec laptop when almost any other deal is a better deal

    this smells of typical Google-Hype, with shades of Google-Blather and Google-Balony

    funny how in recent years we've come to take a lot of Googles 'reports' with more than a pinch of salt

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Hello Sun, Hello Larry Ellison

    Everyone keeps repeating this great idea of the network computer - ever since the invention of the personal computer, they've want to get back in control of the users.

    It's pretty inevitable that as soon as web-based software / cloud / etc becomes dominant, some upstart will then be able to start marketing on the opposite.

  34. James Dunmore

    Windows on more

    "It should be noted that regardless of its design, Windows is targeted far more often that other operating systems because it is used on far more machines"

    That is such a flippant statement - does this reporter have any grasp of the number of *nix servers and machines in the world?

    Desktop machines, yes, clearly more windows devices. Servers, mobile and embedded devices, by a long way, no.

    Windows is targeted because it is used the most often by the least technically minded people. For example, how many people that read this great site would click yes to install a pop up that says your computer is at risk? And in turn, how many OS's would allow you to install that software into the heart of your OS without asking you for a password (okay, vista and 7 do).

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