We’ve heard a lot lately about Apple and its “walled garden” approach to its computer platforms. When you think about this approach, however, this is the same thing that Microsoft has been doing for years. While they do not have hardware specifications set in stone like Apple, the ability to run applications is based on some set rules in a closed source platform. While Linux and its many open source variations have been around for years attempting to change this ideal, they have not been successful in terms of wide spread adoption. Enter Google. During a talk at Google Atmosphere , the idea of the “walled garden” approach comes into play because before search became so ubiquitous, we didn’t worry so much about whether something was closed- or open-sourced. Now that we use the internet for a wider variety of things that are integral to our lives, taking a different approach to this is clearly Google’s strategy: By the way, Google Atmosphere was a cloud computing event held earlier this week. So with that in mind, there is still this fact that Google wants to open up all these data sources to make infrastructure easier for us, they are going to need to effectively control hardware in order to get the right amount of performance. Schmidt details the fact that they don’t want to build Chrome OS or Android machines themselves, they simply want to have the correct software platform the can enable better collaboration. Instead of it just being Google creating these collaboration tools, they will open up the market to create them as well. Two examples of that right now are the Android Market and Google Apps Store for enterprise. Interestingly, with thin clients that are connected to the cloud it’s possible that the distinction between these two could begin to blur since you could theoretically have different profiles for separate purposes. If you’ve got a spare forty minutes, check out the clip above. Schmidt talks about trying to create a new platform, about creating a new industry model. It’s been pretty exciting to monitor all of this because we just don’t know what’s going to happen quite yet. Information keeps coming out bit by bit and the overall potential of where we are going is simply immense.