Google today announced a new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome - the Google Chrome Operating System, taking direct aim at the dominance of Microsoft's Windows franchise.
Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks, Google said. Later this year, Google plans to open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for in the second half of 2010.
Google said that key aspects of Google Chrome OS would be Speed, simplicity and security.
"We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds," said Sundar Pichai, VP Product Management and Linus Upson, Engineering Director.
The user interface will be minimal. Chrome OS will be also have a completely redesigned security architecture so that users will not have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates, according to Google.
Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips. Google is working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple ? Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using users' favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.
Google said it's working with "multiple" manufacturers to introduce a number of netbooks next year, without identifying any of the companies.
Computer makers such as Acer and Asustek already have plans to offer computers running Google?s Android, an operating system initially designed for mobile phones. Acer, the world?s second-largest laptop maker, said last month that it planned to release a low-cost notebook powered by Android. Asustek Computer has also developed a netbook that runs on Google's software.
"Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android," Pichai added. "'Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google."
"We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear - computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files. Even more importantly, they don't want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates. And any time our users have a better computing experience, Google benefits as well by having happier users who are more likely to spend time on the Internet."