Google Chrome OS

July 8, 2009

Well this changes everything … The new operating system, aptly named Google Chrome OS, will be an open-source operating system, Linux based, initially geared toward netbooks, Google announced in a blog posting late Tuesday evening.

Google claims the new operating system, which should ship on netbooks starting in the second half of next year, will be “lightweight” and heavily Web-centric.

A quick-booting OS built around a single application like Chrome would be a natural fit for a netbook. With such an OS, Google could obviously make it extra easy for users to access the full range of Google cloud applications through the browser—Google Docs, Gmail, Google Maps, etc. Speculation that Chrome itself could be used as a standalone operating system has been floating around ever since the browser Chrome’s launch, but those ideas are based on some fundamental misconceptions about how multiprocess browsing works. The fact that Chrome uses multiple processes does not make it an operating system onto itself It’s just a way to make use of the multi-core computers to spread the work around.

Calling the new OS “Chrome OS” is intriguing though. IMHO — It points to a one main application environment — the web. These days it’s all about the web.

… today, we’re announcing a new project that’s a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It’s our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we’re already talking to partners about the project, and we’ll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.

More here at google’s company blog.

Of course a netbook is nothing more than a PC with lowered resource count, so the distinction is one without a difference. And low powered PC should be able to benefit form a an OS that does not tax the computer as much as the blunderbuss OS approach that MS seems to favor. Giant hairballs are definitely out.

And unfortunately for MS, that includes expensive OSes. The fact that only yesterday that google apps will leave their beta status behind, means their target is getting clear, the Enterprise.

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