It’s war: Google announces Chrome OS

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks.

says Google. So the gloves are off – not content with targeting Microsoft Exchange and Office with Google Apps, the company is now going for the whole piece, client operating system included.

It’s not as new as all that, of course:

The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.

says Google’s Sundar Pichai, VP Product Management. According to the release, it intends that developers will write web applications that will run in any “standards-based” browser – though I’m guessing Google will continue to use its Gears extensions which are not part of any W3C standard.

One of the interesting questions is whether Google Chrome OS will stick with these limited goals, or whether it might end up running local applications such as, say, OpenOffice, or a media and DVD player, or games. What about Adobe AIR, will it run on Chrome OS and provide offline capability? My guess, almost certainly yes.

Linux is an excellent choice for a netbook, and it’s been sad to see Windows almost take over there. The reasons seem to be lack of customer acceptance combined with sloppy releases from some OEMs more familiar with Windows. Google won’t be sloppy; but it faces many of the same challenges in winning users. Expect modest initial success, with more interesting implications for the long-term.

Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year.

says Pichai.

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3 comments to It’s war: Google announces Chrome OS

  • George

    Isn’t this just Google Chrome for Linux?
    There’s a big difference between a new fancy browser for Linux and a completely new OS for rich GUI apps like Mac OS or Windows.

    I think the marketing people are getting a little over excited. For netbooks though it might be all some people need.

    However if the Windows Chrome browser (sorry, “OS”) is anything to go by, it won’t be widely adopted once people realise its limitations.

    Most people I know with netbooks have ditched the bundled Linux ditro for Windows XP. Indeed I am running Windows 7 on an Ion nettop, why would I want some limited Google OS?

  • tim

    Isn’t this just Google Chrome for Linux?

    Not quite; Google says it has its own windowing system, for example. But I agree that it may still be a hard sell.

    Tim

  • vlad

    there is many uses for the chrome os. and the reason people ditch the linux netbooks for xp is that they are not familiar with the os and refuse to adapt. i am testing chrome os right now and its great for web browsing, and once they get printing in & a decent media player & people figure out how to use cloud products they will love chrome OS and its speed and easiness.