With Chrome, Google reignites the OS wars  

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Google plans Chrome-based Web operating system

That Google operating system rumor is coming true--and it's based on Google's browser, Chrome.

The company announced google chrome OS on its blog Tuesday night, saying lower-end PCs called Netbooks from unnamed manufacturers will include it in the second half of 2010. Linux will run under the covers of the open-source project, but the applications will run on the Web itself.

In other words, Google's cloud-computing ambitions just got a lot bigger."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," Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management, and Linus Upson, engineering director, said in the blog post.

The move has widespread implications.One is that it shows just how serious Google is about making the Web into a foundation not just for static pages but for active applications, notably its own such as Google Docs and Gmail. Another: it opens new competition with Microsoft and, potentially, a new reason for antitrust regulators to pay close attention to Google's moves.

The move also gives new fuel to the Netbook movement for low-cost, network-enabled computers. Those machines today run Windows or Linux. Google Chrome OS provides a new option that hearkens back to the Network Computer era of the 1990s espoused bysun micro system scott Mc Nealy and oracle's larry Ellision.

Google is making sure its standard antitrust rebuttal, that "competition is one click away," remains intact with Chrome OS, though. "All Web-based applications...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."

Another bit of intrigue comes with the corporate politics. Google has argued that offering its Android mobile-phone operating system isn't a big enough competitive issue with Apple that Chief Executive Eric Schmidt must step down from Apple's board. Offering a full-on PC operating system could intensify the Federal Trade Commission's "discussions" about Schmidt's dual Apple and Google responsibilities .

Google has a track record of upsetting the status quo, though, taking on strong incumbent players and rattling cages well beyond the computing industry. Google Docs competes withMicrosoft Office . Gmail competes with Yahoo Mail and Microsoft Hotmail.Google Books aims to digitize the publishing industry . The Android operating system is designed to make smartphones cheap and ordinary.

What Chrome OS has on Windows that Linux doesn't

Google's Chrome OS isn't the first operating system to challenge Microsoft Windows' commanding lead. But it's got an advantage that other rivals such as Linux lacked: the Web.
Chrome OS faces the same applications challenge as any other operating system, but it's rising to that challenge in a different way. It includes the Chrome browser running on a stripped-down version of Linux, but the applications won't run on Linux, they'll run on the Internet. Chrome is the conduit to the Web applications, and Chrome OS is the vehicle by which Google will get the browser installed on Netbooks starting in the second half of 2010, the company promises.

Why Chrome OS? Google says, why not?

Google has long worked on expanding its reach beyond mere Internet search. And as many had suspected,it confirmed late Tuesday night that it plans to develop a lightweight operating system based on Linux and Web standards for personal computers.
Chrome OS is the byproduct of Google thinking it can do better than Windows,Mac OS X, the various flavors of Linux, and even its own Android operating system. It's long been obvious that the world has changed from a personal computing model built for individuals working offline or businesspeople sharing files across a workplace to one where the consumer/business lines have blurred and people are expected to be online anywhere and everywhere.

This entry was posted on 7/9/09 at 6:07 PM and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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