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Google Is Creating a New Free Operating System Called Google Chrome OS

by Abel Avram on Jul 08, 2009 |

Google has announced they are working a new operating system called Google Chrome OS. Based on a Linux kernel with a new windowing system, the new OS is targeted at netbooks first and will be open sourced and free.

After dominating Microsoft in the search field, after entering the mobile market with Android, Google is entering right in the heart of Microsoft’s business: the operating system. Google is following their vision: an entirely online world where all data and applications are on cloudy servers, and the user needs only a browser to access all that. Google has a browser, Chrome, but they want an operating system fearing Microsoft will eventually catch up with them and ultimately will marginalize them having control of the most dominant OS.

They actually do not want to recreate a new full-blown OS, but rather take a Linux kernel, and create a new minimal windowing system on top of it. The main and probably the only application running on it will be the browser, Chrome. The other applications are online, accessed through the browser. The idea is to offer Chrome a support that is not controlled by someone else and practically reiterates the war of the 90’s when Netscape wanted to cover the desktop with their browser, making Windows irrelevant.

Google will open source the code of the Chrome OS later this year, and invites the community to join their efforts when that happens. They are also in talks with several manufactures to produce netbooks by the second half of 2010, but they are not going to stop with netbooks. They want to take it to laptops and desktops. While Android is also on netbooks, they say the two products will actually complement each other, Android being targeted at mobile devices. Chrome OS will run both on x86 and ARM processors.

Developers will be able to work as usual using their web platform of choice. They just do not target the desktop, but will create online applications as they have already done so.

Google wants to build the new OS for:

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. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

Google clearly takes aim at Microsoft by saying:

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.

Some of the companies Google is working with to make this happen are Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba. The most interesting name in the list is Adobe, a software company. This indicates Adobe AIR will get good support on the new OS and probably will continue to have a good support of Flash inside the browser, Chrome. It is interesting to see what will Google do regarding Silverlight which is currently supported by Chrome 2.0.

A new page of history begins. It is difficult to say what the outcome will be. Google will certainly drive some of the market, but Microsoft will also react. We need to wait and see their reaction. Their first move is suggested by the research conducted for a much more secure browser, code name Gazelle. And Google’s path to success is not so straightforward. Online applications are not as mature and fast as desktop ones. There are still networking issues remaining. There is a very large number of people using desktop applications, and that is not going to change any time soon, but we are living in a fast changing world.

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Turning a computer on just like turning a TV on :-) by Khoa Ngo

If Google makes Chrome OS boot as fast as a TV, I think it will be the best choice in the "web and cloud computing epoch".

Wonderbaar! by Jerome St-Pierre

I would not hesitate to pay for a cheap license if they succeed at making it fast and simple. Jakob Nielsen was right, the art of simplicity is the key to get happy users. Google understood that from the beginning.

I am using almost every Google Web applications and for the simple usage that I make it is just perfect. It might not be as fast as desktop applications for people having slow connections but the beauty of it is there is no risk in loosing our data, it is free and it is accessible from anywhere!

Google is wasting their time by Dan Tines

It's doomed to failure. It's the same brain-dead thinking that Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy had in the mid-90s.

Re: Turning a computer on just like turning a TV on :-) by Jim Leonardo

Or will it be "A TV takes as long to turn on as a computer?" More and more, it seems we're getting away from instant on with electronics. Just look at the growth in time it takes to start from VCR to DVD to Blu-Ray.

Big question... how well will it handle those folks who have spotty net coverage? Will the Gears (or whatever they use) implementation be up to the task?

Also, HTML is increasingly showing its age (and it was decrepit at least 10 years ago). We really need a common application markup that takes into account what the dev world wants/needs to do, not a document markup perverted into an application markup.

Operating System - Linux Kernel by Srikanth Remani

Operating System that is free and has a google stamp will fly to certain level. But given that their own Browser has such a paltry share and the fact they will be giving the world "Yet Another Distro", I have to say "Good Luck!!!"

Re: Operating System - Linux Kernel by Khoa Ngo

"Yet Another Distro", yes, so we can choose Ubuntu, SUSE, Fedora... or Chrome OS. But I don't think it's simple as that. We all know what Google did with Android. Android is just "Yet Another Distro" for mobile devices, but it created a buzz on marketplace.

I think they will reuse Android to build Chrome OS.
Android being targeted at mobile devices. Chrome OS will run both on x86 and ARM processors

On the lines of Flash, Silverlight.. how about JavaFX? by Pradeep Krishnan

What about JavaFX? I think it has a very good future in the Chrome OS.

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