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Google finally ends long-term speculation, announcing a new Chrome OS

Google publicly announced it is working on a new Linux-based operating system aimed to compete against Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X.

Chrome OS is being designed by Google engineers for netbooks and is completely independent from its Android OS currently used on a growing number of smartphones.

"Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks," the company said in a blog post.  "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."

The OS itself is expected to make its debut sometime later this year.

Since Chrome OS will be available under an open source license, programmers can freely edit and modify the OS's code.  Furthermore, the OS will be designed for Intel and ARM processors, and could eventually transition away from netbooks to PCs and laptops.

The OS is specifically designed for users who use the internet heavily and won't be ideal for people who aren't connected to the internet often.  Google has said it would continue to launch new products and services in the cloud, including its own Gmail and Google Docs, but very few people expected an OS announcement.

Chrome OS will focus on speed, simplicity and security, and reportedly is a lightweight OS that will be able to boot up in just a few seconds.  Google hopes its interface will be simple enough for all users, with the GUI and user experience expected to be heavily Web-based.

Google is calling for help from the open source community to help work on the OS and iron out any bugs that may arise.

Many Google supporters said the company would eventually release a new OS -- wishful thinking, some analysts said -- but it appears to be a move that could move from netbooks to regular laptops.  Android, which is popular on smartphones, has led several manufacturers to begin using the OS on netbooks currently in development -- instead of porting Android over to netbooks immediately, it seems Chrome OS will help the void.

"We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear -- computers need to get better," the blog also reads.

Microsoft has long-ruled the OS market, but has faced increased pressure from Linux, and must now contend with yet another competitor.  Google has eaten into Microsoft's control of internet offerings, with its Google search engine, Gmail e-mail service, and other cloud-based services.

"We have a lot of work to do, and we're definitely going to need a lot of help from the open source community to accomplish this vision," the Google blog ends.

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RE: yay for google
By Brandon Hill on 7/8/2009 4:29:49 AM , Rating: 2
Funnily enough, they quote various Google sources claiming that it's a brand new OS designed and coded from the ground up rather than being based on Linux as this article claims.

Straight from the Google link:

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

RE: yay for google
By InternetGeek on 7/8/2009 5:55:33 AM , Rating: 2
THat pretty much says everything. With its own windowing system devs have to port their apps to work in chrome os. It's not impossible, but it's gonna take a while.

RE: yay for google
By carl0ski on 7/8/2009 7:01:20 AM , Rating: 2
THat pretty much says everything. With its own windowing system devs have to port their apps to work in chrome os. It's not impossible, but it's gonna take a while.

Not their real goal anyways

Computer Boots Google OS to Chromes Landing Page.
Click the regularly accessed Gmail and Google Docs links

The printer drivers and other devices would be independent of the Custom Gui environment and only cares about the Kernel.

Sounds like all Google wants anyways

RE: yay for google
By drebo on 7/8/2009 11:19:46 AM , Rating: 2
Well, the second biggest pitfall of Linux in the desktop world is how terrible X Windows is as a windowing environment. If Google's willing to take on the challenge of writing a replacement for X Windows, that'd go a long way toward making Linux a viable alternative.

The next stopping block is a centralized user management engine, like Active Directory. Oh, and getting away from a monolithic kernel architecture. Hybrid kernels are the wave of the future, and linux needs to evolve. Installing drivers should NOT require modification to the kernel at all.

RE: yay for google
By Pirks on 7/8/2009 2:42:00 PM , Rating: 2
Hybrid kernels are the wave of the future
The best known example of a hybrid kernel is the NT kernel inside Windows NT

So he meant to say "hybrid kernels are the wave of the past"

RE: yay for google
By gmljosea on 7/8/2009 3:33:50 PM , Rating: 2
Huh, you do know that your beloved Mac also runs on a hybrid kernel right?

RE: yay for google
By Pirks on 7/8/2009 4:39:11 PM , Rating: 1
your beloved Alienware

RE: yay for google
By drebo on 7/8/2009 4:09:49 PM , Rating: 2
Try reading that sentence in your link again...this time, read it all the way to the period: "The best known example of a hybrid kernel is the NT kernel inside Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7."

Monolithic kernels (i.e. those in linux and DOS-based operatingsystems) are going the way of the dodo.

RE: yay for google
By MrPickins on 7/8/2009 11:45:50 AM , Rating: 2
It sounds to me like Google wants all the apps for this OS to be web based.

This is just more of Google pushing cloud computing.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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