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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: Competition
By Suntan on 7/8/2009 12:21:30 PM , Rating: 3
Linux development is rather chaotic, with all those little groups trying to develop their own products there's no real drive nor direction. Now you've got a heavy weight like Google entering the market, they have the power (money) to drive real commercialization of a Linux based OS.

You extracted the real reason why this is significant much better than the actual article ever did.

They could also influence existing Linux development far more than even Linus Torvalds does. If this does take off you might see the Linux development scene reorient itself around chrome.

Possibly, but I would bet even money that it is just as likely to drive the “community” away/against it as soon as it hits some semblance of “mainstream.” The only thing most people in the “open source scene” like less than MS is to not be “unique.”


RE: Competition
By Boze on 7/8/2009 12:37:21 PM , Rating: 2
I don't mean to sound like a jackass Suntan, but Google doesn't care about people who want to be "cool" by not using Microsoft (or Apple) operating systems. They don't care about people who think its "cool" to look through thousands of lines of code to figure out how the program is supposed to work properly on their setup because the thing didn't come with any documentation.

At the end of the day, Google cares about expanding its business and making more money. The desire to make all the world's information easily accessible, as was once stated by its founders, has likely fallen to the wayside a bit to make room for this new project.

The problem with any operating system nowadays is that Windows is the gold standard by which all others are judged, and every consumer who looks at a Google OS netbook is going to ask the following:

Can I print pictures of my annoying grandkids which I of course think are wonderful?
Can I "get online" and "do Internet" without having to read anything? (Reading is the mortal enemy of the average person, if you weren't aware... people don't want to have to think about things, or read manuals anymore, they want everything handed to them)
Can I play Solitaire? Does it make the neat swishing sound like it does on Windows??

Anytime I hear the words "lightweight" used in conjunction with computer operating systems, it makes me nervous. As far as I've been able to tell, "lightweight" is a synonym for "doesn't support 95% of the useful hardware and software out there."

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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