Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Announcing the Google Chrome OS: Google Fires Latest Salvo At Microsoft

Link: Introducing the Google Chrome OS (source: Official Google Blog)

Google drops a bombshell within the past hour when it publicly announces what everyone has been whispering about for months: the existence of Google Chrome OS. Taking a clear aim at Microsoft, Google throws down the gauntlet:
However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web. So today, we're announcing a new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It's our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.
So what exactly is this new Google Chrome OS? For starters, it is a different and separate project from Android:
Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. 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. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.
We also know that it will be an open source and webcentric OS, targeted primarily at netbooks and based on a Linux kernel. More tantalizing though is the announcement that netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be released in the second half of 2010:
Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. 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. Because we're already talking to partners about the project, and we'll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.
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. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps 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.
Taking a clear potshot at Microsoft, Google outlines what a good OS ought to be:
We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better. 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. And any time our users have a better computing experience, Google benefits as well by having happier users who are more likely to spend time on the Internet.
Microsoft clearly has a serious challenger to its plan to introduce Windows 7 for netbooks. If Google is able to achieve all or most of the benchmarks that it sets out in its press release, then Google Chrome OS would clearly run rings around Microsoft Windows 7 for netbooks.
Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. 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.
By entering into the fray at this stage, Google is making clear its intention to challenge Microsoft head-on in Microsoft's turf, i.e., the OS. Microsoft is clearly in serious trouble. Its clumsy and cumbersome Windows Mobile for smartphones is no match for the iPhone's simplicity and elegance or the versatility of Google's own Android OS for smartphones. Clearly, Google hopes to do for netbook OS what both it and Apple have done for the smartphone OS.

Microsoft is clearly under seige. Outside its fortress are newcomers seeking to challenge its hitherto unchallenged dominance in OS in netbooks: Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Moblin Linux, LXDE, and now Google Chrome OS.

Today the netbook. Tomorrow, the notebook and desktop PC?

Let the OS wars begin!

See my other blog postings on Google Chrome OS.

Link: Introducing the Google Chrome OS (source: Official Google Blog)

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