July 8, 2009

Google Announces Plans For Its Own OS

Google on Tuesday announced plans to release its own operating system as an extension of its Google Chrome Web browser.

"It's our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be," Google said on its blog late Tuesday.

The company said netbooks featuring the open source Google Chrome Operating System would be available to consumers during the second half of 2010. Google plans to release the open source code later this year.

Chrome OS is being designed to be lightweight and fast. Google noted that current operating systems that browsers run on were developed in "an era where there was no Web."

"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 said the Chrome OS project is completely separate from its Android open source operating system for smartphones. However, "While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google."

The company said the move was an effort to respond to comments from customers that say "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," Google said in the blog.

"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."

Analysts see Google's plan as a move to threaten Microsoft's market share.

"It's been part of their culture to go after and remove Microsoft as a major holder of technology, and this is part of their strategy to do it," Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group told Reuters. "This could be very disruptive. If they can execute, Microsoft is vulnerable to an attack like this, and they know it."

Google did not comment on how much it plans to charge customers to use the new OS, but Enderle said they will most likely offer it for a "nominal fee or make it free."


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