Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Google Introduces New Chrome PC Operating System

When Google introduced its Chrome Web browser just nine months ago, some experts wondered if it was the first step in the company coming out with its own PC operating system. Now, Google has done just that: on the night of July 7th the company issued a press release introducing its Google Chrome operating system.

The release calls the Chrome OS an extension of the Chrome Web browser. "It's our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be," the company said. Google described the new product as an "open source, lightweight operating system" that would initially be targeted to run in netbooks, the inexpensive, often bare-bones laptops that have taken the PC market by storm in the last year or so.

Google stressed that the Chrome OS is separate from Android, the mobile phone platform that runs on the G1 smartphone. Chrome is said to be based on the principle of "the Web is the platform." So it should eventually be able to run on PCs, Macs, etc. Google says the Chrome OS is built on top of Linux (the OS that is often used on many of today's netbooks, either as a primary OS or as an alternative to Windows).

And it said that it was rethinking the security underpinnings of the operating system, so that "users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates."

The Chrome OS will be available to consumers in the second half of 2010, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Coming just nine months after the introduction of the Chrome broswer, the Chrome OS is an ambitious new offering from Google that adds a new wrinkle to the operating system choices that computer users have. It will be interesting to see if, since it supposedly uses the Web as a platform, it can be made to run on Mac and other platforms easily.

The odd thing is, why did Google choose to issue its press release at 9:30 p.m. West Coast time (12:30 a.m. in the East)?

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