Google Announces Open Source Operating System
Expect this to be pretty much the only technology news you hear all day: Google is building an open source operating system. Bearing the same name as Google's browser, Chrome is a lightweight OS aimed squarely at netbooks and expected to be available by mid-2010.
Google is quick to point out that Chrome OS is a completely seperate undertaking from its operating system for mobile devices, Android. Chrome OS is designed for people who live on the Web and rely mainly on Web-based applications, whether they use netbooks or full-size desktop PCs. Google says it's already "talking to partners about the project" and plans to open the code later this year.
"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."
It's difficicult to deny the impact the Chrome OS project will have on . With so much computer activity taking place in the cloud, consumers aren't always looking for PCs filled with dozens of robust apps. Now the focus is shifting toward fast computers that get users up and running on the Web in the shortest time possible. The recent avalanche of netbooks hitting the market means lightweight operating systems are more necessary than ever.
Chrome OS is an excellent opportunity for Google to catch the next wave of consumer technology. Since the clamor for netbooks isn't likely to quiet down any time soon, this is also a terrific way for open source software to find its way into mainstream use.
For more on Chrome OS, GigaOm has a good piece on what it means for the future, JKOnTheRun discusses how it makes sense for Google to deliver an OS that isn't Android for netbooks and what Microsoft's reaction may be, and The Apple Blog discusses how Chrome OS may affect Apple.