Really not much of a surprise given the direction that Google’s development team has been going over the last year or two, especially with the release of Google Chrome, their slick Web browser, but check it out, Google just announced Google Chrome OS.
The company describes it thusly:
“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.”
Can you run it on your laptop? Possibly. They say “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.”
If you’ve been paying attention, Google now has Google Docs (including a Word, PowerPoint and Excel competitor), Gmail (an Outlook competitor), Google Talk (competing with MSN Instant Messaging), Google Calendar, Picasa, Google Maps, and, soon enough, Google Drive (which hasn’t yet been released, but now we know why, I surmise). Oh, and today, Google also announced that most of these have come out of beta. Coincidence? I don’t think so. (and there’s more too. Check out the full list of Google apps and Web-based services)
And don’t forget the significance of Google Gears, which lets you run many of the core Web-based applications while you’re offline. Want to work on a document, fine tune a presentation and respond to a half-dozen email messages while on a flight to NYC? Not a problem.
Now the question is… when will it be available for download? I have an Asus Netbook that’s just begging for a new operating system.
By the way, if I were at Microsoft, I’d be getting very, very anxious.
Do the numbers: there are thirty million active Google Chrome web browser users. If that’s 85% Windows users and 20% are willing to take the jump and try Chrome OS, that’s 5.1 million users, computer users who aren’t therefore using and buying new versions of Microsoft Windows…