The new Google Chrome Operating System, which the search-engine giant is initially targeting for use in netbooks, is drawing reaction from all over the Web.
“Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS,” vice president of product management Sundar Pichai and engineering director Linus Upson wrote on a company blog. “We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the Web in a few seconds.”
The two Google executives added that the software will be released online later this year under an open-source license, which will allow outside programmers to modify it, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available in the second half of 2010.
GigaOM delved into the technical aspects of Google Chrome OS, calling it “an ad platform that extends across all devices and all screens” and saying it will run on both ARM and x86-based chips. According to GigaOM, the architecture is Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.
GigaOM adds, “Launching a browser is one thing (and so far, Chrome has received mixed reviews) and building an OS is another, and right now this is an announcement, not a product.”
The New York Times sees Google Chrome OS as a way for Google to take on Microsoft, saying, “The move is likely to sharpen the already intense competition between Google and Microsoft, whose Windows operating system controls the basic functions of the vast majority of personal computers.”
Other takes on Google Chrome OS, compiled by GigaOM:
A web, or cloud, OS that puts the bulk of all user activity firmly up in the web. No heavy lifting on the user’s netbook; that will all take place up in the cloud with the Chrome OS handling it all. This is so clever on Google’s part, and could very well turn the next page on cloud computing.
With this, Google can obviously put its own Web apps like Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs at the center of the user experience, and this is surely part of Google’s motivation behind releasing this OS.
To say the Chrome OS will face stiff competition is quite an understatement, with Intel developing its own lightweight, Linux-based netbook platform, Windows XP emerging as a force in netbook OS share, and Microsoft itself likely to fight tooth and nail to keep yet another upstart from encroaching on the one area of PC sales that is still seeing significant growth.