Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and 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.
Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.
Google dropped a major bombshell earlier this evening: they’re launching their own operating system, known as Google Chrome OS. The new operating system will be lightweight, is based off its Chrome browser, and is clearly Google’s challenge to Microsoft’s longstanding domination of the OS market.
While we’re still trying to catch our breath over the announcement, we can’t say we’re particularly surprised – the rumors have been bubbling for a long time now and projects like Android() show Google() has had an interest in this arena. But the Google OS leaves a lot of questions to be answered. How will it differ from Windows? How will it work? And most of all, can Google actually do what many consider impossible: beat Microsoft on its home turf?
This paragraph from Google’s announcement helps clarify what Google is building into this operating system:
“Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. 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.”
Essentially, Google Chrome OS aims to solve problems associated with Windows, primarily that it’s a bloated operating system that isn’t built for a computing world based on the web. To do this, Google Chrome will run within a windowing system on top of a Linux() kernel. This means that web applications will work immediately on this operating system.
Google has always been known for its minimalist interfaces, its lightweight products, its web savvy, and the sheer speed of its products. It intends to take its vast knowledge and strengths and port them over into the OS market.
Questions to Answer
The reality is this: we know almost nothing about Google Chrome OS. The announcement is hot out of the oven, which leaves us with a lot of questions. Here’s what we hope to answer in the next few days or weeks:
Is it free? – Microsoft Windows can cost hundreds of dollars for the premier versions, which brings up the cost of new PCs. Since Google OS is open-source, it’s almost certain to be free, although Google has not explicitly stated anything of the sort. Could Google charge for specific features or extensions? Nobody really knows.
Will Google OS have advertising? – If they decide to provide this OS for free, they will almost certainly monetize it with ads. With Google’s expertise in web advertising, they may be able to utilize non-intrusive advertising to create a new revenue stream. Imagine browsing your music files and having ads for John Mayer downloads on the side.
What kind of support will it offer to desktop apps? – It’s based on Google Chrome, a browser. But can it run Microsoft Word and Photoshop?
Will it be extendable by 3rd party developers? – Will there be a developer platform for Chrome OS, not unlike the ones offered for many other Google products? The fact that it’s open source makes us think this is a possibility.
How will it interact with current hardware? – Could I wipe my current computer’s hard drive and run it on Chrome OS? What kind of driver support will it have?
There are lots of other issues to address too, but clearly this is only the beginning of a long story that poses a lot of questions.
Can Google Beat Microsoft?
While there are a lot of questions we want answers to, one matters the most: Can Google OS take on Windows? Any OS that wants to manage desktop computers clearly competes with Windows. So far, nobody has been able to make major inroads (although Apple recently achieved 10 percent market share) in a space that Microsoft has dominated for years.
Yet Google has been the one company to present a serious challenge to Microsoft to-date, especially on the Web. Microsoft’s attempts to compete with Google in search have been fruitless overall. And while we don’t know how Bing() will do, few people believe it will ultimately change the fact that Google is synonymous to search, just as Windows is synonymous to the OS.
We’ve said time and time again that competition is a good thing, and Microsoft hasn’t faced serious competition in the OS market in a long, long time. The question is whether or not Google Chrome OS will squash or be squashed by Windows.
To Read More FAQ on the Google Chrome Blog.