With Chrome launched less than a year ago, and brought out of BETA a few short months after its release, it has quickly (though not surprisingly) risen to take over nearly 2% of the browser market share. It may not sound like much, but that translates into an estimated 30 million users, and with Microsoft and Mozilla’s stranglehold in the market, it is a tough gig to get in on.
More recently, consumer began to see Google’s ambious new, lightweight mobile operating system, – Android – featured on popular HTC phones, along with the annoucement that more than two dozen phones with the open source OS would appear within the next year.
Now, dubbed as a “natural extension” of the Chrome Internet browser, Google has announced that it intends to develop a new operating system, styled around Chrome and based on Linux code.
Google’s VP of Product Management, Sundar Pichai, released the announcement on the official Google Blog this morning, describing the Chrome OS as “an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks”.
“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.”
Strangely, this sounds strikingly familiar to the market that Android was initially intended for (aside from the mobile factor) . A few netbook companies, such as Acer and Dell have already announced plans to feature Android on upcoming versions of their Netbooks . However, the blog post was clear in stating that the Chrome OS will be entirely separate projects and intended for a different purpose.
“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. “
As it did with the Chrome browser, Google is taking note of where consumers feel let down by current operating system offerings, “We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better”. Without pointing fingers at any product in particular, Pichai makes a few notes of the downfall’s of present day operating systems, citing them as slow, unable to keep up with current user’s demands for speed and accessibility, as well as being incredibly confusing and requiring constant maintenance; Something he claims, the Chrome operating system will alleviate.
Clearly, this is one of the last frontiers for Google to round out its complete suite. With GMail, Google Docs, and its other apps dropping the BETA tag earlier this week, a simple lightweight OS that binds them all together directly on a users desktop, is the filling that makes the pie a pie.
Google will likely be utilizing its cloud computing technology in order to bake the recipe, alluding to the fact that all information will be stored online and” be accessible to wherever [you] are and not have to worry about losing [your] computer or forgetting to back up files”.
Google intends to open the project for preliminary testing earlier this year, and hopes to have it ready for public debut in 2010. Check out the full blog for more details