Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
Google is getting into the operating system business (again) with Google Chrome OS. Palm put WebKit at the heart of a device with webOS, the Crunchpad talked about it for the netbook, and there have long been desktop-boot-to-browser devices out there.
Google Chrome OS goes deeper:
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.
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.
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 is interesting that Google pre-announced this so far in advance. Google is very different from other companies, that normally hold back for a release. They instead come out and tell you what they are doing (sometimes) and promise to open source it :)
This is great news for Web developers of course. The Web as a platform continues to push outwards, and we can use our skills to reach more and more folks out there.
There is a reason that we won’t see the fruit of this labour for awhile though, and that is because there is a ton of work to be done. I am excited to see us all come together to push the Open Web platform further and get to a point where it can do everything we need to create compelling user experiences!
Some will say that Android and Chrome OS are totally different beasts, but Jim Pick does have a point:
Google now has two competing open source in-house Linux-based operating systems with Webkit browsers. This won’t end well.
Posted by Dion Almaer at 12:14 am