Google Chrome OS for PCs: Look Out Windows and OS X

It’s coming in the second half of 2010. Google is working on new software named Google Chrome OS, which will offer a cloud-based, OS experience around the browser.

Google says the OS is open source and lightweight, allowing users super quick access to the web. They claim the OS will be virus free (the security architecture is entirely new), and run a newly-designed windowing system on top of a Linux kernel that will be compatible with x86 and ARM processors alike. Though they were quick to mention this was separate from Android, they also conceded there would be some overlap in concept and functionality between the two platforms.

While the discussion of specific apps (and how they will work) was vague, Google made reference to a developer ecosystem that will be heavily web-based, and apps would be compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux (obviously). In a nutshell, it looks like Google Chrome OS is about simplicity, speed, safety, and cloud computing.

The announcement of Google Chrome OS is a big step forward for a company who slowly and subtly wedged their way into web app development. Google says that Chrome OS is intended for “power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems.” So what does this mean for Google, and more importantly, what does this mean for Microsoft and Apple?

Google has primed themselves to take a big chunk out of the mainstream computing market. That’s not to say that you will be exclusively using Chrome OS, but with the internet becoming more and more accessible from ANYWHERE, our parents, grandparents and technophobic siblings probably will be converts. Most of them are already familiar with Google as a brand, and frustrated in trying to learn the intricacies of current operating systems.

And even for those of us who consider ourselves technologically advanced, how much of the desktop experience have Google’s web apps already replaced? We’ll still have our main computers, but what will be running on our netbooks or old laptops that sit in the living room?

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