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Summary:

The netbook world has been peeping all around, waiting for Google Android to get dropped onto a netbook. Android was designed from the ground up to be a full-fledged OS to power everything from smartphones to netbooks. It has one failing in the netbook arena, though: […]

googlechromelogoThe netbook world has been peeping all around, waiting for Google Android to get dropped onto a netbook. Android was designed from the ground up to be a full-fledged OS to power everything from smartphones to netbooks. It has one failing in the netbook arena, though: It won’t run natively on x86 processors. Google isn’t concerned about that failing, and the Android netbook buzz has been merely the misdirection before Google slipped the ball under a different cup. Google has announced the Chrome OS, an open-source operating system designed for netbooks and desktops from the ground up. It has gotten very quiet in Redmond since the announcement.

Google intends for the Chrome OS to be used for getting netbooks onto the web and making web life better. The company has slyly pointed out that operating systems used today, a thinly veiled shot at Microsoft, were written long before the web existed. What could be better than to create a netbook OS designed around the web instead? That’s what Google Chrome OS is going to be, and why it’s the best alternative for netbooks. That’s what they are supposed to be used for, right?

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.

This shows clearly what Google is making with the Chrome OS — 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.

Google states that the Chrome OS will run on both x86 and ARM processors, which covers pretty much the entire netbook spectrum. Several OEMs are already hard at work to bring netbooks to market next year, according to Google. But what about Android? Is this going to replace it?  Nope, Google sees them as separate platforms:

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.

We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files. Even more importantly, they don’t want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates. And any time our users have a better computing experience, Google benefits as well by having happier users who are more likely to spend time on the Internet.

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  1. Let’s see….. an OS, based on Linux core that uses Webkit (which is the Crome engine) as a window manager and has apps written in HTML/css/JavaScript which work both online and offline? Sounds like webOS to me. Palm should sue somebody…. :)

  2. Android has been ported to x86. You can even download a livecd or get it running in vmware et al.

    1. James Kendrick Raj Wednesday, July 8, 2009

      Yes, there is a LiveCD port of Android but it’s not official and Google doesn’t admit it works, last I asked.

  3. Uh..I don’t use my netbook as a web appliance. If I can run the software I want to run on the Chrome OS I MIGHT consider it, but I doubt it.

    But it’s academic anyway, I don’t plan to ever buy another netbook anyway.

  4. Regardless of what they say, if it will work better on what we call today MIDs, or the smartphones of the future (over Moorstown) then it IS an Android replacement.

    Tal

    1. And I wonder how it would work on a V5 or X70

  5. way to go go Google, FURTHER segmenting your own already non-existent OS market.

    my guess? chrome as done relatively well but Android has not lived up to expectations in either functionality or popularity so they came up with this have baked idea at the last second to try & make inroads to Windows.

    truth is, this is just another dumbed-down simplified mobile OS. problem is, when people get in front of a real PC they want to have the full experience not a mobile experience. Windows is too advanced, too functional, too market saturated, for a mobile OS to try & take its place (they will deny thats their goal, but thats what losers always say after theyve lost).

    1. I bought a Google Android device (HTC MAgic) 2 days ago. It is pretty good.

  6. >This shows clearly what Google is making with the Chrome OS — 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.

    I don’t think this is an accurate characterization of what users should expect. A large part of what this is likely to do will certainly involve, “heavy lifting on the user’s netbook,” as much of any useful functionality and UI on Chrome OS is going to come from JavaScript, or other code, running directly on the client. The assertion that, “most of the user experience takes place on the web,” just means that users will be moslty limited in what they can do on Chrome OS to those things they can do through a browser.

  7. Giving it some more thought, this is not a Netbook OS. Maybe a Smartbook OS, but still when having a >9″ device you want a computer and not just a browser.

    For me there are desktops/laptops and smartphones.
    This could be the Android killer for the MID/smartphone space but nothing more. As the first commenter said – this is an advanced better webOS for stronger/next-gen MIDs/smartphones.

  8. An Instant-On OS. We have been waiting for this. And no worries about speed, viruses etc. This sounds too good to be true. Go Google Go.
    Hopefully, those arrogant folks in Redmond will just ignore this at their own peril…one day soon they wake up and wonder: where did all our windows users go ? ha ha
    So kewl, i must be dreaming.

  9. Ocean Feather Internet Marketing Wednesday, July 8, 2009

    There is no doubt that Google is the most popular search engine and the best place for internet advertisers. Gmail also become an instant hit. Creating an operating system is a tough job. Microsoft is also launching Windows 7 this year. Will Google Chrome give Microsoft a tough fight?

  10. Ashwin, India Thursday, July 9, 2009

    I dont care much for the skeptics. All over the blogosphere i saw more all out skeptics than optimistic folks. I am extremely excited. For 15 years we have experienced only 1 company tell us what an OS should be. Perhaps this new entrant will have a fresh new look at the OS concept. If its google I am sure they have some brains. Dont write off before you see it.
    I sure am looking fwd to mid-2010, and yes I will most probably buy a netbook with it.

    1. Not everyone is a skeptic. You had to know I’d be on board with the Chrome OS since I lived in a browser for 30 days last year. Here’s my oddsmaking on the netbook OS war: http://gigaom.com/2009/07/08/netbook-os-oddsmaking-who-will-win-the-war/ ;)

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