OMG! Google Launches OS: Welcome To The Thunder Chrome

In it's biggest deviation yet from is core mission statement of "managing the world's information," not to mention its most direct assault on Microsoft, Google late Tuesday officially announced its entry into the computer operating system market with new software based on its Chrome Web browser. The aptly named Chrome Operating System, was officially announced a 9:37 p.m. via a post on the Google Chrome blog, boasting that the new operating system would be "open source" and "lightweight" and would initially be targeted at streamlined netbook computers, but that it would release the system's open source code directly to consumers by 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," Sundar Pichai, vice president-product management and Linus Upson, engineering director at Google posted on the blog.

By going the open source path, Google's Chrome OS will be utilizing a similar approach that the Linux operating system used to build share vs. a dominant Microsoft and Apple.

The new Chrome OS also builds on Google's expansion into software, which began with a variety of applications, some like Google Docs, which also seemed aimed at Microsoft's sweet spot, with one big marketplace difference. They were all free.

In an equally symbolic move on Tuesday, Google also announced it was removing the "beta" label from such applications as Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Video For Business, and others. While basic versions of the applications are free, Google offers an Apps Premier Edition account for $50 per year per user that includes a suite of applications including email, instant messaging, documents and spreadsheets aimed at businesses.

Both the apps and the operating system launch appear to be aimed directly at Microsoft's chief rival in the world information organizing business, Microsoft, which coincidentally is making its most aggressive push yet into Google's core business of online search via its increasingly popular Bing search engine.

In other words, the two companies have just taken the gloves off, and are no longer simply circling each other around the ring. They are going at it.

In Google's operating system corner are the attributes of "speed, simplicity and security." Or at least, that's what the company's OS developers touted in their blog post, noting, "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 said the operating system will on both x86 as well as ARM chips and that it is working with multiple manufacturers to Chrome OS-based netbooks to market next year.

Importantly, Google said all of the applications it is developing will also work on Windows, Mac and Linus operating systems, and that the Chrome OS would remain separate and independent from Google's mobile operating system play, Android, which is designed to compete with Apple's iPhone, and other smart 3G phone offerings.

What remains unclear is what, if any advertising models will be integrated into any of Google's new software offerings, but most observers assume Google's goal is to develop critical mass in order to expand its advertising market share beyond search, and into new forms and models of advertising.

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