This morning Google announced that they were in the process of developing a brand-new open source operating system. The appropriately-named Google Chrome OS is billed as being a totally new type of operating system, built specifically for people who spend a lot of time on the Internet.
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We've heard rumors of a Google operating system for a very long time, but I think most of us discounted them after the launch of the Android OS. At the outset it doesn't seem very sensible of Google to create a brand new OS when their first one is still taking its baby steps. Is Chrome OS a sign of a lack of faith in Android?
As it turns out, no. While it looks a bit odd now, Google's actions are a result of them having a very different idea from the rest of us as to what an OS should be. Google isn't trying to 'kill' Android any more than they are trying to 'kill' Windows or Linux or Snow Leopard. Chrome OS is going to be based around its Internet browser, and the primary focus of the developer team is to allow fast, instant access to the Internet for its users.
In short, Chrome is going to be a Netbook/MID OS. Specifically, it's made for people who use their netbooks primarily just to browse the Internet. If you're the kind of person who uses your netbook as a functional workhorse, you'll probably still want to run a more traditional OS like Windows 7 or Android.
“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.”
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Chrome OS is not going to take off on laptops or desktops, but I can see it being extremely successful on simpler devices with a more limited function. People don't just browse the Internet through their desktop anymore, they have a wide variety of multimedia gadgets to stay connected with. Different gadgets and different needs call for different operating systems. With the Chrome OS, Google is betting on the increasing diversity of the tech world, and that's a bet I think they are going to win.