May 17 - 23, 2010

Google Chrome OS is an upcoming open source operating system designed by Google to work exclusively with web applications. Announced on July 7, 2009, Chrome OS is set to have a publicly available stable release during the second half of 2010.

The operating system is based on Linux and will run only on specifically designed hardware. The user interface takes a minimalist approach, resembling that of the Chrome web browser. A browser incorporating a media player will be the only application residing on the device. Google Chrome OS is aimed at users who spend most of their computer time on the internet.

Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We are 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 donít have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates.

Google developers began coding the operating system in 2009, inspired by the growing popularity and lower-power consumption of net books and the focus of these small laptops on internet access. To ascertain demand for an operating system focused on net book web transactions, the company eschewed the usual demographic research generally associated with a large software development project. Instead, engineers have relied on more informal metrics, including monitoring the usage patterns of some 200 Chrome OS machines used by Google employees.

Developers also noted their own usage patterns. Matthew Papakipos, engineering director for the Chrome OS project, put three machines in his house and found himself logging in for brief sessions to make a single search query or send a short email.

Google will integrate a media player into both Chrome OS and the Chrome browser enabling users to play back MP3s, view JPEGs, and handle other multimedia files while offline.

Google plans to create a service called Google Cloud Print, which will help any application on any device to print on any printer. This method of printing does not require any drivers and therefore will be suitable for printing from Google Chrome OS.

As with the Chrome browser, Google will integrate Adobe Flash into Chrome OS. The move will help differentiate devices running the operating system from Apple's iPad tablet.

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 donít 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.

On the surface, the announcement of a Google operating system seems to many like a shot at rival Microsoft, an attack at Microsoft's core business. But those who have been following Google's moves know that it's more than that it's an evolution in Google's long-term strategy.

The Old Model For years, the OS has used the desktop analogy with folders and files, all stored in a hard drive, and applications such as Word have run from the hard drive.

Google is moving everything online. The desktop model of computing the Microsoft era is coming to an end. It'll take a few years, but it will happen.

Finally, operating systems, trying to do everything, have become overstuffed and slow, taking up a lot of your computer's processing power, memory and storage.

The New Google's model is based on connectivity to the internet, a model that was unthinkable a decade ago and has only been really viable in the last few years as almost everyone has high-speed connections and wi-fi or mobile access.

Google has moved applications, and increasingly our files, to the web (or cloud). It started with Gmail's success a fast, powerful online email app that beats desktop email apps hands down. It expanded with a suite of simple web apps: Google Calendar, Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Reader, Picasa for photos, eventually YouTube for video, Blogger for writing for the web, and more.

These applications are lightweight but powerful. They aren't as feature rich as desktop applications, but here's what many critics don't understand in today's and tomorrow's computing world.