Google has announced that it is to enter the operating system market with a product it is calling the Google Chrome Operating System.
Google Chrome OS will be an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year, the company will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010.
Google engineers Sundar Pichai and Linus Upson said that they are designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get users onto the web in a few seconds.
Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and the company is working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market that will use it. The software architecture is simple – it will comprise the Google Chrome browser running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.
Pichai and Upson said that the operating system has been developed as the result of feedback from customers who want to get to their e-mail instantly, without waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up – a clear swipe at the major vendor of operating systems currently widely used on personal computers.
The two engineers said that a lot of work still needs to be done and the company will provide more updates on the project in the autumn.