Today Google demonstrated an early version of its Chrome operating system at its Mountain View, California, headquarters. The new system, scheduled to release in about a year, is expected to challenge Microsoft’s Windows, which currently powers most personal computers.
While newsgroup subscribers the world over may very well be playing with the code, helping to mold the finished product, those who attended or watched the launch event remotely learned more about Google’s vision for the future of computing.
Google’s Chrome OS is a sort of a Web operating system that boots up a netbook in a fraction of the time it takes to start today’s existing computers, with Web applications loading in just a few more seconds. Taking the idea straight from the foundation of USENET, The Chrome OS is focused around “cloud computing”.
When you boot into Chrome OS, you are basically opening a browser window for running web apps. Unlike “normal” operating systems, you will not be able to install applications in the Chrome OS environment. Instead, it uses HTML5, for bringing an app like experience right within the browser – without the need for installing anything. The Chrome OS is nothing but a barebones, stripped down version of Linux that is fast and launches like a web browser.
Google’s much anticipated Chrome OS has quite some time to go till it is released to the masses. Google is initially pitching Chrome OS for netbooks but is also encouraging computer manufacturers to developing cheap dedicated Chrome machines. These machines will feature larger screens and keyboards than netbooks. Depending on its adaptation, Chrome could find its way to laptops and desktops.
One of the keys to Chrome OS’ success probably will be how much users can actually do with it, given that it won’t be using much of the software in common use now. Accessing USENET newsgroups, for instance, remains a mystery.
Developers who want a closer look at the project, however, will get their wish. Effective immediately, Google is releasing the Chrome OS code to the public under an open source license, along with the associated design documents.
While Google has not confirmed on any specific launch dates, the Chrome OS is largely expected to be released sometime in 2010. It will not be available as a download to run and install. Instead, Chrome OS is only shipping on specific hardware from manufacturers Google has partnered with. That means if you want Chrome OS, you’ll have to purchase a Chrome OS device.
Google is currently working with unnamed computer manufacturers to define specifications for these computers, which will include larger netbook-style computers with full-size keyboards, large trackpads and large displays.