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08 July 2009, 07:27

Google's second open source operating system announced

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Google plans operating system just for Chrome
Google has announced that it is working on an operating system built to run the Google Chrome web browser. Google Chrome OS will be aimed at x86 and ARM based netbooks initially and built with a simple, lightweight architecture based around a Linux kernel running a "new windowing system" which in turn runs a version of Google Chrome. Dubbing it "our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be", the company said that the new operating system should be shipped to consumers in the second half of 2010, but will be available as open source later this year.

The new operating system will "get you into the web in a few seconds" and have a minimal user interface, with most of the "user experience taking place on the web". Google Chrome OS will also have a "completely redesigned security architecture" which the company compared with the security work it did developing the Chrome browser itself; Chrome introduced a number of innovations in isolating web content into separate processes. It aspires to make the OS such that "users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates".

The company said the Google Chrome OS is a new project and not related to Android, Google's mobile phone operating system. According to the announcement, it envisages Android as addressing the needs of smaller devices such as phones and set top boxes and some netbooks, while Google Chrome OS aims to run on anything from netbooks to fully fledged desktop PCs.

Google sees the overlap between Android and Chrome OS as an opportunity to cross pollinate developments between both projects, though some observers suggest that planned Android based netbooks may take a back seat. The "new windowing system" will mean that there is yet another player in the complex Linux UI future, though Google's announcement suggests that they do not envisage the development of any native applications for the Chrome OS platform.


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