"It's our attempt to rethink what operating systems should be," wrote Google's Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management, and Linus Upson, engineering director, on the company's official blog. Google will make the open-source code available later this year and it will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010, according to Google.
"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," wrote Pichai and Upson on the blog. "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 don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work."
Google launched the Chrome browser about nine months ago and more than 30 million people use it regularly, according to Google. "We designed Google Chrome for people who live on the Web — searching for information, checking e-mail, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends. However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no Web," wrote Pichai and Upson.
Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 and ARM chips, and Google said it is already talking to hardware partners to include the OS in netbooks. The OS will run on top of a Linux kernel and Web-based applications can be written "using your favorite Web technologies," wrote Pichai and Upson.
The applications should run on Google Chrome OS, but also on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux, according to Google.
Google Chrome OS is a separate project from its Android OS for mobile devices, according to Google.
"While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google," wrote the Google pair. "We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better. People want to get to their e-mail 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 don't 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.
"We have a lot of work to do, and we're definitely going to need a lot of help from the open-source community to accomplish this vision. We're excited for what's to come and we hope you are too," the pair concluded.
Google expects to provide more Chrome OS updates in the fall.