Google sent massive waves through the web earlier today as it announced the Google Chrome Operating System. The OS will be based off the three tenets Google used while building the Chrome browser:
To that effect, many applications that are traditionally bundled with an operating system, such as word processing, e-mail, music player, calendar, and so on will likely instead point to Google’s web apps. As our good friend Tyler Balliet points out, many people have already made the switch to using web applications for the majority of their computing needs.
Linux for the Masses?
The OS will be Linux based and open-source, which will allow anyone to tweak the code. Google is aiming to provide as basic a system as possible and will likely look to independent developers to add features.
We’re 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.
Sounds great! There are tons of computer users who fire up their operating systems purely to access their email and browse the web, so an OS designed with the web as its primary focus will be a great fit for a large percentage of the market. Ben Parr of Mashable is already wondering whether Google Chrome will kill Windows.
While it’s doubtful Chrome will wipe Windows off the planet, it’s highly likely that a large number of users will make the switch. Google is targeting netbooks right now as ideal candidates for the OS, and expect to have netbooks shipping with the OS installed by default next year. Personally, anything we can do to reduce the market share of Internet Explorer, the one major browser that rarely follows web standards, the better.
Linux evangelists have been touting that one day Linux will take over the mainstream desktop, and with Ubuntu and Google’s Chrome that day may finally be approaching. Chris Lang makes a great point that Ubuntu is already fast, so optimizing the OS to use the web as much as possible will only make boot times that much faster. With less bloat, you’ll be up and running in no time.
Now is a great time to also get started with Google Friend Connect, if you’ve yet to do so, as it’ll likely be the social communications backbone of the Chrome OS. Instead of Instant Messaging, e-mail, twitter et all, the Chrome OS will likely utilize Google Wave as a one stop communication portal.