In a direct challenge to Microsoft, Google is expected to announce on Wednesday that it is developing an operating system for a personal computer based on its Chrome browser, according to two people briefed on Google’s plans.I've said it before, and I'll say it till I'm blue in the face: Microsoft better get their sh*t together. Seriously. After decades (uh, okay, 2 of em', but still) of using Windows, I figure the bottom is bound to fall out sooner or later. Chrome doesn't render AB.com to my personal taste, but it's faster than IE by leaps and bounds, and does not crash.
The details of the technology could not be learned, but Google plans to make the announcement on a company blog on Wednesday afternoon, this person said.
Google did not immediately return calls and e-mail messages seeking comment.
The move would sharpen the already intense competition between Google and Microsoft, whose Windows operating system controls the basic functions of the vast majority of personal computers.
Google has also long promoted a vision of computing in which applications delivered over the Web play an increasingly central role, replacing software programs that run on the desktop. In that world, applications run directly inside an Internet browser, rather than atop an operating system, the traditional software that controls most of the operations of a PC.
Last year, the company released the Chrome browser, which it described as a tool for users to interact with increasingly powerful Web programs, like Gmail, Google Docs and online applications created by other companies. Since then, Google has been adding capabilities to Chrome, like the ability to allow it to run applications even when a user is not connected to the Internet.
It is not clear how much work it would take for Google to turn Chrome into the central part of a full fledged operating system. But in a recent interview, Marc Andreessen, who developed the first commercial browser and co-founded Netscape, compared Chrome into an operating system
“Chrome is basically a modern operating system,” Mr. Andreessen said.
Whether this idea of a web-based operating system actually takes off remains to be seen. But considering how they've cornered the market on web searches (Bing is a joke), GPS systems (Google Maps is not a joke), blogging (uh, still not 100% happy with Blogger.com, but hey, it's free), and now the browser itself, I wouldn't bet against Google.
Question: Does the concept of a web-based O/S even seem plausible? What's Google going to takeover next?
Google Plans to Introduce a PC Operating System [NYTimes]