Google’s sharing more details of its planned Chrome operating system – and the early code as well, through the Chromium open source project it announced this morning.
The company said its OS will be ready for consumers a year from now and invited developers to help finish the project.
Google’s calling it a “fundamentally different model of computing” although it seems to share concepts with the thin client-network computer model that Silicon Valley floated a decade ago. Instead of hosting desktop applications, it’s a browser/portal to apps that are hosted on the network. From today’s official announcement:
First, it’s all about the web. All apps are web apps. The entire experience takes place within the browser and there are no conventional desktop applications. This means users do not have to deal with installing, managing and updating programs.
The explainer video:
Maybe it’s less like a direct assault on Microsoft’s PC franchise and more like an attempt to polish and Google up Linux for netbooks and mobile computing devices.
Google said the software won’t support PCs with hard drives and it’s aimed at netbooks and secondary computing devices, according to The Register’s report, which called it “essentially Google’s own Chrome browser running atop a Googlized Linux”:
Chrome OS will run on both x86 and ARM chips – though it only runs on x86 today – and Google is working with multiple partners on commercial devices, including Acer, Asus, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba. Google has very specific ideas on how these machines will be designed. As said, the OS does not support hard drives, and (VP Sundar) Pichai said there would be other hardware restrictions as well.
Sounds like a fundamentally different model of open-source computing.