Google To Launch Free PC Operating System Next Year

Tired of Windows, don’t like fine-tuning Ubuntu, can’t afford buying into the Apple ecosystem? Google has just announced they’re releasing an open source computer operating system called Chrome OS next year.

As you can guess by the name, it’s going to rely heavily on the browser as the starting point for most functionality. It’ll be about a year before netbooks with the OS are available, but hopefully the cheap (free?) cost of adding it to netbooks will mean lower prices, or possibly better specs, when it comes out.

“Google Announces PC Operating System to Compete with Windows” [Wired]
“Introducing Google Chrome OS” [Google Blog]
(Photo: EverJean)

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  1. Brian James Schend says:

    This is WARRRRR!!!!!!!!!11!!!!

  2. Blinden says:

    Hope it’s better then the chrome browser.

    I wanted it to be good, I really did.

    • Moosehawk says:

      @Blinden: /agree

      • Brian James Schend says:

        @Moosehawk: But was Chrome really worse than M$ Exploiter?

        That would kinda suggest that the new OS will be better than Winblows.

        • twophrasebark says:

          Chrome is fast.

          And light.

          I like it.

          • Underpants Gnome says:

            @twophrasebark: Me too. I liked firefox, but it was just an absolute resource hog. Chrome is much more lightweight and significantly faster.

          • TechnoDestructo says:

            @twophrasebark:

            I like that it take less screen space for menus and tabs and such. Great on a netbook.

            • ScottRose says:

              I’ve primarily been using Chrome for over a month now.

              It’s fast, but right now I have ~890Mb in memory being used by Chrome (yes, many windows and tabs), so it’s no lighter than FF for me.

              I still need to switch to FF for some sites with more complicated scripting, and I like FF’s native JS error console a whole lot more for developing.

        • Moosehawk says:

          @Brian James Schend: No, it’s not worse than iexplorer. During IE6 days, I put explorer at the bottom because of blatant security flaws. When IE7 came out, I considered it a whole ‘nother browser and actually would put that below IE6 because security flaws still exist, but usability sucks now. As far as I’m concerned the only good thing that came with IE7 was tabbed browsing.

          Firefox > Safari > Opera > Chrome > IE6 > IE7

          • ktetch says:

            @Moosehawk: Oh boy…
            ” When IE7 came out, I considered it a whole ‘nother browser and actually would put that below IE6 because security flaws still exist, but usability sucks now. As far as I’m concerned the only good thing that came with IE7 was tabbed browsing.”
            a) you could get tabbed browsing in IE6.
            b) you do realise which browser has had the MOST security flaws over the past 2 years. I’ll give you a hint, it spends tens of millions of dollars every year in advertising saying how ‘secure’ it is. Yep, you guessed it – Firefox.

            Over the past two years, Firefox has had more than 200 exploits. That’s more than opera and IE combined. Let’s not even go into the instabilities, the absurdly heavy system usage, or the fact that last year, it took over 5 months for mozilla to notice one of the plugins it was distributing, had a trojan.

            Firefox is the high school cheerleader of browsers. It’s popular, because it’s cool, even though we all really know there’s no good reason for the popularity.

            What’s worse, they’re on version 3.5, and haven’t yet come up with their first innovation. That’s just pathetic.

        • chatterboxwriting says:

          @Brian James Schend: I had nothing but problems with Chrome constantly crashing. I did find that it was worse than IE.

        • Corporate_guy says:

          @Brian James Schend: “That would kinda suggest that the new OS will be better than Winblows.”

          If they did that, the market is there’s. But it seems like it’s a stripped down version of linux that pretty much is setup to let you run google chrome. So the focus is that everything you do is through the web browser. So no, it will not be better than windows. And it’s definitely not going to encourage faster hardware. It’s a one app OS.

    • audacity.ss says:

      @Blinden: I liked Chrome. Admittedly, I miss the addons from Firefox, Chrome runs so much more smoothly and efficiently… and I definitely prefer the minimalist Chrome interface from the Firefox one (which is at least twice as wide).

    • INsano says:

      @Blinden: I came from using the hog of a browser IE, and I don’t know what version of Chrome you guys have, but it’s fast, light and I’ve not had it crash once. Even if it did crash, the tabs are separate system processes so you would only need to close the tab that is having a problem. It’s the cleanest(read asthetic) and fastest web browsing experience I’ve had, though to be fair I’ve not used Safari and heard it’s good.

      • KyleOrton says:

        @INsano: I wanted to like it too, but it couldn’t handle some pages and scripts that I used frequently and did crash quite a bit. Back to Firefox for me.

      • pdj79 says:

        @INsano: Chrome is fast because there’s nothing much to it and because it’s new. Give it a few version numbers and it’ll get the creeps as well. I like the extensions of Firefox but hated the bloat on my resources. I installed Chrome because of it’s “each tab is separate process” and the minimalist approach to the browser, but soon found myself missing the reliable plug-ins and extensibility of Firefox. Also, I am a power-user and its not uncommon to see 10+ tabs open in my browser. With Firefox, this was never an issue. Chrome, however, absolutely vomits when this happens. Suddenly I find my CPU is at 100% usage and Task Manager lists close to 600MB of RAM being eaten up by Chrome in all its processes. Firefox 3.5 can handle the same tasks with under 200MB in total usage under one process. I’m just saying, it might be fast on the rendering and low-bloat quotient, but it’s got a long way to go in handling a user like me.

        • Radi0logy says:

          @pdj79: Lol someone is doing it wrong….

          <—- 10+ tabs at all times in Chrome, super fast on my P.O.S. work pc with a celeron and 512mb ram

    • takes_so_little says:

      @Blinden: Wow, surprised to see this. I love Chrome, works great and nothin fancy.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    Call me old fashioned, but I don’t like the idea of an operating system that does not crash on schedule, does not attract viruses like a magnet and does not need to be upgraded every year when the “new” and “improved” version comes out.

    No sir, I don’t like it at all.

    • GuinevereRucker says:

      @Blueskylaw: Hehe!

      I can dual boot into Winbloze when I need to, but otherwise I don’t touch the thing. Of course, being an IT kinda guy Windoze does keep me gainfully employed.

    • woogychuck says:

      @Blueskylaw:

      Huh, what are you running then? OSX has an expensive new version almost every year, most Linux builds have 3-6 new versions a year and Windows usually has a service pack every year?

      Either you’re using some magical new OS, or your implying that only Windows needs updates.

      • sinfonian94 says:

        @woogychuck: Hmmmm… $129 for Mac OSX Leopard or $320 for Windows 7 Ultimate (as OSX doesn’t have stripped down crappy versions). Wow, the Mac Os is soooooo much more expensive.

    • ckaught78 says:

      @Blueskylaw:

      When OSX has 90%+ market share, lets see how many virus’s they get.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @ckaught78: Sorta spit that one out by reflex, huh?
        (sotto voice:) Read the title of this article again, s-l-o-w-l-y this time. I don’t think BlueSky’s talking about OSX. But thanks for playing!

        • AdviceDog says:

          @Trai_Dep: So which OS are we not bringing into the OS discussion again?

          Where’s the memo that says we can’t compare two commercial products again? I keep on missing these! D:

      • GuinevereRucker says:

        @ckaught78: Until that point, I’m not worried about viruses at all :)

      • sinfonian94 says:

        @ckaught78: When Windows ships new OS’s with all ports closed instead of open, and has better password protection, and separates root access from being accessed by any old virus….. then we’ll see how many less viruses Windows has.
        BTW, market share has nothing to do with OSX’s security. It has to do with good design.

    • scoosdad says:

      @Blueskylaw: “Upgraded once a year…”

      Only once a year? Try “once a week”, usually on Tuesdays. More frequently if the badguys have been busy.

  4. temporaryerror says:

    I wonder if it will use cloud based apps…

    • Daniel Neeland says:

      @temporaryerror:
      Yes it will. For those of you old enough to remember, this revert back to the days of main-frame computing. Once loaded your computer becomes, in essence, a dumb terminal with all applications on a remote server. If the inter-webs go down, you are left with a box that has limited functionality. I’m no fan of windows, but this does not seen like the answer to me

    • rockasocky says:

      @temporaryerror: So the apps will take place in the SKY??? [www.penny-arcade.com]

  5. twophrasebark says:

    When is Google going to start giving out the free computers?

    And cellphones?

    Waiting….

  6. shepd says:

    But, but, but–LINUX IS TOO HARD!

    (And it’s a cancer on software, etc, etc)

  7. Saboth says:

    So exactly what do people do with these Ubuntus and Google OS systems? I suppose they spend half their time getting software to actually work on them? I know they aren’t gaming on them, or if they are, they have to run through emulators like WINE, etc. I just don’t see the huge advantage here. “Oh hey, I paid $0 for this OS, and I don’t support “the man! I am all set to…umm… email, browse the web and use this archaic spreadsheet someone made for free. Weeee!” I’m not MS fanboy, but I do appreciate having something that works with a wide array of applications with the least amount of effort possible.

    • mtarget says:

      Try PuppyOS. Runs off a CD, loads into ram. 100 megs gets you the OS, Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Mail, SeaMonkey Browser, etc. Runs fast, was easy to configure. I use it on an old laptop when we travel. @Saboth:

    • dwarf74 says:

      @Saboth: This OS won’t really be for desktops, at release. It will mostly be for netbooks, low-end laptops, and some enterprise applications, as far as I can tell.

      If you’re a PC gamer, you’ll still want either Vista or Windows 7.

    • MostlyHarmless says:

      @Saboth:
      I know you are being a troll, but I will bite…

      Maybe because most people dont buy computers to play WoW and Half Life on them?

      Open Office is a well supported mature product that gets stuff done. And it is neither buggy nor bloated.

      I have a windows machine and an Ubuntu machine, and the Ubuntu machine does everything that my windows machine can, except play Age of Empires.

      One thing I loved about Ubuntu is that how everything worked out of the box. Best thing: I did not have to fire up IE to get firefox. It was already there. As were the mail clients, and IM clients, and IRC clients.
      I’d have spent an hour with windows just getting those and clicking through install screens.

      Installing new software is four words worth of work: “sudo apt-get install “. And those repositories are large enough that you rarely ever have to look outside those.

      And with todays computing activities being heavily net-centric, it pays to have a secure system thats not a magnet for viruses and works out of the box.

      Oh and it plays my DVDs too.

      And even if you only have one machine, you can always dual boot it.

      And as for the Google OS… way to diss something without even knowing what it will be like or what it will do.

      • pattiesmart says:

        @MostlyHarmless: “I know you are being a troll, but I will bite…”

        Um, I don’t think you know what “troll” means. Asking a well thought-out question isn’t trolling.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        @MostlyHarmless: It’s not trolling to say that Ubuntu and other Linux products are difficult to work with. Ubuntu sure didn’t work out of the box on my notebook. I’m quite knowledgeable, and after two days of searching online forums fruitlessly (on my Windows computer) looking for patches and tweaks for the wireless card on my computer, I gave up.

        • MostlyHarmless says:

          @ChuckECheese: Its not trolling to say it per se. But the way he put it was just that.

        • shadowkahn says:

          @ChuckECheese:

          Partially agreed. I haven’t used Ubuntu since Feisty Fawn (or whatever the hell they call it. Quit with the cute little animal names already). I was pretty impressed with how far its come, but it needs to come a lot farther to challenge Windows. Long gone are the days when computer users were willing to sit there for hours tweaking everything to make it work right. That went out after Windows 3.11. Now, they want computers to be turnkey “it just works” machines.

          No, Windows doesn’t deliver that, but it comes a whole lot closer than Ubuntu does. And that’s really no surprise. Windows has been in development since Microsoft stole it from Xerox in the 1980’s. Windows has a multi-trillion dollar megacorporation throwing its resources behind it. Ubuntu has neither of these significant advantages, and so it’s to be expected that the OS would take a bit more time to be ready for mainstream use.

          That said, with Ubuntu, and now with this announcement from Google, were I in charge of Microsoft I’d be getting pretty nervous, not about tomorrow, but about 5-10 years from now (which in the lifecycle of operating systems really isn’t that long. I know plenty of people still using Windows 2000). And I’d start working very hard at making nice with all the people the company has pissed off for the last 30 years, because it’s not terribly much longer before viable alternatives are going to be out there, and making titlebars transparent isn’t going to be “modern” enough to make people want to pay $300 for the privilege of using Microsoft’s OS, especially when the OS’s (including 7) still have significant problems, and when they’re well known for reporting all sorts of private data back to Microsoft.

          • shadowkahn says:

            @shadowkahn:

            (Hey MS – maybe a free copy of 7 to those of us who are burdened with Vista paperweights might go a long way toward making us feel a bit less hostile toward your company)

      • Burzmali says:

        @MostlyHarmless: Most computers aren’t purchased with the express desire to run games on them, no. However, I would challenge you to find me an end-user computer (i.e. desktop, laptop, netbook) that has never, ever had a game running on it at some point. You singled out WoW and Half Life, sure, but your statement seemed to imply that you meant games in general. Correct me if I’m misunderstanding you.

        Anyway, my point is that the majority of PC buyers (probably only around 55%, but that’s a majority) don’t say “I want this computer so I can play games.” However, I would bet a lot of money that 75% or more try to play a game on that same computer within a month of owning it. If you want to play a game that didn’t come with the OS, and isn’t Flash or Java based, you’d better be running Windows. Otherwise, if the game wasn’t specifically coded for Linux, you’re going to have a very difficult time getting it to run correctly on anything else. That’s especially true if your Linux drivers weren’t provided by the manufacturer.

        • MostlyHarmless says:

          @Burzmali:

          Fact 1: The Google OS is going to be on Netbooks. Even with windows, it takes a fair amount of bad reasoning to want to play a game like HL on those things.

          Most people I know (20s, with jobs) hardly ever play games, and the ones they play tend to be card games that come with OS, or flash games.

          If I want to play games, it is going to be on my PS2/PS3/360/Wii/PSP/DS/DSi

          You said you’d bet a lot of money that 75% try to play a game on it. And from your next sentence, I assume you mean games that dont come with OS and those that arent flash and java based.

          How bout this. You specify the figure you want to bet, I
          get a sample group of a 100 people who buy computers, and lets see if 75 of them try to install a game on it or not. Savvy?

          • Burzmali says:

            @MostlyHarmless: “How bout this. You specify the figure you want to bet, I
            get a sample group of a 100 people who buy computers, and lets see if 75 of them try to install a game on it or not. Savvy? “

            Actually, my 75% idea did include flash/java and games that came with the OS. The point being that gaming is not a primary factor for the majority who buy a computer, but it is something that most people with computers do with their machines. Just talking about install games, I would bet that at least 60% do try to install a game on it at some point. That’s not just AAA stuff like Half Life. It includes casual games, like Bejeweled, and game services like Gametap. I could even try to make the argument that Java and Flash-based games count in that regard because on Windows you have to install Java and Flash. In that case, I think the original 75% would stand.

            Anyway, I would be willing to take a bet on either of those two conditions (60% install games or 75% including flash/java) for $100, but you can’t pick the sample group because of this comment: “Most people I know (20s, with jobs) hardly ever play games…” The people you know don’t seem to represent the norm for gaming habits among 20-somethings. From the ESA ([www.theesa.com]): “a December 2008 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 53 percent of all Americans over the age of 18 play video games, as do a full 97 percent of teens.” Granted, that article doesn’t mention 20-somethings specifically, but I have a hard time believing that the percentage of gamers in a population would drop from 97% to even 60% in a generation. Contrasted with those you know, almost 100% of the 20-somethings I know with jobs play a lot of games, so I wouldn’t pick the sample either. You find an objective way to pick a sample and you’ve got a bet.

            • MostlyHarmless says:

              @Burzmali:

              Your argument was that gaming is a big factor, and that large majority of people want to play games.

              Which is a fair statement in itself, but your assertion was that because of this, people would stick to windows.

              What I am saying is that it is not the case, because outside of teenagers/college students, the vast majority of users play games which would easily run on either platforms, either natively or using wine.

              That fact is what eliminates the “support of gaming” as a factor for most users. As someone mentioned on this thread already, they are easily able to run all sorts of games on the linux machines as well. It is not going to be a factor for the _netbook_ buying user, to say the least.

              And the “i will pick the sample” was a joke. With a carefully chosen sample, one can prove just about anything.

      • TechnoDestructo says:

        @MostlyHarmless:

        Half Life runs just fine on a netbook.

    • zandar says:

      @Saboth:

      I have a big ugly PC that I use at work that is a fortress of Microsoft crapitude, but at home, on my subnotebook (not a netbook) that is not the latest and greatest I want to surf the web, order pizza, figure my checkbook and take notes about project ideas and so on. all of this I accomplish through google chrome, google search, and google docs. I’m not a Google fanboy, but I find it suits my needs and it’s very convenient. The only weak link is the arcane Windows XP I have to sog through to get to chrome. I could see a lot of people appreciating a google-branded cloud-centric OS with fewer steps to get to doing what you want to do (and hopefully no more blue screens).

      I’m not a gamer, and I have no unrealistic ideas about what its capabilities are.

      although I am concerned about driver support. If the different distros of Linux have a common weakness, that’s it. Some have great hardware support, some totally suck, some can be coaxed into working but only excruciatingly, and I say this as someone who is not afraid to monkey around with the command link and POSIX.

    • GuinevereRucker says:

      @Saboth: I game on a Mac. Wine has come a LONG way, and using Crossover Games (which uses Wine) my framerates aren’t reduced at all from actually using Winbloze. And it’s seamless too.

    • shepd says:

      @Saboth:

      Well, let’s see. I loaded Ubuntu Netbook Remix on my wife’s laptop yesterday. To do that I downloaded Ubuntu to a USB stick, popped it in the netbook, set it to boot off it, and choose the “Install to HDD” option.

      I answered some very basic questions, like “What kind of keyboard do you use?” and “What language do you speak?”, along with “What username/password would you like to use?”.

      About 30 minutes later, I was greeted by an automatically logged in account (I choose the “log in automatically” option since this laptop won’t be doing anything secure). I entered my WAP2 password, chose the “install updates” option from the auto-updater popup, and gave the laptop to my wife.

      She’s already playing games, watching movies, listening to music, surfing the internet, writing letters, and instant messaging me. She can’t install her own software in windows, either, so I doubt she’s installed anything on it yet.

      I don’t see how you can make an OS any easier than that.

      Now, the windows box she owns? Gawd, what a pain for both of us. CD burning, so many settings I had to change, so many special updates I had to download (Java isn’t built in? WTF?), antivirus to find and install, spybot, daemon tools, etc, gah!

      And then, every few days on the windows machine I hear “My printer won’t print!”, “How do I make it so X works like Y?”, “What’s this ‘Debug’ thing that popped up?”, “Can you make it so it doesn’t crash every time I do this?”, “What’s this antivirus thing that keeps popping up and telling me I need to buy it because my version doesn’t have enough features”, “The volume control disappeared when I started this game!”, etc. HELP!

    • AI says:

      @Saboth: It takes me way less time to set up a working Ubuntu system with all necessary software and codecs and updates installed than it does a Windows system. I don’t have to take time getting software to work because I don’t run Windows software in it. These days, there’s comparable software for everything I do daily. There’s nothing archaic about OpenOffice. It works fine with the vast majority of MS Office files, which is all that most of us need. You make fun of these OS’s by saying that all people can do with them is browse the web and email. What do you think the vast majority of people use Windows for? Unless you’re a gamer, or have to specifically run a certain Windows program like Photoshop, there’s no real need for running Windows. Unless of course you have a bloody ATI video card with shitty Linux drivers like I do.

    • Shaggy says:

      @Saboth: I do lots of stuff on my Ubuntu machine!

      * Write and compile C/C++ code. I can’t do this on Windows without downloading and/or paying for extra software.
      * Play video games. Right now, I’m playing a lot of Enemy Territories: Quake Wars (which is native Linux), but I’ve got Postal 2 (native Linux client), World of Warcraft (running under WINE, much much faster than on Windows), Team Fortress 2, Half-Life 2, Portal (all running under WINE), and Fallout 3 (WINE) installed. I don’t know why people think that Linux gaming is dead.
      * Watch/listen to media files. I can’t do this on Windows without downloading a massive “codec pack”, which may or may not be riddled with viruses/trojan horses.
      * Surf the web. I’ve got Flash, Java, and the MPlayer plugin installed, and with Firefox as my primary web browser, I can do just about everything a Windows user can do.
      * Record, edit, and mix music. I’m a musician, and I get a lot of my studio work done on my Linux computer, using Ardour and Audacity to arrange, mix, and edit sound files.
      * Burn DVD/CDs. I can use k3b, a full-featured, Nero-like media burning program, for free.

      In short…I can do just about everything a Windows user can do, and more. Usually, for free.

    • Winteridge2 says:

      @Saboth: As a window vista owner, I can attest to all those same problems, and worse, and I am looking forward to my free windows 7. maybe google will solve all those problems?

  8. usa_gatekeeper says:

    Question to ulta-computer-literate consumerists: Any truth to this?

    Excerpt from “‘Mafiaboy': Cloud Computing Will Cause Internet Security Meltdown”
    Jun 30, 2009 By Kelly Jackson Higgins

    “Reformed black-hat hacker Michael Calce, better known as the 15-year-old “mafiaboy” who, in 2000, took down Websites CNN, Yahoo, E*Trade, Dell, Amazon, and eBay, says widespread adoption of cloud computing is going to make the Internet only more of a hacker haven.

    “It will be the fall of the Internet as we know it,” Calce said today during a Lumension Security-sponsored Webcast event. “You’re basically putting everything in one little sandbox…it’s going to be a lot more easy to access,” he added, noting that cloud computing will be “extremely dangerous.”

    “This is not the last you’re going to hear of this,” he said.

    Paul Henry, security and forensics expert for Lumension, says cloud computing, indeed, will open up new avenues of risk. “We haven’t even handled the fundamentals of [securing it] in our existing environments,” Henry said during an interview after the Webcast. “Now we’re going to push it up to the cloud?”

    (end of excerpt) Full article at Dark Reading:

    [www.darkreading.com]

    • MostlyHarmless says:

      @usa_gatekeeper: Yeah, but then, I did not need an “expert” to tell me that theres a down side to putting everything on the “cloud”.

      Basically it has the same issues as with any system with centralized data that is accessible from anywhere(because all your info will be stored in a huge server farm somewhere). For instance, email.

      If you already have a gmail/msn/yahoo email address that you use for signing up for different services, and use it to send emails that contain personal information, you wont be any worse off than you already are now.

      Sure it will increase the size of the target, if people start storing their docs online, but seeing as how big it already is, it wont make much of a difference. The curve will flatten out… (think diminishing returns).

      • humphrmi says:

        @MostlyHarmless: Also, there’s the possibilities of economies of scale. For instance, you might not be able to afford to hire your own security analyst for your network, computers, and data storage devices. But if Google has thousands of customers, they could afford to hire a bunch of security analysts who do nothing but monitor zero day vulnerabilities and keep their eyes on the networks for attacks.

        Of course, that’s the promise, whether it’s delivered or not…

        • shadowkahn says:

          @humphrmi:

          But you’re assuming that every cracker who comes up with a way to get into the data farm is going to post it on some cracking site. Sure the script kiddies and the guys who are just doing it for bragging rights will probably do that. But the guy who’s breaking into the database that stores word processing documents so he can find resumes with social security numbers on them and use them to steal people’s identities, is probably not going to tell anyone about it. Sure, the intrusion will be caught eventually but how many people’s data will he have grabbed before that happens?

          • humphrmi says:

            @shadowkahn: Zero day exploits are just one part of the picture. A good security monitoring team also monitors the network for suspicious activity. Granted, that doesn’t cover everything, but it does cover a heck of a lot more than most people’s home computers’ firewalls protect.

  9. MostlyHarmless says:

    but hopefully the cheap (free?) cost of adding it to netbooks will mean lower prices, or possibly better specs, when it comes out.

    I dont know about that. From what I have researched while looking for my computer, is that Ubuntu machines cost basically the same as XP/Vista machines with comparable specs. Sometimes it looks like the Ubuntu machine is cheaper, but turns out it has a gig of ram less, or that the cpu is slower.

    But then, maybe Google has enough clout to be able to force that kind of change? It would be great if it did.

    • chrylis says:

      @MostlyHarmless: As always, “it depends”. I actually just ordered a new (regular-style) laptop from HP, and I had the option of not buying Windows on it, which saved $100. Obviously, Microsoft is pricing Windows lower for netbooks, but there’s still savings to be had (YMMV).

      One of the huge advantages, though, that Linux offers is that it doesn’t have to run on x86 processors from Intel/AMD/Via. In fact, it’s being specifically pointed out that Google is going to make sure that this platform runs on ARM chips, which use much less power and are drastically less expensive. (I have an ARM-based Linux tablet that can go for a few days on a battery charge, and two weeks if I turn of WiFi.)

    • Gramin says:

      @MostlyHarmless:

      Google has clout in the search engine and internet advertising business. The OS business belongs to Microsoft… period. And I don’t see that ever changing. Who uses chrome? Yes, there are those few people, but the vast majority of computer users still use IE. Furthermore, businesses aren’t going to switch to a product that’s untested and shady. And if I’m using Microsoft at work and am happy with it, why switch at home?

      Google might be able to get some ground in the netbook space, but the PC space is squarely in the hands of Microsoft.

      • MostlyHarmless says:

        @Gramin: The whole point of the Netbook business is the “home” segment. Businesses typically dont use netbooks at all. This will be focused squarely on home users, students, freelancers, etc.

        One thing about Google is that it seems to know what battles to pick. An assault on the desktop market with a “net os” is a surefire way to fail.

  10. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    Doesn’t sound like they’re really trying to compete head to head with Microsoft. Also doesn’t sound like it’ll be any more appealing than Ubuntu for Linux-averse people. It does sound like it’s perfect for netbooks though.

    Don’t count on saving much money though; MS sells their OSes to OEMs for ridiculously low prices. And there’s no way Chrome netbooks would be cheaper than Ubuntu netbooks unless Google pays manufacturers to put Chrome on their systems.

  11. umbriago says:

    Great! I hope it doesn’t spend five years in beta though.

    • Taliskan says:

      @umbriago: Oh it will. And hopefully not riddled with security flaws that the browser has had.

      • Darklighter says:

        @Taliskan: What security flaws, exactly, are you talking about? Chrome’s sandboxing makes it extremely resistant to malware.

    • golddog says:

      @umbriago: Five? You’re an optimist. I’ll expect to see it come out of beta around 2017.

      And good luck getting any support. I pay Google for some stuff and I can’t get them to acknowledge I exist. I’m pretty close to saying they’ve jumped the shark and are just as bad as Microsoft, just in a different way.

  12. justbychance says:

    How is this not like Microsoft? How long before we’re all going after Google for Billions because “we no longer have a choice”

    People are getting so excited for an advertising company…yes, they make their money selling ads… to have all of their personal information, browsing history and behaviorial information.

    I like my OS out of the cloud, so if a Rackspace server goes down or something like that I’m still able to use my computers. An OS installed on a hard drive with local data never fails as long as the OS holds tight. The “cloud” is cool – but it seems like people are ignoring the inherent dangers.

    • chris_d says:

      @justbychance:
      It’s not like Microsoft because they’re not trying to lock anyone in with proprietary protocols and such. All the Google services I have now I could go without tomorrow. My calendar is synced up with multiple computers, and email is copied to local machines via IMAP, an OPEN protocol that Google implemented for GMail. They opened the source code for Chrome and its V8 compiler. Contrast this with Microsoft who uses proprietary everything. It’s very difficult to migrate away from Microsoft because their business model is lock-in. Exchange and Outlook use a proprietary protocol called MAPI which you must license from Microsoft to implement. Now they’re trying again to make the web proprietary with silverlight, their answer to flash (I’d rather we get rid of flash as well). It runs on a very limited number of platforms, and can only be authored on Windows. Contrast that with Javascript, which Google is backing in a big way — it’s open and available for just about any platform and not owned by any company.

  13. I Love New Jersey says:

    So will you have to provide all sorts of personal information and be tracked for this free OS?

  14. cmdrsass says:

    I’m sure Google’s new OS will allow me to install my own browser in place of Chrome because anything else would be anti-competitive, right folks?

    • Taliskan says:

      @cmdrsass: Oh that was clever! :D No bundling Chrome browser with Chrome OS!

    • hwyengr says:

      @cmdrsass: Why would you think that they wouldn’t?

    • Grive says:

      @cmdrsass: Considering they allow you to set the default search engine in Chrome’s main option page (and it even allows you to select from a drop-down menu, autoconfiguring the box), I’m pretty confident they won’t have any issues with competitors working with their products.

    • ScottRose says:

      @cmdrsass: Google’s “OS” is just going to be a stripped-down Linux distribution with Chrome pre-installed.

      I’d have no problem if Chrome was the required browser for Chrome OS because there are still bunches of other Linux distributions from which to choose.

  15. Unsolicited Advice says:

    Application support, speed, stability, and security. If Google delivers all four, for free, without ads? Congratulations to our new OS overlords.

    But I won’t use an ad-supported OS. And if they’re planning on monetizing a whole OS platform via search ads used by the built-in browser, well, I’m concerned about their margins.

    • Darklighter says:

      @Unsolicited Advice: They’re not planning on monetizing the OS at all, since they’ll be open sourcing it. It’s really a marketing move designed to acclimate people to using webapps, where they do make money.

  16. Mr.Gawn says:

    Why design their own OS.. it would be easier to just invest in the so many already free OSs

  17. jeffs3rd says:

    Sounds great, where do I sign up to beta test it?

  18. rewind says:

    MEMO

    Google,
    We would like to congratulate you on announcing your new Chrome OS. Just a heads up, you may want to reconsider that heavy Chrome browser influence. We really got bit in the ass on that one.

    Your Pal,
    Microsoft

    p.s.: See you at the party Saturday. I hear they asked Apple to DJ again. I don’t know why…

  19. Joe Rios says:

    I’m a little leery about Google producing an operating system. My concern is that it will be Unix based, but they’ll find new and interesting ways to serve ads to your desktop. Everyone has a way to make money off their products:

    Linux: Business Licensing (looking @ you Red Hat)
    Mac: Profits from Hardware/Accessories ($30 headphones?!)
    Windows: Licensing Profits (Businesses, Office, etc…)
    Google: Advertising Revenue (Take a closer look at a google page, or your gmail in-box)

    Everyone is in this to make some money, and google is no exception to the rule. The OS may be free, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the EULA says that they can send advertisements to your computer at their discretion.

  20. Michael Ortega says:

    Until the majority of software is available on non-windows platforms there is no point for the average user to even look at a non-windows OS. It’s all fine and dandy when you got Ubuntu or Google OS until you have to call software support and they dont have a script to tell you what to do or driver support.

    Developers Developers Developers!

    • P_Smith says:

      @Michael Ortega: Microshaft is well known for telling software makers, “Do it our way or we won’t tell you how our operating system works.” If a software maker doesn’t capitulate and build programs only for windoze, their software won’t work as well as it could or as well as their competitors.

      It’s an anti-competitive practice done to keep software makers in line (“One strong, the others weak” as the Japanese say) and to give consumers no choice.

      • cluberti says:

        @P_Smith: So you’ve never heard of MSDN or Technet then? Where, you know, pretty much everything you could possibly do with the Win32 API is all out there and documented?

      • dave_coder says:

        @P_Smith: Consumers have plenty of choice: Windows (multiple versions), MAC OS X (multiple versions), Linux (thousands of distributions), Unix, etc….

        Oh and you’re obviously not a programmer. How exactly does Microsoft keep information from companies so that “their software won’t work as well as it could or as well as their competitors”? Most information is on TechNet like the other dude said.

        Stop playing consumers as a victim here.

  21. Trai_Dep says:

    I’m sitting this one out until Google supplies a girl/boyfriend to interested users. Who cares if his/her forehead streams Adsense phrases every two minutes?

  22. YourTechSupport says:

    I can’t find the original C|NET comment but it’s been transcribed to an openSUSE forum. I found it… of course, using Google….

    “Are you saying that this linux can run on a computer without windows underneath it, at all ? As in, without a boot disk, without any drivers, and without any services ?

    That sounds preposterous to me.

    If it were true (and I doubt it), then companies would be selling computers without a windows. This clearly is not happening, so there must be some error in your calculations. I hope you realise that windows is more than just Office ? Its a whole system that runs the computer from start to finish, and that is a very difficult thing to acheive. A lot of people dont realise this.

    Microsoft just spent $9 billion and many years to create Vista, so it does not sound reasonable that some new alternative could just snap into existence overnight like that. It would take billions of dollars and a massive effort to achieve. IBM tried, and spent a huge amount of money developing OS/2 but could never keep up with Windows. Apple tried to create their own system for years, but finally gave up recently and moved to Intel and Microsoft.

    Its just not possible that a freeware like the Linux could be extended to the point where it runs the entire computer fron start to finish, without using some of the more critical parts of windows. Not possible.

    I think you need to re-examine your assumptions. “

    • Joe Rios says:

      @YourTechSupport:

      I hope you are happy YourTechSupport: Now I have a friggen headache.

      We must find this person and either educate or flog them thoroughly.

    • rewind says:

      @YourTechSupport:

      “Apple tried to create their own system for years, but finally gave up recently and moved to Intel and Microsoft.”

      This part is actually funnier than the linux rant.

  23. P_Smith says:

    Microshaft’s ineptitude and Linux’s openness make third party software possible and varied. If google makes an OS, it’s unlikely to have many options for customizing, nor will it have much software to offer. And that’s aside from their goal of Gatesian “global domination”; the mantra of “don’t be evil” was always a scam.

    DOS would still be a viable third option if hardware makers were still making drivers instead of obeying Microshaft’s instruction not to. There are USB drivers, CD ROM drivers, SVGA drivers, wifi, web browsers, TCP/IP, and it works with other modern devices and software like USB hard drives and Flash RAM. There’s only one reason I don’t go back to DOS full time: nearly all laptop “sound chips” are made by VIA, a Taiwanese company. Despite repeated requests by people in the DOS community, VIA choose to be assholes and refuse to make DOS audio drivers for their chipsets. If I didn’t need a laptop for the sake of mobility, I would have a desktop PC with DOS, and windows would only be there for certain functions.

  24. PsiCop says:

    The upcoming Google OS, based on the Chrome browser, isn’t going to really compete with any other full-blown OS, whether it’s Windows, Mac OS, or any of the Linux/Unix flavors. It will be designed to run only on netbooks, providing just enough functionality to connect to the Internet and generally act merely as a front-end for what’s fashionably called “cloud computing.”

    Netbook OSes are not something Microsoft is interested in making … if they had, there’d be a version of Vista and the soon-to-come Win7 which would run on netbooks (at the moment the only Microsoft OS that can be had on a netbook is a limited version of the 8-year-old WinXP). Apple doesn’t make netbooks and shows no sign it ever will, so there won’t be any Mac OS for netbooks any time soon either.

    That leaves Linux/Unix, and there are a number of netbook versions of that available (particularly Ubuntu). And these are already available at low/no cost on netbooks. Google’s OS won’t really affect that market too much, since that’s how things stand already.

    I just don’t see a tsunami of repurcussions from this.

  25. seattlemaninblue says:

    This post makes three dubious points:

    1. The alleged thief was let in without checking his membership. But nowhere does the story say that he wasn’t a member.

    2. The minimum-wage club employees didn’t tackle the alleged thief (based only on someone else yelling “Thief!”) — although as others have pointed out they could be fired and/or sued for doing so.

    3. The minimum-wage mall cop didn’t tackle, taser and apprehend the alleged thief (based only on someone else yelling “Thief!”) — although as others have pointed out they could be fired and/or sued for doing so.

    Really, Consumerist?

  26. carolynkline says:

    Sounds interesting. Don’t think I really like the cloud computing idea, but I’d try it out. Been wondering when Google would step into the OS business. I really thought Android would be it. But Chrome? That kind of comes out of left field a bit.

    Between Ubuntu & Chrome OS, they may be able to make a dent in MS’s profits. Will be some interesting times ahead, for certain.

  27. sean98125 says:

    Cn ply TF2 nd L4D n t?

    N?

    k thx by

  28. valen says:

    Maybe Google could finish the Chrome Browser for Linux before starting on a version for a new operating system?

    • Blufyor says:

      @valen: Perhaps this will actually get more Google developers assigned to Chrome for Linux, as a subset of the OS development? The information is still pretty general at this point, but the Wired article does explicitly state that Chrome will be the major focal point of the OS, second only to the webapps that run inside it.

  29. ZManGT says:

    To me I think this is getting blown out of proportion. I sense this being an OS that they can put on the 100$ laptop for everyone computers. Remember there was a big fight that the licensing fees for XP were increasing the cost of the laptop. That’s the niche that I think this Chrome browser is going to fit in first.

  30. teqjack says:

    NETbook, not NOTEbook – certainly not desktop/tower.
    At least, for now.
    Fine for Web browsing, EMail, perhaps video watching. Which is pretty much what I do, but I’ll stick with my tower – and its three hadr drives, 4G RAM, etc.

  31. backbroken says:

    It has been scientifically proven that 99.9943 of all computer usage is for porn and social networking.

    So, I will ask the only 3 questions pertinent to the discussion:

    1. Is it free?
    2. Can I do porn?
    3. Can I do Facebook?

    If that’s a triple yes, then we have a winner.

  32. MooseOfReason says:

    They’re losing money on YouTube. I don’t see why they’d give out an operating system for free.

    Unless they have Google ads as your starting wallpaper.

  33. albear says:

    If this runs every single thing that XP runs, I may consider giving it a try. The only concern is that Google is notoriously information grabby. It may be a crazy conspiracy theory but I would suppose GOOG will know what is and what you do with your PC. I wouldn’t like that.

    • cluberti says:

      @albear: Well, it’s Linux underneath, not Windows. Any software written for Windows (that doesn’t have a Linux port or replacement) isn’t going to run on it.

  34. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    A Google OS? Like *that* won’t collect any of your personal data and send it back to a huge Google database.

    No thanks! I’m one of those people from the computer dark ages that doesn’t mind waiting the 30 seconds for my computer to boot up so I can get my e-mail.

    Nice idea, and I have no doubt it will attract an audience, but I won’t be a part of it.

  35. H3ion says:

    What do they plan for apps? I run a Netbook using XP with almost no apps; just enough to type a letter or run a spreadsheet, but that wouldn’t work if it was my main computer. Open Office probably will run which is very good but I don’t think any of the typical Microsoft Office apps will run.

    And what about those Web sites that will run only on IE?

    C:>

  36. parrotuya says:

    Imagine…a Microsoft-free world! Paradise!

  37. gman863 says:

    Regardless of how great this sounds on the surface, “cloud” based computing (especially a free or ad-supported platform) can be risky.

    I have read tech articles on ZDnet.com that question the security of storing or sharing personal data in such applications. While paid backup services such as Carbonite or Mozy use secure socket encryption to protect your stored files, others (such as Comcast’s online storage) can be easily viewed by others unless specific security steps are set up by the user.

    In the case of an ad-supported service from a company like Google, I’d be damn sure to go through the terms of service with a fine tooth comb: Your search requests (or even keywords found in personal documents stored online) could be mined and sold to advertisers. Search “Viagra”, and your e-mail will likely suffer from an erection of penis enhancement ads that will last longer than four months.

    Thanks but no thanks. I’d rather pay the Microsoft Mafia for being somewhat protected than put my personal data online for all to see.

  38. Ian Garrett says:

    Oh I can’t wait to read the TOS… Now if I delete a file it stays in the ether forever? I guess one way to prevent malicious spyware from infecting your computer is to run an OS made out of benign spyware.