[T]oday, we're announcing a new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It's our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.Does the world need another operating system? No. Are netbook users more operating system independent than other computer users? Google, Apple, Nokia and several other firms are betting this is the case, but this thesis is yet to be proven.
Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we're already talking to partners about the project, and we'll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve. …
Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.
When I did my dissertation in 1998-1999, I was just seeing a glimmering of the idea that Internet access (then web and email) was more important than locally hosted applications (and thus application variety was an attribute to satisfice and not maximize).
Google has been trying for years to encourage this trend to commoditze the OS as a means for Internet access. Apple tried it for a while on the iPhone and then gave up, which brought them the world’s leading mobile app store.