Late this evening Google announced on its blog that it was entering the operating system business with Google Chrome OS. We are sure to read many stories in the coming days, but thought we would share a quick analysis with our readers as to the business and technology impacts we see:
• The effort marks the latest attack by Google on Microsoft
• Whether it can challenge Microsoft’s dominance in the market remains unclear. In the months since its launch, the Google Chrome browser has done little to challenge Microsoft’s lead in the browser software.
• The Web browser *is* Google’s operating system. The Linux based Chrome OS, as it is called, will add a new layer of windowing software to manage what a user sees on a display screen. Instead of requiring programmers to write programs specifically for the operating system the Google engineers said that the Chrome operating system will simply run programs written for the Web (whether for a Windows, Mac, or Linux browser).
• The Google blog post stresses that the Chrome operating system is a separate effort from Android (the mobile computing OS) — though, like Android, it will be “open source,” meaning other developers can have access to and modify the code.
• The software is designed to work Intel Corp. and AMD chips used in most conventional PCs — as well as chips that are the standard in cell phones and are expected in netbooks later this year.
• Google’s operating system announcement could galvanize critics, including privacy groups and competitors, who argue that the online search company already collects vast amounts of information about consumers’ Internet use.
• While Google is still a tiny player in many of the new markets it is exploring, like mobile phone software and online applications, some worry it could leverage its massive online search market share to quickly grow its share of new industries as well, gathering even more data about its users.
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