Google enters operating system market with Chrome OS
Google recently entered the operating system market - long dominated by Microsoft and its Windows
line - with the release of Chrome OS.
The internet giant hopes to revolutionize the OS with its new offering. Netbooks loaded with Chrome OS
lack hard drives, meaning everything from applications to documents are stored on the web, much in
the model of cloud computing.
In fact, Chrome OS relies so much on the web that experts say the system is comparable to Google's
web browser of the same name. The benefit of not having an internal hard drive is that the netbook will
startup and run much faster than with traditional operating systems, according to Google.
Along with the launch of the OS, Google released a batch of prototype netbooks for consumers to test
and announced the Chrome Web Store.
The Cr-48 netbook features a 12.1-inch screen, a Verizon 3G wireless plan free for the first 100
megabytes and have eight hours of battery life.
According to Google, developers have already loaded apps to the Chrome Web Store, which is
essentially the netbook's answer to the Android Marketplace for smartphones. The apps store will
initially be available in the U.S. only, with future expansion planned.
"When you play with it and hopefully use it every day, you will realize it does in fact work," Google CEO
Eric Schmidt said at the launch event for the OS in San Francisco.
The hardware also features a full-size keyboard, but curiously lacks caps lock and function keys. This,
Google vice president of product management for Google Chrome Sundar Pichai said, is to "respect the
etiquette of the web." Translation: no more shouting on message boards and article comments by
writing in all caps.
Google expects Chrome OS-based netbooks to hit the market some time next year.
Microsoft has so far declined to comment the new competition. But any real challenge posed by Chrome
OS will be years away. Microsoft's Windows 7, released in October 2009, has sold more than 240 million
copies to date.
Still, the release of Chrome OS should stoke the already heated competition between the computer
giants. Google has also focused efforts to cut into Microsoft's stranglehold on the enterprise computing
market. Google's cloud-based productivity suite, Google Apps, is designed specifically to challenge
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