Google to Windows: you’re history

After years of rumours about a Google operating system, it’s real: Google Chrome OS is coming next year. In a direct shot at Microsoft’s Windows, Google says

the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web. So today, 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.

Designed for a web-based world – Gmail, Google Docs, NetSuite, etc – it will be an open source, lightweight operating system, targeted initially at netbooks and based on Linux. Just enough OS to run a browser, but none of the baggage of Windows.

Will Windows 7 have a response? Microsoft have a big announcement scheduled for Monday… But long-term, Google has a strong case: with more and more devices having their own network connections (eg a camera, if you have an iPhone), the old arguments for needing a powerful desktop OS are receding. Go web, young man.