The Official Google Blog announced that they will be releasing an open source operating system named Chrome in the latter half of 2010. See http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/introducing-google-chrome-os.html
Chrome will initially be targeted at Netbook computers and Google is already in discussion with hardware manufacturers about shipping the OS with their netbook products. Google OS is designed to run on x86 and ARM processors. Chrome OS is separate from Android and Google will be relying substantially on the infrastructure of the open source community to develop and promote their operating system.
Chrome OS won’t just be a challenge to Microsoft, but will also be a substantial challenge to Linux distributions. Now people who want an alternative to Microsoft have another alternative to Linux. Chrome OS sounds like a lightweight Linux operating system that comes from a major player. What this means for the popularity of Ubuntu is yet to be seen. It will also be interesting to see how things pan out given that Chrome OS will be released after giving Microsoft’s Windows 7 OS a year to entrench itself in the netbook market. Linux on Netbooks had a big head start and was crushed in the marketplace by Windows XP. Chrome OS will be coming into the market after Windows 7 has been available on netbooks for almost 12 months.
Interesting times indeed.