Google is said to be announcing a new PC/netbook operating system today, a move that would make Google’s competition with Microsoft a very real thing and not just media hype. Rumors about the new OS are that it will be based on Google Chrome, the browser Google has already released, and in fact will be called Google Chrome OS.
We’re hearing that this is really a lightweight version of Android with a Chrome front-end, designed to be tightly coupled to online applications like Google Docs, Wave, Voice, etc. Chrome, the browser, is not a complete OS and would require some embedded background OS to work with and to adapt to various hardware designs; thus, the Android connection.
Our sources say that the big thrust of the new OS is to codify the SaaS/cloud partnership that Google wants to establish. In other words, it’s not about being a direct Windows competitor; it’s about extending the online paradigm where Google is already successful to the desktop via notebooks. The new OS will be available next year, though, and we expect that in the meantime, a lot of companies (including Palm) will be looking at porting their own smartphone OSS to netbooks.