I first started discussing the possibility of Google launching an operating system back in 2006 with other students. Later I came to believe that the OS was already out there in the form of Google Apps, so there was little need for anything more. As it seems, Google has finally decided to give us a legit operating system to help bridge the gap between your computer and their “cloud” OS that’s already out there.

Keypoints here (from their blog):
– open-source
– “fast and lightweight”
– “start up and get you on the web in a few seconds”
– minimal user interface
– most of the user experience will take place on the web
– “completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work” (This sounds a bit exaggerated… also, didn’t Apple get a copyright on that expression yet?)
– initially targeted at netbooks (first netbooks running it will be available in the second half of 2010)
– separate from Android

Clearly, we can see the progression here. Google Search -> Google Apps -> Google Chrome -> Google Chrome OS. All they can add after this is make their own hardware and they own the system 🙂
It also seems to me at this point that Google seems to intend to keep their cloud formula, in that your computer is just a terminal to connect to the web, where all your work really happens. As the name suggests, I am inclined to see this as just a way in which Google Chrome can run on a computer without the need of an additional OS and through Chrome you get optimized access to all the Google Apps.

Thumbs up:
– well, it’s Google, isn’t everything they make suppose to be AWESOME?
– it will be good to have a minimal OS that just starts you up on the web in a few seconds, it will definitely make netbooks more attractive to me
– when someone in IT does something new, others react right away (look at the cellphone market after the iPhone and you’ll see what I mean); I sure hope people will react to this and the concept will push innovation forward a bit, since we’ve been stuck on the current OS and application model for quite a few years now

Thumbs down:
– I am not at all happy with Google Chrome (crashes and more often than not decides to just not start up; I simply have not been able to use it consistently enough to decide whether it’s a good browser or not) and I sure hope that the OS will be better, otherwise this will not go well
– as a developer, if this does go well and they go mainstream, this means I have yet another OS to worry about; that doesn’t make me happy

We’ll see how it goes, but I think it’s overall great news! Will be watching this closely.

PS: It’s no coincidence to me that this happens just one day after Google decides to take their apps out of BETA.