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Google announces multi-platform Chrome OS, shipping in late 2010

Whoa. After long periods of speculation, Google enters the operating system space, for reals.

Chrome OS will be "fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds." Targeted at Netbooks, Chrome OS will be available on new systems by the second half of 2010. "The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web", according to the Official Google blog.

And, lest you think "Chrome OS" to just be fancy rebranding of Google's Android mobile OS, Google's VP of Product Management makes it abundantly clear in the release, "Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems."

Corporate espionage being what it is these days, there have likely been some sleepless nights around Redmond recently. With the full faith and credit of Google behind a radically new "cloud" OS -- relieving users of tedious things like backing up files, or installing applications -- Microsoft's quest to tie up the netbook market, without allowing it to compete for the low end of desktops, could face significant challenges in the years ahead.

Tags: chrome, google, operating system, OperatingSystem, os, web os, WebOs