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Google nips Microsoft with Chrome, moves to the cloud

business Updated: Dec 09, 2010 01:38 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya

Google’s Chrome operating system or OS, a fresh challenge to Microsoft’s dominant Windows OS, was launched on Tuesday. The Chrome initiative, led by Indian-American Sundar Pichai, Google's vice-president for product management, was launched with a pilot programme featuring a 12-inch unbranded laptop running the new OS.

Pichai, an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and the primary evangelist for Chrome OS within Google, said, “We are delivering nothing but the Web.”

In the new OS system, applications and data will not be physically stored on the computer but in a “cloud”, basically in an online environment.

In fact, the notebooks for the pilot programme do not feature a hard disk. The demo notebooks are WiFi and 3G-enabled.

“Many people already spend all their time in a web browser, and by building an operating system that is essentially a browser, we can make computers faster, much simpler and fundamentally more secure,” Pichai and Linus Upson, vice-president, engineering, Google, wrote in an official post.

Google’s Chrome browser, launched in September 2008 as an alternative to Internet Explorer, has already challenged Microsoft’s dominance in the market. Pichai, who joined Google in 2004, was also the person responsible for the browser.

Google said that at least two companies, Acer and Samsung, will manufacture notebooks running Chrome, which will be available for sale during the “first half of next year”. However, it offered no pricing information.

“We finally have a viable third choice for an operating system,” said Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google.

A computer running Chrome should boot up in 60 seconds and would not slow down during operation, Google said. Besides, since users’ “apps, documents, and settings are stored safely in the cloud, even if you lose your computer, you can just log into another Chrome notebook and get right back to work.”

Google also opened a Chrome store offering apps in San Francisco on Tuesday.