Johannesburg - Internet giant Google has confirmed it will soon be releasing a computer operating system called Google Chrome OS, placing it in direct competition with the likes of Microsoft Windows.
The announcement was made on Google's official blog on Wednesday.
"Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks," said Google.
"Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010.
Because we're already talking to partners about the project, and we'll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.
"Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web.
And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and 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."
Analysts said rumours of a Google operating system have been floating around for some time and its release will introduce much needed competition into the operating system market.
Google already has a mobile operating system called Android, which is maintained by the Open Handset Alliance. Over 20 new Android phones from a number of vendors, including Sony Ericsson, are expected to be launched before the end of 2009.
"Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android," said Google. "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.
"While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google."