The search giant was developing a competing product to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Firefox (heavily funded by Google), Apple's Safari (and numerous other products).
This morning, Google reintroduced Chrome as an Operating System.
Cloud computing has been in heavy development by both Google, Microsoft and others. Essentially, using the web for your applications rather than having them loaded on your hard drive.
In a prelude to today's announcement, Google dropped the Beta tag (finally) from a host of online products including GMail, Google Docs, Google Sites, and more yesterday. The Google online 'office like' suite was, in fact, one of the first, and now competes directly with Microsoft's Office Online (now known as Microsoft Office Live) which has been growing a rich feature set as well.
Enter Google's browser Chrome. Available in three 'flavors'. Developer, Beta tester, and a stable release.
Initially targeting Netbooks (mini-Notebook PCs), Google has used the phrase Google Chrome OS for the first time today and announced that Netbooks running the Google Chrome OS will be available in the second half of 2010 confirming that Google is also working with hardware manufacturers.
While some will speculate that Google is taking a shot at Microsoft with this announcement, it's more likely that Google is looking at the bottom line and other products and services that make money. Google needs to go beyond search and this is one direction they are taking seriously.
With there's little doubt that the tech community will be all over this rollout, it still remains to be seen whether or not large enterprise users will embrace (or trust) cloud computing.
Our take for now is that this very possibly could effect the price of Microsoft's (and other) client products as well as their online offerings, depending on how aggressive Google gets.
Everyone is looking at the huge potential of an economic turnaround (worldwide) and the outright fact that almost every company in some way (including most in the Fortune 500) have a lot of delayed technology upgrading to do.
Competition is healthy for the consumer. Google just kicked it up a notch for next year.
Update 1: An informative Q and A has been posted regarding the Google Chrome OS to the Chrome Blog here.
Update 2: Google has confirmed (on the Chrome Blog) that they are working directly with hardware manufacturers including Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba.