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Google offers a sneak peek at Chrome OS

Google Inc. gave first public preview of its Chrome operating system at its headquarters in Mountain View, CA

Mountain View, CA, November 20 -- Four months after announcing its intentions to develop PCs main software, Google Inc. Thursday gave first public preview of its new Chrome operating system.

Chrome OS, which can start a computer in less than seven seconds, resembles the Chrome Web browser. It is expected to be available by next year’s holiday season.

"From the time you press boot you want it to be like a TV: You turn it on and you should be on the Web using your applications," said Google product manager Sundar Pichai.

Chrome’s incompatibility with traditional software
The Chrome desktop includes a handful of smaller tabs called the application tabs. Initially, the OS will be available only on netbooks, which will be working with USB keyboards and storage devices.

Pichai says, printer support will be included in the final OS once it has established a user base on netbooks.

Analyst Ray Valdes of Gartner said that the OS lacked compatibility with traditional software and had limited offline capabilities.

The launch of Chrome OS is also challenging since Microsoft’s Windows runs in 9 out of 10 personal computers these days. It’s very difficult for most of the companies to accept Chrome as a primary business platform.

Microsoft said in a recent statement that the Chrome operating system was in its “early stages of development” and that “customers are already voicing their approval of the way Windows 7 just works — across the Web and on the desktop, and on all sizes and types of PCs.”

Living on the “cloud”
Many have started to think that with Chrome OS Google is trying to build a better version of Windows. But that is entirely not the case because it is aiming to shift users toward its vision of "cloud computing"-- a model in which programs are used over the Internet to access e-mails, photo albums and digital maps.

“Hundreds of millions of users are living on the cloud,” said Pichai. Every program that users enjoy on their PCs today will soon be available as a Web application. “The trend is very, very clear,” he said.

Regarding the neck to neck competition with Microsoft Windows, Valdes said, “Chrome OS moves the playing field to the cloud. But Microsoft is a multifaceted company. They have a systematic effort to put a lot of their technology portfolio in the cloud as well.”