Google’s “Chrome” Web Browser an Operating System?

Google is expected to release their own version of a web browser today, titled Google Chrome. Chrome is an open source web browser, introduced with a comic book.


Mozilla’s Firefox is funded almost exclusively by Google through a deal that runs through 2011. This agreement defaults Google as Firefox’s homepage, and search. While Mozilla ought to be worried, Google Chrome is an assault on the entire browser market. With 60% of the search market share, Google has plenty of opportunity to promote its own browser. This places not only Firefox, but also Internet Explorer, Opera, and other browsers in it’s crosshairs.

This surprise announcement, has also lead many to wonder if Google might also have its sights set on a bigger target. A Google operating system. Maybe Chrome is Google’s operating system?

Google’s vision of the future includes a cloud computer, where applications are run from the cloud, or Internet. This requires a less sophisticated client that could bypasses the operating system and require only a web browser. Google’s Chrome sets the stage for that scenario. One of the groundbreaking features of Chrome is that each tab is run as it’s own process. That sounds less browser like, and more like how an operating system works. When’s the last time you saw a browser with it’s own task manager? From Google’s Chrome announcement:

…we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what we set out to build.

Is it a browser? Is it an operating system? Further evidence of operating system roots is their decision to rewrite the JavaScript engine. While they could have used the open source code that was already available, they wrote an engine that communicates directly with the CPU, hinting at bigger plans:


Today Chrome requires Windows to run. Linux and Apple versions are planned soon. Google’s Android phone is almost certainly going to run some flavor of it. Could the Google Chrome web browser be a Trojan Horse for Google’s operating system? How long will it be until we see a version of Chrome that boots on your computer without Windows?