The future of computing, according to Google

My my, what a week Google are having. They launched the long-awaited 'Gingerbread' update to their Android mobile OS, and showed off a preview of the next release, 'Honeycomb.' And they launched a new mobile phone, the Samsung Nexus S, designed to show off Android's full power.

But is that all? Hell no! This is Google, people: they give their developers one day a week to invent crazy stuff, they're gonna have announcements, right? Quite why they're having them all in one week is anyone's guess, but ours is not to wonder why, ours is just to race frantically to keep y'all informed.

Anyway! Let us leave the world of mobiles aside for a while, because Google has also turned its attention to the old-fashioned world of computing. On Tuesday they introduced the very, very long-awaited first preview of Chrome OS, their new operating system.

That's right, Google has made a full, PC operating system, just like Windows or Linux. Except, well, not. Chrome OS is an operating system, but not like any other you've seen. Because it's a browser. The operating system is the browser, and the browser is the operating system. (The rhythm is also the bass, and the bass is the treble.)

It's really hard to explain. Essentially, Google reckons we do all our stuff in 'the cloud' these days, and Chrome OS is designed to be a totally cloud-driven OS, with browser tabs effectively replacing windows.

We're still not explaining it very well, are we? Maybe this video will do a better job...

Chrome OS was shown off this week at a Google event in San Francisco. You won't actually be able to use it till next year, unless you get a certain special piece of hardware.... for more on which, check the next story...

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