Google takes on Netscape’s mission

This morning’s Observer column.

The intriguing thing about the Google announcement is not that it is developing an OS, but that it is switching tack. For nearly two years the company has been developing a Linux-based OS for mobile phones under the Android label. Most of us who have used Android assumed it was only a matter of time before a version tailored for Netbooks was released.

But that is not what Google announced. There wasn’t much technical detail in the company’s blog post, but the one thing that is clear is that the new OS will be – in its words – “a natural extension of Google Chrome”. It is, they go on to say, “our attempt to rethink what operating systems should be”.

If true, we have reached a significant milestone because what the Google guys propose amounts to turning the world upside down…