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09 July 2009 10:00 AM

Technology

Much Ado?

Ryan Tate:

The tech world is atwitter: Google just announced a new operating system, which will compete with Microsoft Windows. The only problem? It's not a new operating system, and it doesn't compete with Microsoft Windows.

The new "Google Chrome OS" is a nifty instance of branding, we'll give it that. But stripped of the marketing talk, here's what Google just introduced: A distribution of the Linux operating system, plus a "new windowing system" and a copy of Google's Web browser.

In geek parlance, Google built a "shell," not an OS. The kernel and, almost certainly, a large chunk of the "userland" programs that make up an OS come from elsewhere.

But it's in Google's interests to puff up its new technology. The press loves a nice, simple fight between tech industry giants; Google's branding is thus sure to generate loads of free buzz for Google's "operating system," as programmer and longtime tech pundit Dave Winer has pointed out.

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