Week in review: Google goes after Microsoft with OS

The Web search giant announces plan to move into the operating system business, while Facebook looks to future fortunes. Also: T-Mobile's iPhone challenger.

Google finally confirmed what we have long suspected--it's working on an operating system--one based on its Chrome Web browser.

The company announced Google Chrome OS on its blog , saying lower-end PCs called Netbooks from unnamed manufacturers will include it in the second half of 2010. Linux will run under the covers of the open-source project, but the applications will run on the Web itself.

The move shows just how serious Google is about making the Web into a foundation not just for static pages but for active applications, notably its own such as Google Docs and Gmail. It also opens new competition with Microsoft and, potentially, a new reason for antitrust regulators to pay close attention to Google's moves.

In short, Google is aiming to render desktop software irrelevant. To thwart them, Microsoft needs Windows to do things that a browser can't--or do the same things significantly better.

Interestingly, if Microsoft wants some tips on how to do this, it might want to look toward Apple . Essentially, this has been Apple's challenge all along: make the Mac experience better enough than a generic PC that it is worth the added cost.

Google has a long history of tracking user activity, and the introduction of its Chrome operating system later this year is sure to follow suit. While we know that it's being built off of Linux, one big thing we don't know is how its terms of service will differ from those found in other Google products , and what kinds of user data it will be collecting. Based on the company's track record of watching and monetizing user data, it could track anything from the applications you're using, to all the information that's coming in and out of your computer.
•  Why Chrome OS? Google says, why not?
•  Google reveals its Chrome OS cohorts

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Andreessen: Facebook revenue to top $500 million in '09

The Netscape founder, a member of Facebook's board of directors, says the social network has the potential to be a billion-dollar company already.
•  So is Facebook for old people now or what?
•  Facebook debuts 'fan box' tool
•  Wife exposes chief spy's personal life on Facebook
•  Facebook movie screenplay reportedly doesn't suck

Play

T-Mobile launches iPhone challenger

T-Mobile sees its second Android phone, the MyTouch 3G, as its best hope to take on Apple's iPhone on AT&T.
•  DOJ looks into telecom dominance
•  Manage multiple Twitter accounts with your iPhone
•  Can RIM get its mojo back with the BlackBerry Tour?

Judge sides with YouTube on several copyright issues

Federal court dismissed some of the copyright complaints made by a class of plaintiffs because they were made overseas and aren't protected by U.S. copyright law.
•  Jammie Thomas asks for new trial
•  Odd-couple lawyers aim to save Jammie Thomas

<b>Microsoft opens Hohm to energy monitoring

Can a slick Web application give you decent advice on cutting your home energy use? Based on a first look at Microsoft Hohm, CNET News' Martin LaMonica says yes.
&#149;&nbsp; GE appliances to connect to smart grid via Tendril
&#149;&nbsp; Control4 adds energy monitoring to home network

URL shortening is hot--but look before you leap

Fueled by Twitter's popularity, services to abbreviate Web addresses are taking off. They bring a host of problems, but some are working to fix them.
&#149;&nbsp; Shortened URLs spike in e-mail spam
&#149;&nbsp; How to vanquish mobile spam

<b>Google Earth event hints at moon mapping

An event scheduled for July 20--the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing--could mean the addition of new moon imagery to Google Earth.
&#149;&nbsp; Google image search gets usage rights filtering

<b>SEC review of Apple disclosure now more complex?

The federal inquiry into whether Apple made misleading statements over CEO Steve Jobs' health is ongoing, according to a Bloomberg report.
&#149;&nbsp; N.C. town sweetens pot for an Apple move

Also of note
&#149;&nbsp; U2 releasing 'mobile album' for BlackBerry
&#149;&nbsp; VCs more confident about recovery
&#149;&nbsp; News sites stay up during Jackson memorial

 

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