Google’s recent announcement that it’s to start working on a new lightweight open source operating system, Google Chrome OS – Chrome running on top of the Linux kernel, with the browser basically becoming the OS — has garnered plenty of attention in the media recently (there’s a roundup of our network coverage here). But the gist of it is this: netbooks running Chrome OS (its initial target platform — although it looks like Google isn’t only targeting netbooks) will effectively be “web app optimized,” running web apps in preference to native applications (with, apparently, instant access to applications like email).
That means Chrome OS could herald a slew of new web apps taking advantage of of the performace offered by a lightning-fast web app OS. The entire OS will effectively be a highly-optimized browser, without any desktop cruft to slow it down. Chrome (the browser) is already fast — by far the fastest browser available currently. But by stripping everything else away, we should see web apps that feel much more like native desktop applications.
This is great news for web workers, who increasingly rely on complex web applications to get their work done. Faster web apps are obviously a good thing in and of themselves if you rely on them for your productivity, but, perhaps even more importantly, it’s good news for developers, who will be able to produce increasingly diverse, complex and powerful web apps.