tom_dunmore

-Tom Dunmore is Brand Director & Editor-in-Chief at Stuff magazine - Stuff has over 1 million readers worldwide. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Google announced on Wednesday that it was developing its own computer operating system. It will be secure, fast, lightweight and - most of all - free. And it presents the biggest challenge yet to the long-standing dominance of Windows.

The idea behind Google ChromeOS is nothing new - it's built on a Linux foundation and will no doubt share many of the features of other open-source operating systems. But Google is the only computing brand with more might than Microsoft: it's trusted, and has a proven track record of building brilliant, free services, from search to instant messaging.

Indeed, Google has been busily chipping away at Microsoft's market for some time, with the Google Docs suite of in-browser applications providing a decent (and free) alternative to Microsoft Office, while the Android mobile phone software has pulled the rug from under Windows Mobile.

Microsoft's attempts to strike back by stealing some of Google's lucrative internet search advertising market have had little success - hence the rebranding of MSN as Live search, and the subsequent replacement of Live search with Bing.