Rumors along these lines have been surfacing for years -- now Google has officially announced their intentions to create a computer operating system. The new operating system, called "Google Chrome OS" will run on both x86 and ARM processors -- which means it could technically work on anything from desktop computers to mobile devices.
When building the new open source operating system, they are going to bring it back to the basics, focusing on speed, reliability and security. In their blog post, Google says they want users to be on the internet within a couple seconds of pushing the power button.
Since Chrome OS basically uses the web as the platform -- developers need only worry about creating web apps that at least run in Chrome. Applications written for this will naturally be multi-platform, as every mainstream operating system has modern browsers capable of consuming them.
Is it wise to make Google Chrome the backbone of an operating system though? This seems awfully familiar to what Microsoft did with IE and Windows -- made the browser part of the operating system and found themselves in a heap of trouble with regulators. I'm not sure what kind of support there will be for crating physical applications on Chrome OS, but I would imagine it would be extremely difficult, or impossible, to install something like Firefox or IE.
There are no screenshots, or any indication of how far along they are with this project -- but they have told us to keep our ears to the ground, and listen for new updates in the fall.