Google's war with Microsoft has just got more serious. Google's annoucement oif the Chrome OS - a direct attack on Microsoft - is the clearest statement of intent yet.

Chrome OS was first announced in Google's official blog in a posting by however, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web. So today, we're announcing a new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It's our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be," they wrote.

According to Pichai and Upson, Google Chrome will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and will offer users a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.

This is an interesting annnouncement, said Alan Lord of open source consultancy The Open Learning Centre. "It's going to be a big boost for open source, Google has already been incredible successful in the other stuff that it's done and this, and the recent WAVE announcement, shows that it's set to become a monopoly." In fact, Lord said that he was wondering whether Google could become such a monopoly that it should be broken up as AT&T was.

Lord dismissed claims that this could be a blow for existing open source vendors such as Red Hat and Caononical, makers of Ubuntu. "Because Google is targeting netbooks initially, I see little clash," he said. "And even when Chrome OS moves to other machines, there's nothing stopping the likes of Red Hat building on that - that's true open source," he said.

Pichai and Upsaid said that Chrome would be available for users by the end of 2010. A Microsoft spokeswoman said that the company was not commenting on Google's annnouncement at this stage.

Yesterday Google removed the Beta tag from many of its productivity applications such as Google Mail and Google Docs.