Google aims at the heart of Microsoft, announces it's going to offer an operating system.

Not content with beating Microsoft up in the search engine department or fielding a serious contender in the browser battle, Google has announced that it’s going to introduce a new operating system (OS) into the competition for your desktop.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company disclosed its plans for the operating system shortly after an online technology news service, Ars Technica, and The New York Times telegraphed the news on their Web sites.

Google is designing the operating system primarily for “netbooks,” a lower-cost, less powerful breed of laptop computers that is becoming increasingly popular among budget-conscious consumers primarily interested in surfing the Web.

The operating system represents Google’s boldest challenge yet to its biggest nemesis — Microsoft.

The OS is being called “Chrome” just as Google’s browser is named. That’s because the OS is being based on that software. Chrome OS is being targeted for the smaller “netbook” computer market which will likely limit its spread but increase the chance that it will gain any traction at all. I’ve never tried the Chrome browser myself but I’ve heard reports from people who have and they generally seem to like it. Their big issue with it is the lack of add-on support but that’s a matter of maturity. Chrome’s still brand-new as browsers go.

Should be interesting to watch. I’ll post more on this as more comes available.