Google has announced that it is working on a new operating system, designed initially for netbooks.

Known as Chrome OS, the new open source operating system was announced in a post on Google's blog.

The company describe Chrome OS as "a lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks", for people who spend their lives online and is a natural extension of their Chrome browser launched last year.

The Chrome OS will be opened up to open source developers in 2009 and Google says it is already in discussion with OEMs to see the operating system installed in new products.

It's perhaps an unsurprising move considering that Google already have a mobile phone platform – Android – as well as a suite of browser-based software applications that have just emerged from beta.

Whilst Google doesn't go into much detail, they do declare it is "a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel". They go on to say that it will be browser-based, supporting existing web technologies, so there should be no shortage of developers with the existing skills ready to get to work.