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Internet search giant Google has lifted the lid on its operating system, known as Chrome OS.
The free and open source system is initially aimed at low-cost netbooks and does away with many of the features of a traditional program.
All applications are designed to run in a web browser and all the user's data is stored on Google's servers.
Engineers from the firm said the first computers running the system would be available before the end of 2010.
"We are trying to offer a choice for users," said Sundar Pichai, vice-president of product management, during an event at the firm's headquarters in California.
"This model of computing is fundamentally different."
The event follows the recent launch of Microsoft's Windows 7 and Apple's operating system upgrade, Snow Leopard.
Google first announced its intention to build an operating system in July this year.
The firm has designed the system around its Chrome browser. The program was released 14 months ago and already has 40m regular users, the firm said.
"It's very familiar and intuitive（直覺的） to users - most people know how to use the browser," said Mr Pichai.
All programs or applications - such as word processing and e-mail - run in different tabs in the browser.
"There are no conventional desktop applications," said Mr Pichai. "That means you don't have to install or update software.
"It's just a browser; a browser with a few modifications."
Mr Pichai said the system was based around speed, simplicity and security.
He showed it booting up in seven seconds.
"We're working very, very, very hard to make that time shorter," he said. "We want Google Chrome OS to be blazingly fast."
He said they wanted it to be like a television, where a computer could be switched on and instantly running and connected to the web.
Google has been able to boost the speed of the system by designing it for specific hardware. The firm said that it would only run on computers using "solid state drives（固態硬盤）" instead of traditional hard drives.
In addition, the firm has been talking to hardware manufacturers to specify which components（組件） to include on finished machines.
This means that the company could "optimise" the code to run as quickly as possible, said Mr Pichai.
He used the demonstration to show the machine doing many common tasks such as playing games and music, as well as reading books and writing text.
Any documents and files created on the computer were automatically synced and saved on Google's servers, said Matthew Papakipos, an engineer working on the system.
As a result, he added, anybody who lost their computer would be able to buy a new machine and easily recover all their data.
"In a matter of seconds, all the data syncs back to the machine."
Although the firm envisages（面對，想象） most tasks will be done online, it will also offer the capability to use some programs when there is no connection.
It already offers a similar feature for programs such as Gmail and Google Docs using its Gears program.
Initially, the firm envisages people will use the operating system on a second, portable machine.
Memory intensive tasks, such as video editing, would require a more powerful machine.