Unless you were under a rock or still following the Michael Jackson coverage on CNN, you already heard yesterday’s news that Google is planning to release a new operating system based on their new web browser, Google Chrome.

So far, most of the articles I’ve come across have been focused on the obvious question: how will this affect Microsoft’s Windows OS and the rivalry between the two companies?

But I think it goes deeper than a mere battle between two computing Goliaths and, of course, that means money. Of course, money is at the heart of anything a company does and, in Google’s case, that often has to do with how it displays ads to everyone and their mother.

So what does an operating system have to do with advertising? The amount of time people spend in front of their computers and the programs they interact with while they do it. If my thinking is anything along the lines of what is being talked about in Google’s boardroom, people will be more likely to use the rest of Google’s suite of web-based applications (Gmail, Docs, Reader, Maps, etc.) as they use Google Chrome OS.

Makes their announcement the day before that Google Apps has moved out of beta (including Gmail, which has been in beta for five years) seem less coincidental, doesn’t it?

Google knows it doesn’t it doesn’t have to have its top talent working in search to move closer to world dominance—no matter how many Bings come into the market. Their new bread and butter is keeping people engaged with their products and making sure the ads keep rolling in. And all that takes is making sure people are glued to their computer screens, where Google runs everything.

Much different than Microsoft’s challenge, which is to keep selling crappy machines at large volume.

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