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Google Is Testing Chrome OS for Windows

Stocks in this article: GOOG MSFT

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Google (GOOG) is in the midst of an interesting experiment. The latest developer's version of its Chrome Web browser for Windows 8 contains code which will ultimately allow users to run an operating system within an operating system.

The big question is why?

According to the company's Developer's blog, the new browser software runs within Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 8 OS (not Windows RT). It mimics the Chrome operating system that powers Chromebook computers. Google's OS is, in reality, just a browser that also runs an ever-growing number of specialized Web links and applets.

This future version of the Chrome browser/OS will take advantage of Window's Metro interface.

Chrome OS on Windows bears a little resemblance to current versions of the software. Instead of opening just the usual browser window,  a user can choose to be greeted with a revised user interface. The new software contains the browser as well as a panel of icons for quick access to favorite destinations. Those destinations will, of course, include Gmail, Google+, Google Drive and YouTube.

To achieve this Google utilizes the new mode of operation recently sanctioned by Microsoft. Created especially for Web browsers, other programs are now allowed to open directly in a Windows 8's "Metro"-like mode.

It's an experiment with a questionable payoff. Some believe it's an easy way for Google to port its application ecosystem to Windows. If that turns out to be the case it might be a feature that Microsoft will need to address.

On the other hand, this is only an experiment -- at least for now. At the moment the idea is part of a developer's test build. There are no assurances that Google will make this part of a full Chrome browser release.

But if Google decides to go forward and use the idea in its "stable channel" release of software then it could turn into a battle royale for control of your future PC's desktop.

Written by Gary Krakow in New York

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