UPDATE: 2:20 p.m. EDT -- Google on Monday responded to the Wall Street Journal's reports of Chrome OS being folded into Android with a blog post saying that "While we’ve been working on ways to bring together the best of both operating systems, there's no plan to phase out Chrome OS."
SAN FRANCISCO -- Google is working on merging its Chrome OS desktop software into Android, the company's far more popular mobile operating system, according to a report Thursday. By combining the two services, Google is hoping to take a bigger slice of the PC market and get its money-making services, including Search and YouTube, on as many devices as possible.
Many experts have expected Google to combine Android and Chrome OS since CEO Sundar Pichai, who previously lead Chrome, was given the reins to the Android team in 2013. Google has been working on merging the two operating systems since then, according to the Wall Street Journal report. However, combining the different software is a trying task, and the earliest Google would show off a combined operating system under the Android brand would be sometime next year.
Though Chrome OS has produced some popular devices -- including many of the best-selling laptops on Amazon.com -- the Google operating system remains a niche product, with just 3 percent of the PC market, according to IDC, the research firm. Android, on the other hand, is a well-known global brand and the world's most popular mobile operating system with 85 percent market share, according to Strategy Analytics.
By working to kill Chrome OS and make Android an operating system that can also support desktop devices, Google hopes more consumers will buy its devices instead of desktops and laptops running Microsoft's Windows operating system.
“Mobile as a computing paradigm is eventually going to blend with what we think of as desktop today,” Pichai said last week during Google parent company Alphabet's third-quarter earnings call.
Among the key benefits to combining Android and Chrome OS is bringing the Google Play store to PCs. Google Play, which is home to more than a million apps, recently began bringing in revenue through sponsored search results, and it is the latest Google service to cross the 1 billion-user mark, Pichai announced last week. By putting Google Play on desktops and laptops, Google could inspire developers to build apps for desktop and laptop devices, and in the long run, potentially poach customers from Windows and Apple Mac OS X devices.