Google is preparing to launch an operating system for personal computers next year, taking direct aim at the dominance of Microsoft Corp's Windows franchise.

The system, based on Google's Chrome web browser, is designed for all classes of PCs, from small netbooks to full-sized desktop systems, and will be available in machines from multiple PC makers in the second half of next year, the company said.

Netbooks running the new operating system will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010, the company said, adding it was working with multiple manufacturers.

Google also said Google Chrome OS was a new project, separate from its Android mobile operating software found in smartphones.

All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies, Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google, said in a Google blog.

Google's venture into the PC operating system business caps a steady move into software that has seen it encroach on to Microsoft's turf.

The company launched a number of web-based applications last year to rival Microsoft's Office suite. On Tuesday the firm removed the beta badge that has marked the offering since its inception in a move it said was more friendly to enterprise and corporate customers.

Google has also released the Andriod mobile-phone operating system, as well as the Chrome browser last year - a direct competitor to Microsoft's dominant Internet Explorer.

A number of PC makers had already started to explore using the open-source Android software on low-priced netbook computers - the fastest-growing category of PCs - and the announcement of the Chrome OS replaces that with a purpose-built piece of software that the company said would be better suited to PCs.

We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear - computers need to get better, the Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet company said late Tuesday.

Among the main features, Chrome OS promises a much faster boot time to give users instant access to their e-mail and web browsers.

The new software, based on a core of the open-source Linux operating system, had been designed to run Web-based applications from the ground up, making it the first PC operating system developed from scratch for the internet age.