Thanks, Google, for livening up what’s been a slow news week. The Mountain View company is taking clear aim at Microsoft, announcing late yesterday that it is developing its own operating system and essentially calling Microsoft obsolete. “[T]he operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web,” according to Google’s blog. That’s the equivalent of Wild Bunch action in normally stately Silicon Valley.

The Chrome OS will be open source and sleek, designed primarily for netbooks. Interesting, but not revolutionary, nor wholly unexpected. It’s the announcement’s symbolic weight that matters.

What particular aspects of Microsoft product does Google find unacceptable? Here’s their list, which sounds even better if you read it in a Ross Perot voice:

“We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files. Even more importantly, they don't want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates. And any time our users have a better computing experience, Google benefits as well by having happier users who are more likely to spend time on the Internet.”

Robert Scoble hints that Microsoft has a big reveal next Monday, and that Google’s announcement was a preemptive move. Nothing like a little PR war to liven up these lazy days of summer, Scoble leaking grammatically vague embargoed hints on FriendFeed, readers acting like Dan Brown characters trying to decipher them.

Thank goodness for social media, enhancing the news with eighth-grade-dating drama.

By Mark Alvarez