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Google software luminaries such as Unix co-creator Ken Thompson believe that they can help boost both computing power and programmers' abilities with an experimental programming language project called Go.

And on Tuesday, they're taking the veil of secrecy off Go, releasing what they've built so far and inviting others to join the newly open-source project.

The computing industry is in constant tension between making a fresh start and evolving the current technology. The limits of today's hardware designs and programming technology led the Go team to take the former approach.

"We found some of those problems to be frustrating and decided that the only way to address them was linguistically," said Rob Pike, a principal software engineer working on Go. "We're systems software people ourselves. We wanted a language to make our lives better."

So far, Google's Go project consists of the programming language, compilers to convert what programmers write into software that computers can run, and a runtime package that endows Go programs with a number of built-in features. It's most similar to C and C++, but, Pike said, it employs modern features and has enough versatility that it could even be used within Web browsers.



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