Thursday, September 11, 2008

Google Chrome

Unless you have been living on Mars, you will have heard about Google's new browser called Chrome. It has had worldwide attention and lots of people blogging about it. I have chosen to let the dust settle and then give my views on it. I don't want to get into the technicalities of it, like speed, compatibility, comparison to other browsers etc, as there are plenty of other blogs that have done that.
The main question is why have they (Google) decided to bring out a browser when it is common knowledge that they support the Mozilla Firefox browser. The answer I feel is not to just to be a competitor to Microsoft's browser, but is in fact related to their upcoming Android platform for mobile devices. I'll try and explain my thoughts on that one. When I was considering buying an Iphone I decided to start using the desktop version of Safari to try and familiarize myself with that so that when I got an Iphone I would find it easier to use the mobile version of Safari on the phone. I think that the same will happen with Chrome. Google have openly said a mobile version of it will be available for Android and what better way to promote it than produce a Desktop version first, so that people can become familiar with. Imagine the revenue that Google could extract from having their own browser on a billion phones and not have to pay a cent to anybody else (as they do at present to Mozilla to have their search engine on the default homepage). This I believe is another very clever and strategic move by Google, who continue to support the open source software model (unlike Microsoft), but yet still look to develop a dominant position in all areas of this new web 2.0 arena. Interestingly their browser is largely based upon Apple's open source webkit not Mozilla Firefox. I also think that if Mozilla don't hurry up with the development of their mobile browser they could miss the boat altogether and become a small player in the desktop market like Opera has.
A new round of the browser wars has begun, Jim, but not as we know it, this one is going to be more focussed on the mobile market.

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