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9th September 2008 |  Written by Guy Levine

Google Chrome Launched

It’s Google’s 10th birthday. Think about that Google in 10 years has come to dominate search and become a leading technology provider challenging the likes of Microsoft and Apple – not bad for a company that can’t even spell it’s own name correctly! Google have also recently launched a new browser to the market called Chrome, which is a huge surprise in many ways and not at all in others. Google are ultimately Google and it’s no surprise given the recent history of what they’ve been doing and investing in.

It is a surprise for many other reasons. There are already three some would say four browsers on the market. We have Internet Explorer hooked into the dominant PC platform, Windows, and it’s no wonder why it dominates. Then there’s Firefox, a far superior browser design, variant of the failed Mozilla, the browser of choice for techies and webmasters largely because of it’s userability with plug ins. Then we have Apple’s Safari, recently launched on Windows the prime browser for Mac’s. Then there’s Opera.

Firefox has about a 20% market share, Safari has a tiny fraction but overtime will probably snail like slowly gain more share. Opera really doesn’t register in the grand scheme of things. Then not surprising, particularly given the recent history of all three search engines that for Google, Chrome’s primary objective is to put a massive dent in Microsoft’s dominance of the browser market.
Dispatch the foe has to be Google’s primary business objective.

Google currently support the Firefox project and have stated this will continue which confirms the previous point. Indeed Chrome actually uses bits of technology from Firefox and Apple. If you read our blog on a regular basis you’ll know how Microsoft is struggling in the search market, hence the failed attempt to buy Yahoo. Makes sense then for Google to have a pop at the dominance of Microsoft in another market. Can Chrome succeed?

Possibly. IE’s total dominance is in the fact that Windows comes pre-packaged with IE, it’s usability however is shocking. When Microsoft won the browser wars and put Mozilla to the sword it’s development stopped which we see still in versions 5.5 and 6.0, web designers were in uproar and are still struggling with the implications today in some respects, Microsoft didn’t care, after all they’d won. Recent attempts have been made with 7.0 to make sure it’s usability and performance aren’t totally shocking compared to Firefox, once Firefox came onto the scene and Microsoft realised they had to do something, which ultimately has meant IE has turned into a poor Firefox clone. Google however when Chrome was launched cunningly put a link from the Google homepage, the most viewed homepage on the web, to download it.

Chrome ultimately is branded as a different, more modern browser. Browsers haven’t much developed from when they first came on the scene, then they just displayed text documents, with images added latter. Much of today’s web particularly social sites make use of more modern media such as video and flash. Chrome is designed primarily to display (load) this content quicker. Site’s programming has become complex particularly with the recent popularity of AJAX in web 2.0 applications and Chrome is designed to load the code of the more complex sites quicker. Chrome if you like is the web 2.0 browser and on that basis alone it can possibly succeed. Chromes other features are:

  • It’s open source
  • Simple tab layout
  • Dynamic Tabs
  • Crash Control Management
  • Importing Settings
  • Simple Downloading

It’s more impressive features are:

Google Search is neatly added to the nav bar, now visit Google without visiting Google.
Create Shortcuts to applications, nicely tied in with Google Gears to enhance offline experience.
Incognito Mode – this is very interesting, you can stop all the spy features in websites such as cookie creation. The important question is are then Google’s own spy features disabled? Economically it makes sense for Google to enhance these not disable them. Privacy is currently a big issue in the US with law makers. Do Google care? Probably not, however the Google – Yahoo Adsense deal is another issue. Google may have well added this feature to Chrome to give it some leeway. A compromise on Privacy would be beneficial to push the Adsense deal through.

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