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Google aims for Microsoft's heart with the new browser

Kiruba Shankar  |  New Delhi 

At first, it was hard to believe the latest news about a brand new browser from Google. I was easily tempted to file it under ‘Fun rumors’. Afterall, Google is notorious for launching many ‘fun’ projects. Think Google Cola, Google Snail Mail.

When I began to realise that it is in fact a real project, the enormity of consequences for us internet users slowly began to sink it. This is what many people call a ‘Game Changer’.

On Sunday news about Google Chrome, the name of the new browser, started to leak out in the blogosphere and on Monday, Google officially acknowledged and confessed that a new browser will indeed be unveiled.

Google’s reputation of entering a mature product space and capturing mindspace and market share using innovative improvement is well-known.

Gmail is a perfect example. Now, can Google do to browsers what it did to emails? There’s early indications it might.

Built right from scratch, the new browser is touted to have many advantages. First, its simplicity. Must like its homepage, Chrome is clean and fast. It aims to get out of your way and get to where you want to go.

Some improvements are near invisible. For example, each of the tabs in a window will be powered separately. What does it really mean? It means that if one tab gets corrupted, the browser doesn’t crash that making you lose the rest of the tabs as well.

Currently both Internet explorer and Firefox has this problem. It’s definite that Google will seamlessly integrate almost all its products into the browser thus making it easier to use.

Its important to understand that Google isn’t getting into a browser war. It’s not the browser market but the operating systems market that it’s after. It’s aiming to strike at the heart of Microsoft - Windows. Google is aiming to eventually move the operating system online making an important move in cloud computing. It did that with the Office suite a few years and that has definitely made a dent in Microsoft’s strategy so much so that they are pulling their socks up and getting mighty serious about Software-as-a-Service model.

Now, why would Google come out with its own browser when it has such a wonderful relationship with Mozilla Foundation, the makers of the FireFox browser? Afterall, their mutual relationship has helped both of them earn millions of dollars every year. One reason could be that Google is thinking long-term.

It clearly has a “Lets boil the ocean” dream. And if it wants to be seriously capture the all-important operating systems market, the browser is an important via media. It’s thinking beyond 2011, when its contact with Mozilla expires. Besides, both Firefox and Chrome can coexist helping it take on its main rival, the Internet Explorer.

Ultimately, competition is good. It is what pushes better innovation and thus better products. And here’s hoping Chrome will do a Gmail.

The author is CEO of Business Blogging and Founder Director of F5ive Technologies

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First Published: Thu, September 04 2008. 00:00 IST
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