Google Chrome

September 2, 2008

It was inevitable that Google would some day release their own browser. While in the Google vs. Microsoft wars it seemed as far as browsers broke down on the fields of battle, it came down to Firefox vs. Internet Explorer. There are a couple of interesting issues that come to mind as I await for the beta of Chrome to be released today.

Where will Chrome fit in?
Google's take on the browser seems to promise much, and it had better come through on those promises if it wants to take market share away from Firefox as well as IE. But taking users away from Firefox probably isn't Google's aim. That may end up hurting their tug of war against Microsoft, mainly because IE is already on all windows based computers right out of the box and anyone who looks for a different browser gets Firefox because it has the name for itself as the "Anti-Microsoft" browser, or the "more secure" browser. There are those Google-fan boys that worship anything the company does as pure gold, which will ultimately be the largest voice for Chrome support out on the Internet, especially in the next couple weeks as we get to poke and prod at the beta version. In the end, Google probably won't mind stealing Firefox users. As long as they aren't using IE, they will be happy. I'm sure this will create a rift in the Anti-IE browser community, fighting over Chrome and Firefox as the best alternative to IE.

What I hope to see in Chrome
Chrome sounds very nice on paper. I'm eager to see what their "new take" on the browser is going to look like. There are some obvious features, it will most-likely support all Google products and will have a way to integrate right in to each and every page you are viewing. This way you can look at a map that relates to the site you are on, while writing a blogger post about some new topic, as well as chatting with your friends in the Google Talk app, all while using Google's search to come up with new links for you to peruse. Google Calendar may pop up and notify you of appointments or upcoming birthdays while you have the option of saving any image you see to your Google Picasa account. What I'd really like to see is a mobile version of the browser that will work on Windows Mobile devices so I can get a replacement for the mobile IE, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Google will reserve a mobile version of Chrome specifically for the Google Android mobile phone platform. At some point later they may release their own mobile version but not until Android has the amount of market share they are looking for.

Final Thoughts
I like most Google products, in fact I can't think of one that really is all that bad. The spreadsheet could be a little more robust, but as far as being an online application it does well and has potential. I used Google Desktop when it first came out and while I kind of liked it, it didn't really end up being very useful for me and removed it after a couple months. Chrome will be good a solid browser platform, I'm hoping that the integration of Google widget applications will also provide a good developer API so that others can create their own with easy integration, or even use existing Google Desktop Widgets with a minor tweak or two. As I sit here looking at my Firefox toolbar, I note lots of extensions on my toolbar for various activities. For Chrome to be successful, those extensions will need counter-parts which will most likely take time to develop and also be a major contributing factor to its success as a browser platform.

Looking at the bigger picture, this may also be a first step for Google in writing an operating system to directly compete with Microsoft. As every thing becomes more web-oriented and websites themselves become applications, as the concept of "Cloud Computing" becomes more and more prevalent and concrete, it makes perfect sense for a company like Google and all of the technologies it represents to create an OS that directly operates with the Internet as it source rather than the machine itself that it runs on. It could end up completely changing the way we know computers today and pushing all future hardware into a 1 single compatibility construct that only has the purpose of interacting with the Internet using a Google OS of sorts.

Once the shift of home and business machines changes over to a new medium, it would then push into the mobile devices. Or perhaps more likely, it will be the mobile devices that will be a the forefront of this change. The iPhone is already a product that could be eventually seen as the pioneer product in 10-15 years. Imagine having a single device you carry around with you that integrates into "The Cloud" for all your applications, when at home or the office, it automatically connects to your workstation peripherals. In 20-30 years we could even see bio-engineered versions of this technology directly embedded in people themselves. We live in interesting and exciting times, who knows where we will be in 30 years.


Moody said...

There was an article that talked about Google's aim with Chrome, or atleast one of them. That goal is to load pages faster than the competition because they believe faster page loading means more money to be made in some way or sort.
Another insight was noticed and I think is considerable is the memory usage of Chrome which is as of the current release, far much lesser than even Firefox.
People would appreciate these two features but of course they alone won't sell.

Orbital said...

It would be interesting to see if Google had numbers on people who were frustrated on page load times which in turn hurts Google Adsense revenue. I guess anything is possible.

According to this article on Slashdot that compared IE8 and Chrome to Firefox as far as CPU usage and memory management. Basically it pointed towards both IE8 and Chrome using more resources than Firefox and the inherit differences in how they do their jobs. Firefox is about making one instance of the application handle multiple tabs, while both IE8 and Chrome are pushing multiple instances of themselves for every tab, the latter showing that Google's method was a bit better but overall they are both putting a heavier strain on system resources. IE8 alone uses more memory than Vista.

Cards By Jenna said...

I <3 google chrome!