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Google Chrome What Does it Mean? – It’s Official – The Search Wars Just Turned into Operating System War September 1, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
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SEARCH WARS now OPERATING SYSTEM WAR – It’s official the search war just turned into the Web 2.0 operating system war. Philip Lenssen just posted what looks like a early version of what Google will be announcing tomorrow – Google Chrome

Folks this is the operating system war in full action. One between Microsoft and Google. Google is coming out with their own browser called Chrome.

This browser is a direct maneuver to block Microsoft IE8 (and other msft moves) from cutting off Google’s ‘hooks’ in search and desktop environments. People (like me) who have been following Google since their inception know that they have infested the desktop with little ‘hooks’ into search which translated into adwords and adsense – e.g. toolbar, tracking, and other services. These little hooks provide the superior user experience in navigation and search as well as power the money printing machine at Google (their ad business).

Google’s dominance in search and user navigation experience is at risk with IE8. Why? Because Microsoft’s window of opportunity to leverage their current (and eroding) monopoly in their operating system and browser market share is closing. This Chrome product is a direct answer to that Microsoft push.

Google’s browser is just that – a competitive strategy to maintain their stronghold and defend their current search offering.

Chrome – Beyond Search

Chrome goes beyond search. Google having a browser (Chrome) is strategic. It’s just one piece of the user environment (aka the edge software) that Google needs to own to have a fully functional operating system. By making Chrome open source Google sends a message to the army of software developers that the Google platform is worthy to develop ontop of. Also Google garners the support from a growing and rabid community of developers while deflect any policy and antitrust discussions.

From a platform perspective Chrome as an open source development project increases the range of edge devices that the software can be ported to. I am talking about Android both phone and set top box environments. Open sourcing the project is good for developers and if played right great for Google. We will see which company is friendlier to developers – meaning how does each platform vendor incorporate new developer technology.

Impact on Startups

I am very bullish on Chrome as a good thing to push competition and innovation. It will be a good thing for startups to leverage this massive platform shift. For startups it’s an opportunity if you can see the vision of these platforms then intersect a business or technology deal into it.

Good Luck Google and I hope to see startups and 3rd party technology in the platform. For me success will be judged by the user experience and the amount of 3rd party participation. Google will fail if they can’t build a developer ecosystem around their platform.

From Phil Lenssen on the details on Google Chrome – Thanks Phil for breaking this story. This is a big deal.

Google gives the technical details into a project of theirs: an open source browser called Google Chrome. The book points to www.google.com/chrome, but I can’t see anything live there yet. In a nut-shell, here’s what the comic announces Google Chrome to be:

  • Google Chrome is Google’s open source browser project. As rumored before under the name of “Google Browser”, this will be based on the existing rendering engine Webkit. Furthermore, it will include Google’s Gears project.
  • The browser will include a JavaScript Virtual Machine called V8, built from scratch by a team in Denmark, and open-sourced as well so other browsers could include it. One aim of V8 was to speed up JavaScript performance in the browser, as it’s such an important component on the web today. Google also say they’re using a “multi-process design” which they say means “a bit more memory up front” but over time also “less memory bloat.” When web pages or plug-ins do use a lot of memory, you can spot them in Chrome’s task manager, “placing blame where blame belongs.”
  • Google Chrome will use special tabs. Instead of traditional tabs like those seen in Firefox, Chrome puts the tab buttons on the upper side of the window, not below the address bar.
  • The browser has an address bar with auto-completion features. Called ’omnibox’, Google says it offers search suggestions, top pages you’ve visited, pages you didn’t visit but which are popular amd more. The omnibox (“omni” is a prefix meaning “all”, as in “omniscient” – “all-knowing”) also lets you enter e.g. “digital camera” if the title of the page you visited was “Canon Digital Camera”. Additionally, the omnibox lets you search a website of which it captured the search box; you need to type the site’s name into the address bar, like “amazon”, and then hit the tab key and enter your search keywords.
  • As a default homepage Chrome presents you with a kind of “speed dial” feature, similar to the one of Opera. On that page you will see your most visited webpages as 9 screenshot thumbnails. To the side, you will also see a couple of your recent searches and your recently bookmarked pages, as well as recently closed tabs.
  • Chrome has a privacy mode; Google says you can create an “incognito” window “and nothing that occurs in that window is ever logged on your computer.” The latest version of Internet Explorer calls this InPrivate. Google’s use-case for when you might want to use the “incognito” feature is e.g. to keep a surprise gift a secret. As far as Microsoft’s InPrivate mode is concerned, people also speculated it was a “porn mode.”
  • Web apps can be launched in their own browser window without address bar and toolbar. Mozilla has a project called Prism that aims to do similar (though doing so may train users into accepting non-URL windows as safe or into ignoring the URL, which could increase the effectiveness of phishing attacks).
  • To fight malware and phishing attempts, Chrome is constantly downloading lists of harmful sites. Google also promises that whatever runs in a tab is sandboxed so that it won’t affect your machine and can be safely closed. Plugins the user installed may escape this security model, Google admits.

Update:

Kara Swisher has some insight. I like how she talks about the cold war moving to a frontal attack. Other notable posts – Mathew Ingram as always has laser focus post and Marshall at RWW – hints to what I called on BroadDev.com as the Modern Browser.

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