For those that have been off-line for the last few days and without access to a television or other forms of old media, Google has announced and released the first version of its own web browser called Chrome (see ReadWriteWeb’s extensive coverage).
But do users and developers alike really need another browser? Google says that Chrome recognizes and builds on the best innovations of its competitors, but more importantly has built a web browser from the ground up to cope with the shift towards cloud computing in which the web has “evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications.”
“What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what we set out to build”, says Google.
It’s highly debatable, of course, whether Google can be any more successful than others who have tried to grab market share from Microsoft who bundle its own Internet Explorer with the various flavors of its Windows operating system.
It could be argued, however, that whatever Chrome’s eventual market share, it serves as a win-win for Google. Here’s why:
Chrome’s technology and philosophy will gain market share
The whole web app-centric design and philosophy of the browser may also inspire others to follow e.g. if one ‘tab’ crashes it doesn’t impact the other open pages/apps.
Less money to pay out to competing browsers for ‘search’
Even a percentage point of market share is good for Google. Either because users ditch Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for Chrome, and in doing so move to Google.com for search and away from Windows Live OR users move from other competing browsers such as Mozilla’s Firefox or Apple Safari, both of which Google pays to have the default search box set to Google.com.
The mobile web
Google has already confirmed that a version of Chrome will eventually be rolled into Android, the company’s own mobile operating system. So, like Apple’s sudden decision to release a Windows version of Safari (around the time that the iPhone was announced), adoption of Chrome will help serve developers writing Android-optimized versions of their web apps by having a desktop browser based on the same code/rendering engine and vice versa. Internet Explorer may dominate on the desktop but it barely has market share on mobile phones. Which browser will dominate the mobile web is still up for grabs.
What do readers think? With the release of Chrome, can Google possibly lose?