Google made a big Labour Day announcement that it would launch a beta version of its Google Chrome web browser in more than 100 countries today.
As of this writing, it is not yet available for download, but Google has published a 38 pages Google Chrome Comic Book to illustrate its features.
Launching a new web browser in a crowded market with MS Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Opera would be disaster for other company, but not so for Google. “Because we believe we can add value for users and, at the same time, help drive innovation on the web.”, Google said in its blog post for the announcement.
“All of us at Google spend much of our time working inside a browser. We search, chat, email and collaborate in a browser. And in our spare time, we shop, bank, read news and keep in touch with friends — all using a browser. Because we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if we started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. 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.” — Google
Google Chrome is free and open source, and the first beta will run only on Microsoft Windows operating system. Google said it’s still working on versions for Mac OS X and Linux operating system. And we suppose a version for the Google Android mobile operating system is in the pipeline.
Looking at the feature sets, Google Chrome is indeed looking promising:
- Google Chrome is based on the WebKit open source web browser engine. WebKit was first developed by Apple and is the engine driving Apple’s Safari browser. It is one of the most standard compliant web browser engine.
- Google Chrome sports tab interface as in most other browsers, however the tab is above the address bar, and each tab runs in separate process. If one crashes it will not affect the other tabs. It even comes with a task manager for you to monitor the memory and cpu usage of each tab.
- Google Chrome includes an auto-suggest search feature, there is a section that displays top pages you have visited before, and allows you to do full-text search on your browsing history.
- Google Chrome will have a “incognito” private mode and allow you to browse the web with no history being stored on the computer.
Google Chrome is a strategic move by Google to counter Microsoft Internet Explorer’s dominance (currently at about 75%) in web browser market. There is concern that certain Internet Explorer default settings might diminish traffic to Google’s search engine. A closely knitted Google Chrome with Google Gear (utility for offline access to web application) would make Google’s web applications behave more as desktop application and better compete with Microsoft’s desktop offerings. A step closer in making operating system irrelevant, when running a browser is all a user needs.
How will Google Chrome affect the browser market place is anyone’s guess. Will Google continue to support Firefox and what will become its partnership with Mozilla? (Google recently extended its advertising alliance with Mozilla Firefox through 2011). Google’s name is no guarantee for success. Google however has excited us and the world is now waiting to see if Google can deliver.