Update: Google Chrome is now available. I’m only starting to test it but it seems very, very fast, intuitive, and impressive.
——– earlier ———–
Google will soon launch an internet browser in what promises to be one of the most significant online developments in some time. Based on the comic book intro they’ve used to warm up users to the new application, Google Chrome will effectively turn the browser into an operating system. Perhaps the most significant change is that Chrome will open new tabbed windows for each application it runs (much like MS Windows). This feature should help isolate problems during browsing and Google says it will create a superior environment for running the many embedded applications that are now part of a typical browsing session. I’m not clear yet if this is fundamentally different from opening several internet explorer or FireFox browser windows which is also fairly typical.
In any case Google’s entry into the browser market is likely to shake up the online landscape, where only FireFox and Microsoft IE Explorer have any significant market share at about 20% for FF and about 79% for Microsoft IE. Google promotions of Firefox have been largely responsible for it’s success, so it’ll be interesting to watch how this move affects the browser equation.
Browser software does not monetize directly, but since it is the gateway to the internet it’s a key part of the online revenue equation. Were it not for the antitrust lawsuits against Microsoft it is almost certain that MS would have a much greater search market share as they could have made it much more difficult for users to change their search choices and could have taken advantage of the integration of the browser and the Windows operating system. Thanks to the rules imposed in the Microsoft lawsuits and Google’s superior search, Google has been eating Microsoft’s search lunch for years. This move, unless it backfires, will consolidate Google’s search dominance at the expense of MS and to a much lesser extent Firefox, which is an open source non-profit but also makes tens of millions each year from Google search revenues which are likely to diminish as people move to Google Chrome.