Browser wars? On steroids. When Google (GOOG)
announced on Sept. 1 that it was releasing its own Web browser, Chrome,
the immediate buzz was that the bruising battles over browser
domination, played out between Netscape and Microsoft (MSFT) in the late 1990s, were back on.
Google, though, has much bigger ambitions. The goal, say Google execs,
is not merely to win share of an existing market, but to change the
very nature of Internet browsing—and the way we use computers. If
Chrome works as planned, it will lead much of computing from the
desktop—Microsoft's domain—toward remote data centers. These, in
Google's lingo, are known as the "cloud." Google runs the biggest and
most efficient data centers on earth, and moving much of the world's
computing from desktops into its clouds is the heart of the company's
strategy. "Google really believes the future of the Web is running
applications on the Web," says Danny Sullivan, who runs Calafia
Consulting, a Web consulting firm. "They want to be leading the
As this battle commences, Microsoft enjoys a towering head start.
Its Internet Explorer dominates the browser market, with 75% share. And
Microsoft is launching its latest upgrade, IE8, which is loaded with
new features. Google's Chrome, by contrast, appears bare-bones. Its
power, say Google engineers, will come from its ability to run
applications faster and more securely, especially those hosted outside
the PC, on the cloud. Unlike Google's top-secret search algorithms or
the proprietary software it uses to carry out its searches, Chrome was
born as an open-source system.
Asking More of Browsers
To understand what's new, think of Netscape, the browsing sensation
14 years ago at the dawn of the World Wide Web. The goal back then was
simply to open and read Web pages. This is still important, of course,
whether Web surfers are reading a story in The New York Times or checking out a friend's home page on MySpace. Most browsers today, including Mozilla Firefox and Apple's (AAPL) Safari, have grown to provide that Web browsing service.
Google, though, wants people to use browsers to do much more,
particularly to run software applications, like word processing,
spreadsheets, video editing, and conferencing. In Google's scheme, the
browser is a gateway into the clouds, one that will eventually be
tapped from anywhere—a PC, a mobile phone, perhaps even a television.
And many of the applications available in the clouds, from calendars to
e-mail, will likely compete directly with Microsoft's dominant suite of
Office applications, including Excel and Outlook. Says Google
co-founder Sergey Brin:
"What we have is a lightweight engine for running Web applications that
doesn't have the baggage of an operating system." Investors on Sept. 2
drove up Google shares nearly 2%, to 465.25.To know more, CLICK HERE...
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