Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google has done with its newly announced open-source Chrome browser:

Despite Google's recent extension of its partnership with Mozilla, it was just a matter of time before Google got too big for anyone else's browser and decided to write its own. Or, rather, it was just a matter of time before Google decided to borrow the best of others' open-source projects and extend them, as this is what Google generally does.
And so Google has done with its newly announced open-source Chrome 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.
So writes Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google, and so plans Google. The difference this time is that Google will actually have to contribute code back, making its Chrome browser an experiment in community building, rather than merely community borrowing. It's also an experiment in distributing software, not merely services, an area in which Google has not made much of a dent to date.
Ars technica thinks Chrome sounds really innovative, what with its ability to segment the processes running in different browser tabs, among other things. Mozilla's John Lilly welcomes the competition and continued partnership with Google, but can't help but strike an ominous chord:
...[T]he parts where [Google and Mozilla are] different, with different missions, will continue to be separate. Mozilla's mission is to keep the Web open and participatory....
Lilly doesn't say it, but presumably he could have finished this sentence, "...And Google's mission is to drive as much traffic and advertisements through its sites and services." This is where I believe Chrome could both thrive and stagnate.
Google has been bankrolling Mozilla's Firefox, and it may well be that Google sees further life, at least in the short term, for a strong Firefox, as ZDNet's Larry Dignan suggests. But I can't imagine Google enjoying this whole "sharing" thing for very long. Not if it's successful with Chrome.
Nor can I imagine web developers getting excited about developing for yet another browser. It took years for anyone to start developing for Firefox, and no one got excited about developing for Flock or other spin-offs of Firefox. Google has the brand equity to make people pay attention to Chrome in the way start-up Flock never did, but could Chrome be Google's Zune moment?
In the media player world, the iPod reined despite Microsoft coming out with a good-but-not-good-enough alternative. Firefox has managed to gain a 20 percent market share after years of fighting: 72 percent of web users still slum with Internet Explorer. Are these magically going to dump Internet Explorer just because Google showed up to the party? Unlikely.
Indeed, successful as Google has been, it's even more notable for its many failures. Take a look at all the products and services it offers. How many do you use? For that matter, of how many have you even heard? A handful?
Many will suggest that Google's entrance to this market, like others that it has entered (Froogle with comparison shopping, anyone?), is game over for Firefox. I couldn't disagree more, and here's a key reason:
Google has failed in its attempts to become a software distributor. Yes, the Google Desktop has attracted some fans, but nowhere near a respectable minority. Google knows how to piggyback on others' desktop clients. It knows how to monetize web services fantastically well. It knows far less about driving downloads and uptake of its products, excepting its core search functionality.
The only Chrome lining I see in this experiment from Google, at least in the short term, is that Google will have to contribute source code back to Mozilla, Apple, and the other projects and organizations from which it will be borrowing code. Google has done much better lately with the open-source development community, more freely contributing back to a range of projects. Google Chrome will accentuate and improve this.
But for now, Google Chrome is unlikely to change anyone's lives...or market share. I think Google's forays into new markets like this is good for the industry, and good for Google. I welcome the move. I'm just not holding my breath for world domination anytime soon.

Google Takes Aim at Microsoft
Google Inc. is releasing its own Web browser in a long-anticipated move aimed at countering the dominance of Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer and ensuring easy access to its market-leading search engine.
The Mountain View-based company took the unusual step of announcing its latest product on the Labor Day holiday after it prematurely sent out a comic book drawn up to herald the new browser's arrival.
The free browser, called "Chrome," is supposed to be available for downloading Tuesday in more than 100 countries for computers running on Microsoft's Windows operating system. Google said it's still working on versions compatible with Apple Inc.'s Mac computer and the Linux operating system.
Mozilla Chief Welcomes Google Chrome
Will Google Chrome sink Firefox? Not exactly, according to Mozilla chief executive John Lilly.
"More smart people thinking about ways to make the Web good for normal human beings is good, absolutely," Lilly wrote in a blog post. "Competition often results in innovation … I'd expect that to continue now that Google has thrown their hat in the ring."
Google announced Monday that it has been hard at work on an open-source browser known as Chrome, a beta version of which will be released in 100 countries on Tuesday.
Google's entry into the browser market means "there's another interesting browser that users can choose," Lilly wrote. "More than ever, we need to build software that people care about and love."
Chrome's release will not significantly affect Mozilla's relationship with Google, Lilly said. "Mozilla and Google have always been different organizations, with different missions, reasons for existing, and ways of doing things," he wrote.
Mozilla has collaborated with Google on the development of Breakpad, a system used for crash reports, as well as security features that have been built into Firefox. Mozilla and Google also recently expanded their financial partnership until November 2011.
"All those aligned efforts should continue," Lilly predicted. "And similarly, the parts where we're different, with different missions, will continue to be separate."
Mozilla will continue to be a non-profit organization focused on keeping the Web "open and participatory," Lilly wrote.
Nonetheless, Lilly touted upcoming features for Firefox 3.1, like open video and a next-generation Javascript engine, dubbed TraceMonkey, as well as Weave, Ubiquity and Firefox Mobile. So far, Google has not indicated whether Chrome will be made available as a mobile browser, or whether developers will have to modify the open-source code to get it to run on mobile devices.
Earlier this summer, Mozilla released Firefox 3, which garnered 8 million downloads in 24 hours.
Blogger Kevin Newcomb of Search Engine Watch predicted that Chrome is more of a threat to Microsoft's Windows operating system than its browser business.

No comments:

Find here

Home II Large Hadron Cillider News