Why Google Chrome Might Shine
Google has the tech world atwitter with its launch of a beta today for its
own browser, called Google
. Keep an eye on this one; it has a strong chance to make a serious
dent in Microsoft's browser dominance.
My view doesn't have much to do with the specifics of this beta browser release.
Early reviews, such as Walter Mossberg's at the Wall Street Journal,
put it neck-and-neck with Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8. Read Mossberg's take
Instead, my view is that Google will be competitive with Microsoft here because
the company simply has to be. In order for Google to continue to grow and for
its Web-centric vision of both home computer use and business computer apps
to come to fruition, the browser simply has to be better. It can't hang while
you're writing an e-mail. It can't crash while you're halfway through editing
a document. It can't chug endlessly when too many browser tabs are open. If
the browser keeps doing those things, you're going to go back to using Microsoft
Judging by the emphasis in Google's comic
book introducing the new browser, the major design objectives in Google
Chrome were improving speed and stability. It seems very geeky and 1990s, until
you think about how critical a fast, stable browser is to Google's business
There's the concern that Microsoft can shut down competitors by making competitive
Web apps incompatible with IE, thereby blocking the bulk of Internet users from
accessing the apps. I think such a naked exercise of power on Microsoft's part
is unlikely at this point. The more basic issue is that Microsoft has no incentive
to make the browser any better unless the competition is hot on its heels. Microsoft's
current business model is built on the idea that customers, especially in the
business world, live in Microsoft Office and occasionally pop onto the Web to
find some fact, then pop back into Office. IE is currently good enough for that.
The Firefox project showed that an innovative approach could shake up Microsoft's
dominance, and force Microsoft to work harder and do better. But Firefox didn't
have much of a financial dog in the fight. Google does. (And unlike Netscape,
Google isn't trying to build a business powerhouse from a strong browser. It's
trying to build a strong browser from a business powerhouse.)
I'm not saying Google Chrome will beat Microsoft on market share. I'm saying
that by investing in a browser now, and continuing to invest in the browser,
Google will force Microsoft to keep making IE better and will press Microsoft
to support standards that emerge outside Redmond.
What's your take? Could Google Chrome usher in a new era of browsing speed
and stability? If so, would that help you improve the technology solutions you
offer or just harm your efforts to sell Microsoft products? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Scott Bekker on September 02, 2008 at 11:58 AM