Google enters browser battle

When I was finalising my book manuscript in early 2005, around 94 per cent of all web users used Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, but as I noted on this blog later that year, other browsers – notably Mozilla’s Firefox – were beginning to nibble away at IE’s dominance (see Webware post for latest stats). And earlier this year, I began using a Firefox-based alternative, the ‘social’ browser Flock, in preference to IE. Now it seems I will have another choice. Google is about to launch its own open source browser, Chrome, and the blogosphere is abuzz; for example:

  • According to the BBC, a Chrome Beta for Windows will be available for download from this evening in the UK, and is “designed to be lightweight and fast, and to cope with the next generation of web applications that rely on graphics and multimedia”
  • the BBC’s blog points out: “This is going to mean more work for web developers. It may be based on open standards but undoubtedly web application designers are going to have to take into account the quirks and differences of Chrome to really exploit the browser.”
  • What’s it look like? Webware has a first screenshot (and links to previous Chrome-posts) here.
  • In The cloud’s Chrome lining, Nicholas Carr says Chrome “is the first browser built from the ground up with the idea of running applications rather than displaying pages“… “Chrome is the first cloud browser.” As such, it could even be argued that Chrome is effectively a step on the road to replacing Windows as the operating system behind applications.

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