Children of the Sun > Rise of the Machines


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So who's trying out the new Google browser?  I will...though it appears to be unavailable at the moment.

--- Quote ---Microsoft Faces New Browser Foe in Google

The browser war is back on.

This time, Microsoft’s opponent is Google, a familiar foe.

On Tuesday, Google will release a free Web browser called Chrome that the company said would challenge Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, as well as the Firefox browser.

The browser is a universal doorway to the Internet, and the use of Internet software and services is rapidly growing. Increasingly, the browser is also the doorway to the Web on cellphones and other mobile devices, widening the utility of the Web and Web advertising. Google, analysts say, cannot let Microsoft’s dominant share of the browser market go without a direct challenge.

Google already competes with Microsoft in online search and Internet advertising. They both make operating software for cellphones. Google is increasingly competing with Microsoft head-on in software that handles basic productivity like word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and e-mail programs. Google has Web-based software in these markets that are low-cost or free alternatives to Microsoft’s lucrative desktop software.

Despite the frequent clashes with Microsoft — including the role Google played in thwarting an attempted acquisition of Yahoo — Google has come out on top only in search and search advertising. But Google does not have to win the browser war. Strategically, opening yet another front against Microsoft forces it to divert resources to defend franchises.

Now, Chrome heightens the rivalry and marks a shift for Google, which has strongly backed Firefox, the open-source browser that has gained about a fifth of the market against the dominant Internet Explorer.

Google’s browser project has been under way for more than a year, a person close to the company said.

In a brief statement, Microsoft welcomed the new entry and expressed confidence that people would prefer Explorer, which is on every Windows PC sold.

“The browser landscape is highly competitive,” said Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of the Internet Explorer group. “But people will choose Internet Explorer 8 for the way it puts the services they want right at their fingertips, respects their personal choices about how they want to browse and, more than any other browsing technology, puts them in control of their personal data online.”

Google has clashed with Microsoft before, saying it had designed IE to gain ground in search, a market where Google is the runaway leader.

After Microsoft introduced IE 7 in 2006, Google complained that the browser’s search box favored Microsoft’s search service. Microsoft responded and made modifications, and a federal judge overseeing the antitrust consent decree against Microsoft determined that the browser design was not anticompetitive.

The first round of the browser wars in the 1990s led to a sweeping federal antitrust suit against Microsoft for the tactics it used to stifle competition from the commercial pioneer in browsing software, Netscape Communications. A federal appeals court ruled in 2001 that Microsoft had repeatedly violated the nation’s antitrust laws. Microsoft later reached a settlement with the Bush administration, which included some sanctions but left the company free to bundle browsing software with Windows, which runs more than 90 percent of all personal computers.

Microsoft recently stepped up its own browser development efforts, given the increasing importance of the browser and signs that Firefox is nibbling at its lead. Microsoft released a new version, IE8, last week to generally favorable reviews.

Microsoft still holds 73 percent of the browser market, according to Net Applications, a research firm. The market share for Firefox has climbed to 19 percent, while Apple’s Safari has 6 percent.

Chrome also puts Google in competition with an ally, the Mozilla Corporation, which manages the Firefox project. Just last week, Google renewed its deal with Mozilla. Under the arrangement, Google Search is the home page for Firefox and Google is its default search bar, and Google makes substantial payments to Mozilla. The agreement runs through November 2011, and will continue.

Google’s cooperation with Mozilla, however friendly, meant that it was ceding control of the Internet’s vital gateway technology — and the dominant supplier of that technology is its archrival, Microsoft.

Given the increasing importance of the browser and its widening competition with Microsoft, Google’s entry into the market is not surprising, said John Lilly, chief executive of Mozilla.

“It would be more surprising to me if Google didn’t do something in the browser space,” Mr. Lilly said. “After all, Google is 100 percent on the Web.”

Google’s move, he said, would put “more competitive pressure on us to keep coming up with great browser technology. But having more smart people competing to improve browser technology and the user experience is a good thing.”

Mr. Lilly also noted that Mozilla, while a private company, is entirely owned by the Mozilla Foundation. The browser project was begun to provide an alternative to Microsoft’s browser. “The mission of Mozilla is to keep the Web open, a pure public benefit,” he said. “Others have other motivations and Google’s move also serves to highlight our position in the marketplace.”

Chrome will be available to download in a test, or beta, version on Tuesday, Google announced on its Web site Monday afternoon. The browser will run on Windows. Google is also working on Chrome versions for Apple’s Macintosh, as well as Linux, an open source operating system.

In a curious twist, Google made its online announcement after its plans appeared as a digital “comic book” that was posted by Google Blogoscoped, a Web site that tracks the Internet search giant.

According to Google’s Web site post, by Sundar Pichai, an engineering director and vice president for product management, Chrome is designed for speed and ease of use.

But the other design goal, it seems, was to make sure Google could control how well the growing range of Web-based software it is developing will perform, instead of having to run on a Microsoft browser.

“Under the hood,” Mr. Pichai wrote, “we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today’s complex Web applications much better.”

Later, he wrote, “we improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built a more powerful JavaScript engine, V8, to power the next generation of Web applications that aren’t even possible in today’s browsers.”

Chrome is based on an open-source rendering engine, WebKit, and an open-source version of Google’s Gears technology. Chrome will also be able to run in a privacy mode, InCognito, so that no information about a person’s browsing is collected. With IE8 last week, Microsoft added a privacy mode of browsing, called InPrivate.

The privacy features, analysts note, could undercut the Internet advertising business of Google, but also Microsoft, Yahoo and others that depend on ads aimed at users based on their browsing behavior. But it is unclear, analysts say, how large a share of users will opt for the privacy browsing mode and give up the convenience of having a browser store sites recently visited in tabbed settings for easy navigation.
--- End quote ---

Sounds like fun...

God, read the Scott McCloud comic:

I stayed up late reading it because I'm a whore for that guy and his comics.

So anyways, Google is basing Chrome (Chromium?) on the same engine as Safari (WebKit), which is a good idea. The comic talks a bit about why they're using WebKit, which probably interests none of you.

Google is bringing a lot of nice new innovations to the browser sphere, though. It's a good time to be not-Microsoft. Anyone checked out the IE 8 betas? It's a pig.

Yeah, the comic was fun.  I'm really looking forward to it... Looks like it should be up within the next hour or so.  Press conference at 11am Left Coast Time. 

Faster, better, prettier, smarter... I'd love for IE to just curl up and die under the porch.

Download will be up at noon Pacific.


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