Opinion – Google Chrome

The first thing I thought when I heard about Google Chrome was "why?"

Let’s face it, we are not short of Browsers. Windows users have IE, Firefox, Opera and even Safari to name just the market leaders. Even Linux users have several to choose from. These guys are pretty stable, well featured and powerful. So Chrome isn’t really needed – in fact, Chrome will hurt competition by fragmenting the non-IE market.

Firefox is on version 3, stable, fast and a good alternative to IE – but it only has a smallish market share because most people are happy to use IE. Chrome won’t attack the IE market but it will potentially further compete in the non-IE market, which is not helpful to Firefox or Opera.

Looking at the features there isn’t anything really cool or radical in the feature set. The process-per-tab is interesting but not unique. Most of the others are found in other browsers.

The rationale for Chrome must therefore be internal to Google. V8 is a clue. Google has obviously been limited by JavaScript and wanted to push a more powerful browser-based scripting engine. I don’t think that is the real reason though.

I believe that Google understands that their entire business is controlled through and by the web browser. Which they have no control or influence over. Google also collects lots of information about our behaviour and preferences which they use, sell and exploit in pursuit of their business goals. At present that’s only the case when we are using Google’s applications – search, mail etc.

But if Google owns the browser as well, just think they can not only track what we search for, but everything we do on the browser – the links we click, the text we type etc. It isn’t currently part of Chrome that I am aware of, but if they get a substantial user base the temptation to add it will be become very powerful.

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