Saturday, September 6, 2008

Why does the world need another browser?

Google launched their browser last week with much fanfare and a rather odd marketing strategy. Sure, Chrome has some nifty new features and curiosity value drove its market share way above Opera in just two days. But does the world need another browser?

Obviously, Google is very worried about Microsoft controlling the majority of browsers since that may put a large dent in their search market share (if people start using the browser box to search and MSFT uses Windows Live Search by default - and it's good enough, will people change the browser box to use Google, or will they be happy with Windows Live Search?) But why couldn't they continue to work with Mozilla? Firefox is, by all accounts, a great browser, and it could be much better with the help of the brains and dollars at Google. Why not back a neutral browser?

Could it be that they don't really want a neutral browser? That they want more influence on the browser market than they could have through influencing a neutral browser maker? That they're hoping that Chrome will become a serious contender, and they can integrate it well with Google's tools, possibly optimize Google AppEngine (a couple other things that they have up their sleeves) for working with Chrome?

Or will they, in future, introduce "features" that track even more of what users do (like what URLs they visit) in the hopes of improving ad targeting? Perhaps because people weren't really installing the Google Toolbar for IE that could have done the same thing(s)?

Or is this just a way to keep the market talking about Google?

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