Google’s Chrome is aimed at Windows, not IE

In my previous post I had talked about Microsoft finally coming up with a worthy reply to Firefox with IE 8. I guess I published that post a tad bit early because Google launched Chrome in the next 12 hours. So here’s a re-analysis of the landscape taking this crucial development into account.

Launching Chrome means Google’s given up on Firefox, they’re even using Webkit as a base and not Mozilla, I think we can safely count Firefox, Opera and Safari as side shows, in the long run, this will be between Google and Microsoft. I’m not going to go into the features or technicals, the web is plastered with those, I’ll analyze the long term impact this will have instead.

Google putting their hat in the ring means we’re in for a long haul, this is no longer about browser but about the an entire marketplace spread between desktop, mobile and web. With Chrome, Google’s taking a shot at Windows, not paltry Internet Explorer.

Back in 1997, during the heady days of Netscape Navigator, Marc Anderseen, Netscape’s co-founder said

The browser, could “reduce Windows to a set of poorly debugged device drivers.”

Google’s browser is posing the exact same threat that Marc Anderseen talked about, only Google’s a much more serious competitor. With their presence in Web and mobile and extending slowly to the Desktop, Google’s posing a serious threat at Microsoft’s core business model.

GigaOm sums up the direct threat to Windows

Google Chrome has faster JavaScript VM, better memory management, better Windows UI rendering, faster text layout and rendering,  and intelligent page navigation in comparison to other more widely adopted browsers. When combined with Google Gears technology, this is as close as you can get to replicating the desktop experience with web applications

In the not so far away future, we’re going to see a confluence between desktop, web and mobile and the slug-fest will be between players that have stakes in all three places (meaning Apple, Microsoft and Google). We’re going to see mobile-only players like Nokia and web-only ones like Yahoo reduced to a minority.

Now it all depends on how far Microsoft lets Google go with Android and Chrome before coming up with a response. I hope it’s not as long as they took in responding to Sun’s JAVA because this time around timing’s gonna count way more.

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About Sachendra Yadav

Mobilist and Social Media enthusiast
This entry was posted in Trends, Web and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Google’s Chrome is aimed at Windows, not IE

  1. Maris says:

    Yes, it is a battle of giants now and I can totally agree with that.

    I have tested Chrome for couple hours and I must say it works great but anyway at the moment I still use FF because of the plugins etc. But in long term I see that Chrome has much more to offer comparing to FF, Safari, IE. So I think Google is going to be huge player in this field.

  2. Been Told says:

    I have to say, I find this all very exciting. I think this might be the biggest start of any software ever. I mean, just imagine how usage of the browser will sore once people start developing plugins. The idea is revolutionary and it will make all other browser developers have to rethink what they’re doing.
    Certainly Microsoft will have to react. But I think they will be late – as usual. The time it took them to realize the internet was more than just a little side-show, was ridiculous. And in my opinion IE is always lagging behind Firefox in almost all areas.

    What I can’t wait to see is how Mozilla will react to this. If done right, Chrome could easily overtake Firefox. All it needs is a stable release and plugins.

    Talking about plugins… I am shocked at how people complain that Chrome doesn’t import Firefox plugins. I mean, come on. It’s not even Mozilla based – what do they expect?

  3. StefN says:

    #2 I was thinking the exact same thing – why do people think the plugins would just be transferable, when it’s a completely different browser?

    For now I kinda still like FF better though – not that I use that many plugins, but I hate the fact that you can not protect saved passwords in Chrome, for me that is baaad.

  4. @Maris I agree, the experience is great so far.

    @BeenTold and @StefN Completely with you guys on plugins. It’s a new browser so plugins and skins are not there, but this is Google we’re talking about, the guys who got a huge bunch of developers to create apps for a non-existent phone. I’m sure we’ll see 3rd party extensions pretty soon

    @BeenTold IMHO Firefox’s not geared up to take two behemoths at the same time. Open Source without a big player’s support can only go so far. Note that Firefox was supported by Google earlier.

    @StefN teething issues I’d say about the passwords. Looking back at my Gmail and Gtalk experience…they take feedback very seriously and improve very fast.

    Thank you all for reading and commenting

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  6. Hominidx says:

    I think the fairest thing would be to say “We’ll see” (and this goes doubly so to the prophets and seers of IxDA who know EXACTLY how this will fail, right?) but this is an interesting perspective. Thanks!

  7. Jonathan Nakamichi says:

    Yeah…..I too would not really expect that the plugins would be transferrable……..BUT WOULD’NT IT BE NICE?

    I’m being a little bit more than naughty here!

  8. Berg says:

    It’s fantastic

  9. @Hominidix Ah “fair”…here’s something difficult to come by 🙂 I respect your stand though

    @Jonathan I’m with you man… guys at google can’t even get the most important thing right, put aside laying claim to Microsoft’s crown 😉

    Thanks guys for stopping by and commenting

  10. Jason Brett says:

    Great post Sachendra (as usual). I wonder, though, if this Chrome is a direct shot at Windows, or if Google even really cares about OS at all.

    Google’s mission is still: “[…] to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” and this to me seems like another step in that battle, which is really a war against no one in particular.

    By releasing a browser that is really more of a web app interface by design, Google encourages information to flow through its systems. It, by definitition, organizes information and makes it accessible to its users.

    If Google Docs, Spreadsheets, etc are more accessible and seamless to use no matter what platform an end user selects, they will see greater adoption.

    Since information sharing is built into these applications, Google moves closer to success in “the mission”.

    Microsoft has repeatedly declared war on Google, but Google seems to truck along with a general approach of ignoring Microsoft as a threat and delivering products that contribute to the fundamental mission.

    Google didn’t set out to release an IE killer, or a FF killer, or a Windows killer. They set out to deliver an application that makes information more accessible.

    How long will it be before Microsoft or someone starts developing the “Chrome Killer?” Not long I imagine.

    And I doubt Google will worry much.

  11. Jason,

    Thanks for the kind words

    I agree with you on Google Vision, problem is too much of world’s information resides in desktop applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Project, Financials, Image/Video Editors and viewers etc) and Google wants to extend it’s reach to these forbidden areas with a browser that acts more like an OS along with Google Gears to keep the info on the desktop to take care of privacy, security and outage issues.

    Just like my take on iPhone Killer, Chrome Killer will not be a browser, because Google’s developing an ecosystem with Chrome, Android and Open Social. I would expect some more strategic roll outs to complete the gameplan.

    I’m sure Microsoft and Apple are having nightmares 🙂 Microsoft stands to lose way more though

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  13. Sachendra, very inspired post. And very good timing for your previous post on the browser wars.

    Indeed Chrome aims at making the OS irrelevant, and have the browser as the true virtual machine to run applications at the speed of OS native applications.

    With more applications migrating to the clouds and browsers like Chrome and Firefox, Linux-powered netbooks are becoming more and more attractive.

    Still, the OS wars will continue for a while too, as media intensive applications such as video/photo editing or media players will take some time before they can be run effectively on a browser, much less online.

  14. Jose,

    I agree, OS is not going to become irrelevant anytime soon. For example, try streaming the FULL version of Photoshop across the internet and having it render out changes (not the framework that Adobe has put out with a You Tube front end for the amateur photographer but the Full version).

    With time, desktop software will become more and more specialized in dealing with personal and memory intensive tasks, the rest we can safely assume will shift to the browser.

  15. I think what is being said about Windows is prophetic. The Personal Computer will be transformed to an Internet Computer whose processing power will be used by the web, whose operating system will indeed simply operate your devices and the browser will merge the desktop and the internet seamlessly.

    Heady days are coming, because Microsoft Windows is a lonely dinosaur. And Google Chrome is a pack mammal.

  16. I would also like to add this is not just a shot at PC Windows, it is a shot at PC Office.

    Google wants to take all your apps and documents off the PC and load them into their servers on the internet.

  17. Grant,

    Great analogy there “Microsoft Windows is a lonely dinosaur. And Google Chrome is a pack mammal” Irony is, back in 90s, Microsoft beat Apple because of the same reasons.

    Also agree that MS Office, the cash cow of Microsoft, will be hit, although not too much as Enterprise is it’s biggest customer and I don’t see them embracing Google anytime soon.

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  19. Ajay Pathak says:

    i don’t thinka browser can replace an operating system this means people don’t use windows,linux or any other os because a browser can serve as os.
    ohhhhhhhhhh but about application where we have to run them
    i think we will also get a cloud printer i give a print to the data center printer and wait to come my print for week. this is one example where a browser can’t replace an operating system
    Google is really good company but microsoft is huge they developer os, office suites, developer tools, security products, crm , hardware and many more.
    we have wait to see what comes to chrome.
    what comes in for security who know chrome will never come out of beta as most of the google products are still in beta 🙂

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