Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Google Web Browser Download - Will This Kill Microsoft?

Move over, Microsoft-- Google is releasing its own download-ready, free Web browser on Tuesday. It's called Chrome and it aims to shake up the market currently dominated by Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Google announced the news on Labor Day, after it prematurely sent out a comic book drawn up to herald the new browser's arrival. Chrome will be available in more than 100 countries for computers running on Microsoft's Windows operating system. Google is still working on versions compatible with Apple's Mac computer and the Linux operating system.

Although Google made no explicit comments on the matter, the announcement was immediately viewed within the context of its battle with tech icon Microsoft, which is still the solid industry leader in Web browsers. To keep its top spot, it's upping the ante in part by launching a new version of its popular Internet Explorer 8.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s most aggressive competitor, Mozilla’s Firefox, has extended its relationship with Google, which sets the search engine as the default homepage and default in the search bar.

For all the talk about Microsoft vs. Google, Cowen analyst Jim Friedland said he believes that Google's main goal with the new browser is to drive development and innovation in the search-engine field, not directly diminish Microsoft's browser market share. If Internet Explorer or Firefox adopt Chrome's new features, Google will still come out ahead, and the importance of the operating system, the basis of Microsoft's strength, will wane, he said.

Friedland compared the strategy with Google's Android project to create software for cellphones, which is seen both as a way to steer search revenue to the company, and as a prod to other software makers. The first Android phones are expected later this year.

We'll all have to watch as this battle rages on, and of course download this new browser.