I wanted to talk about the new web browser by Google, namely "Chrome". If you are interested in taking a look at this you can download it from here.
It could be argued that we really don't need any more browsers out there what with Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera and so on. However, I always felt that it was inevitable that Google would want to create a browser that it could control. I think that the rest of these are pretty much very similar, a feature appears in one and then the next release of the others have features that are comparable. On this front Chrome isn't actually a lot different, but somehow you know that Google will end up taking a large market share of the browser market.
I always find it strange referring to market share when talking about browsers, simply because there is no money involved because all of them are free!
I have read somewhere that Google felt that they were coming up against restrictions by using other peoples browsers for their tools like Google mail, reader etc. the advantage of having your own browser is of course you can design it to suit your own tools. However, as you might expect Google have been somewhat more clever than this and have decided to take the concept of having separate tabs to its logical conclusion. What this actually means is that every tab is run in its own separate process.
So what? what this actually means is that if you load up a webpage that ends up behaving badly by crashing, because it is in a separate process to all of the other windows, it should mean that only the tab in question had to be closed and protects all of your other browsing sessions. This of course means that you have greater reliability with the program, and doesn't take out lots of other pages at the same time.
The other reason that this is significant is that webpages are no longer just webpages, in a lot of instances where browsers are used to run applications of one kind or another. I have already mentioned Google mail and reader, but how many people use their browser as a frontend to run a CRM system of some kind, or other similiar types of application.
By no means is it the case that Google have won the browser war with this first iteration of Chrome, but I definitely think that it is a mark in the ground for more to come. It could be that this actually becomes the "operating system" of cloud computing. I'll cover cloud computing another time, but if you can't wait then have a look at it on Wikipedia here. However to become the OS of the cloud, then Google are going to have to make "Chrome" more that just a browser; it will have to become the OS itself. This ironically will reduce the cost of the hardware to get on the web.
Why? Other than providing free distributions (distros) of Linux with hardware, (which is still not user friendly, despite the great strides of Ubuntu), the greater percentage of any hardwares cost is the Microsoft OS. Imagine a web PC such as the Asus Eee or the Acer Aspire being supplied with just Chrome.
Of course this means that Chrome needs to have some degree of offline capability - but what's that snuggled away at the back of Chrome - Google Gears... Of course, it remains to be seen whether eventually Google come out with a version of the product that can be installed on barebones hardware, (that is, hardware that doesn't otherwise have been operating system installed on it), but I wouldn't bet against it.
However, I think that it is in everyone's best interest to start looking at this new entrant as soon as possible, it's not like you have to learn anything new, because all browsers are pretty intuitive. I would also argue that Chrome is also "pretty", but that is because the interface is nice and clean.
I guess really it's a case of watch this space but I definitely feel that Chrome is another step on Google's path of world domination...