Philip Baczewski, Director of Academic Computing and User Services
Google recently made a splash
in the Web world with the
introduction of a new browser. Named Chrome, Google's entry into the
Web browser world boasts a new approach to browser code. While Firefox
and Internet Explorer owe their heritage and much of their code to NCSA
developers at Google took a look at what browsers typically do these
days and have optimized their new browser for robust and efficient
A beta test version of Chrome for Windows was released on September 1.
announcement of the new browser on their official blog, Google
states that their reason for developing Chrome was "Because we believe
we can add value for users and, at the same time, help drive innovation
on the web." Of course, who else is innovating on the web besides
Google? It appears that the innovation they are talking about is Google
search, Gmail, Google Apps, etc. But since they know the most popular
web sites, they can easily test their browser to see if it will support
the browsing needs of most people using the Web.
A white paper aimed at Generation X?
Many people's first introduction to Chrome was in the form of a
(or graphic novella, if you prefer) released before Chrome was made
available. The book introduces the rationale for creating Chrome and
then discusses, in a simplified form, some of the technical challenges
and decisions encountered during Chrome's development. It reads like a
white paper aimed at Generation X.
Google's Chrome introduction was not without some controversy. Someone
discovered that by using Chrome, users "give Google a perpetual,
irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and nonexclusivelicense to
reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly
display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on
or through, the Services." If this sounds familiar, then you may
have read this column before. Loyal readers will
remember that this is the same language that Google maintains
under greater scrutiny by the online community, and after a bit of an
Google eliminated that language from the Chrome
now in that section simply reads "You retain copyright and any other
rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on
or through, the Services."
Patience and a bunch of money
While met with enthusiasm in some circles, Chrome was met with
others. Not surprisingly, Microsoft devotees will be quick to point
out that Google's applications are not as feature rich as Microsoft
Office. But one thing Google seems to have is patience (and a bunch of
cash to sit on.) They've done pretty well in perfecting the concept of
web search over the years and the
browser/cloud experience may receive the same careful development.
So rather than heralding the doom of the browser, Google seems to want
to celebrate it. As discussed in this column
previously, some would see new technologies supplanting
the traditional browser experience. They would reinvent the Internet to
displace the browser. Google seems to have taken the opposite approach.
They have reinvented the browser to suit today's Internet. It's a good
idea, and as long as they don't make a claim to your first-born child
for doing so, they may just succeed at bringing people over to their new
way of browsing.
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