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September 2, 2008

Google Browser: Google Chrome launched today

by Brian Turner
Google Browser: Google Chrome launched today

After years of speculation, Google have finally announced that they are launching their own Google Browser today - and it will be called Google Chrome.

Full details on the new browser, to compete with Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera, have yet to be released, but a leaked list of features includes:

- Google Chrome is an open-source browser project
- JavaScript Virtual Machine called V8, to speed up script execution
- Special tabs - with the tabs above the browser, instead of under the window
- Omnibox autocomplete in the address bar, which offers search suggestions, which sources your own and related search behaviour
- Homepage with thumbnails of recent pages visited, plus recent searches - seems inspired from the Opera browser speed dial
- A privacy mode
- Applications open in new window
- Inbuilt phishing detector

While it’s good to see Google include a privacy mode, no doubt the jury is out on whether it provides enough safeguards for users - after all, a common criticism levelled at Google is that it’s primary aim is of “collecting and sorting the world’s data” essentially boils down to ‘nth degree internet surveillance’. So a browser is a great way to collect more personal data on users.

And yet it makes sense from a few other very important considerations.

Firstly, it’ll give Google the chance to integrate a single GUI into all of Google’s existing net applications, plus the range of virtual tools we know are already in development. In short, it truly helps equate Google as the internet.

A browser would help ensure Google has complete control of the user experience from the moment a person fires up the internet.

There’s another consideration, though - protection of revenues. I posted a few years ago that Google would need to build their own browser to protect their ad revenue, because Google’s income depends on existing browsers not blocking Google’s adverts.

Over the years there have been various reports of Internet Explorer accidentally blocking Google’s ads, and this is highlighted with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 - currently in development, which apparently also has a privacy feature, rumoured to block javascript delivered ads - potentially including Google’s own.

Whatever the main motivation, Google Chrome as a the long awaited Gbrowser marks a natural progression of Google’s efforts to integrate its online services.

No doubt when it officially launches later today it’ll create a storm of buzz, and I’ll be trying it out.

However, I’m sure it won’t be too long before the same browser security concerns that frequently touch even Mozilla Firefox will start surfacing.

Google traditionally responds swiftly to security vulnerabilities, but it will especially have to ensure they do so with Google Chrome in order to assure users that it is capable of protecting more than just their privacy.

UPDATE: It’s now available to download: Google Chrome

Story link: Google Browser: Google Chrome launched today

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1 Comment »
  1. Any other browser offering with additional privacy features is to be applauded given that web browser’s record every single link that you follow, every picture you see, every site you visit and a list of the last 10 to 20 web sites to which you have been. Scary stuff! I am more inclined to trust Google than Microsoft (so far anyway).

    Comment by Noah Body — September 2, 2008 @ 10:04 am

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