Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera, watch out — Google is entering the fray with its shiny new creation called Chrome. Google's newest creation will be available for download today in more than 100 countries for people using Microsoft Windows, but is the amount of drama brewing from Google's announcement just the beginning of a new browser war? Are we prepared for what Google will bring to the table and what personal information they make take from it as a result?The timing here is impeccable — Google will be releasing the Chrome Web browser while Microsoft continues testing with Internet Explorer 8. Microsoft has been praising IE8 as one of its best creations thus far and now Google wants to make that a moot point. Not many people -- if any -- could have seen this move coming.
Could this new browser possibly take over some of the more competitive browsers that have been in business for years -- even decades -- within a significantly shorter amount of time?
What Makes Chrome Different
Chrome has plenty of competition and this means that there will need to be some sort of incentive to persuade users to switch. Perhaps those people will be impressed by this set of features:
* Webkit: The same technology that powers the current Safari Web browser and the future Android browser will be utilized by Chrome.
* Omnibox: It is another name for the address bar, but this isn't your typical address bar. It is capable of detecting site-specific search engines. It will also likely be able to search through a user's bookmarks with relative ease.
* Incognito: Since Google snatched up GreenBorder, there were always questions of what Google intended on doing with it. Well, now the answer is clear. "Incognito" mode allows users to surf the Web in a virtual sandbox. In other words, this could significantly help in the fight against malware.
* Google Gears: Of course Google would include Google Gears by default. This allows users to access content like Gmail and GReader while not being online. Google Chrome Sure there are other interesting features, but these exemplify what we will be seeing that is truly unique with the Chrome browser.
So, Do We Need Another One?
People already have like, what, a few dozen potential solutions in the Web browsing arena? One must question if there is really a necessity to have another.
In a blog post on Google's official blog, Sundar Pichai, VP of Product Management, and Linus Upson, Engineering Director, believe that there is room for improvement.
"The Web gets better with more options and innovation," they explained. "Google Chrome is another option, and we hope it contributes to making the Web even better."
Coming to a Consensus
Much discussion has been going on throughout the blogosphere and news organizations. The general consensus seems to be that one of the following is going to happen:
* People will take to Chrome well and it will become the world's most popular browser; people then realize that Google will have too much control over everything.
* People will like Chrome, but they will still like Firefox better -- likely because of the extensions.
* People will still end up using Internet Explorer because they are not computer literate or they simply like IE.
* People will be indifferent to the project; it will just serve as a way to try to convince people to move away from Internet Explorer.
All of those scenarios are quite possible, but it is all speculation at this point.
Is Big Brother Watching?
Now, another interesting thing about this is the fact that Google already knows plenty about the users of its products. When a user visits a Website, Google knows about it. When a user views an AdSense advertisement, Google knows about it. When a GMail user receive an e-mail, Google knows about it. If a user is using GReader, well, we get the point, right?
Google knows so much about its users and one must question how much they really know and distribute amongst advertisers. Now, one must now question if they could accept Google knowing even more about the following as well:
* Browsing habits
* Every ad clicked on; every add blocked
* Access to which search engines are being used and what is searched for
* Knowledge about every video watched and every song listened to
* How much time is being spent on the Chrome Web browser
It doesn't end there. The amount of information that Google could collect is endless. The browser is probably the most used tool on the desktop. If Google controls that, they could become unstoppable.
Who knows what loopholes Google could go through to collect information about your personal identity. It is almost engrossing to think about how much Google knows about any particular person who uses their services. Think about what happens when that same person begins to view the Internet through Google's own browser.
The concern over the fact that Google has a stranglehold on the advertising market is bad enough — it shouldn't shock people if Google ends up releasing its own operating system to the world. Oh wait, we already have that -- it is called Android, and it might be the future operating system of a majority of cell phones.
Now no one is saying that Google actually does these things, but who really knows what information Google collects about any particular person? Who knows what information Google intends to collect from Chrome? This information is invaluable to advertisers.
Perhaps the "Incognito" mode is the only safety users have?
Interesting Developments Are Brewing
The big question is if and how this will affect Internet Explorer. There is great irony considering the fact that many people still use IE, but those same people have their homepage set on Google. Would Google specifically target IE8 users on their homepage?
Google Chrome could have a huge impact on the browser market immediately, even if the browser wasn't technically impressive.
Microsoft, as expected, thinks this is isn't a big deal. Dean Hachamovitch, Internet Explorer's GM, responded to the news, perhaps over confidently:
"The browser landscape is highly competitive, but people will choose Internet Explorer 8 for the way it puts the services they want right at their fingertips ... and, more than any other browsing technology, puts them in control of their personal data online."
To add more drama to this story, Google has been heavily invested in the Firefox Web browser. The company recently extended an advertising alliance with Firefox up until 2011. Should the Firefox community feel threatened by this? Or is this a move to simply pull people away from IE8?
Then again, will anyone leave Firefox considering the impressive amount of extensions that are available? To recap: Microsoft is getting slapped in the face, Firefox might be getting a little concerned, Google could take over the browser market, and Google might possibly learn more information about users than ever before with the Chrome browser.
The whole situation is almost surreal — Hollywood can't compete with this stuff.
Drama and privacy issues aside, Chrome will supposedly be available today. Keep those eyes on Google's official blog for an announcement. Unfortunately, Mac and Linux users will have to sit on the sidelines for an undisclosed amount of time, but something is better than nothing.