Wed 3 Sep 2008

Google launches internet browser

Google's new web browser is called Chrome
 It's certainly the biggest news in the browser space since Firefox started to dent Internet Explorer's lead and many people see this as a re-ignition of the browser wars 
Darren Waters

Google is launching an open source web browser to compete with Internet Explorer and Firefox.

The browser is designed to be lightweight and fast, and to cope with the next generation of web applications that rely on graphics and multimedia.

Called Chrome, it will launch as a beta for Windows machines in 100 countries, with Mac and Linux versions to come.

"We realised... we needed to completely rethink the browser," said Google's Sundar Pichai in a blog post.

The new browser will help Google take advantage of developments it is pushing online in rich web applications that are challenging traditional desktop programs.

Google has a suite of web apps, such as Documents, Picasa and Maps which offer functionality that is beginning to replace offline software.

"What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that's what we set out to build," Mr Pichai, VP Product Management, wrote.

Competition

The launch of a beta version of Chrome on Tuesday evening (UK time) will be Google's latest assault on Microsoft's dominance of the PC business. The firm's Internet Explorer program dominates the browser landscape, with 80% of the market.

Those already in the browser space were quick to respond to the news.

Writing in his blog, John Lilly, chief executive of Mozilla was sanguine about the new rival in the browsersphere.

"It should come as no real surprise that Google has done something here — their business is the web, and they’ve got clear opinions on how things should be, and smart people thinking about how to make things better."

Chrome will be a browser optimized for the things that they see as important, and it’ll be interesting to see how it evolves," he wrote.

He welcomed the competition and said collaboration between Mozilla and Google on certain projects would continue.

Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, was more bullish.

"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, respects their personal choices about how they want to browse and, more than any other browsing technology, puts them in control of their personal data online," he said in a statement.

Chrome will be available for download from the morning of Wednesday 3rd September, PST.

 

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