WebKit winz

After years of "no, no, we're not working on a browser", Google finally announced Google Chrome. And the least I can say is that it caused a little earthquake in the community. Well, not the whole community :-) A few things come to my mind, I'm thinking at loud here.

  1. Google has an incredible marketing power. It's one of the most powerful brand on the planet and almost all web users use Google ; the spread of their browser is going to skyrocket...
  2. it's based on WebKit and WebKit is gaining market share at an impressive pace. How many iPhones sold in one year again ? WebKit on Mac, on iPhone, on Android, on Windows, on Linux of course ... Wow.
  3. mixed feelings at Apple I presume although I doubt they learned about Google Chrome only yesterday.
  4. in case you ever wondered why Google hired Ian Hickson to work full-time on HTML 5, do you still wonder ?
  5. after HTC using Android, the mobile browser market is even more a battlefield than it used to be
    • Opera should be worried a lot... Fennec (mobile Firefox), Safari and Android. I think their niche market that is also their main market is shaken a lot...
    • unless mobile IE inherits from IE8 and makes major investments on UI, zooming, stability and innovation, it's a dead duck.
    • I don't exactly know where Fennec stands here. It can probably suck the mobileIE market.
  6. they have Darin and Ben. I cannot believe they don't have chrome extensibility in mind, and I hope they have it also in the code... I hope they carefully watched Hewitt's and Corey's work on Boxely. I cannot believe a Mac-lover like Ben does not have a nice Mac version with native look&feel !
  7. day 1, Google renews its financial agreement with Mozilla, day 2 they announce their own browser competitor to Firefox and not using Firefox's rendering engine. There is something here we don't know, that's 100% sure. It can be another occurence of the "no evil" motto but it can also be something more concrete and more contractual. Probably both. We'll see, but I will not be surprised if Google and Mozilla are hand in hand here.
  8. Netbooks... Google Chrome could become the instant-on desktop for netbooks. There's a whole new market to take out there.
  9. "chrome" does matter. But "content" is what web users are looking for on the web. So HTML 5. When ? Done by Google ?

The only two concerns with Google Chrome are:

  1. WebKit itself. It's now in the hands of so many fiercely competing implementors that forks are probably not avoidable.
  2. your search engine is google, your mail is google mail, your docs are on google docs, your maps are google, the ads you see are google, your system is Android, your browser is Google Chrome. Did someone hear the word "monopoly" ?

Let's see it from the bright side of life: there's a new OSS and standards-compliant browser and that's good, and there's a high probability Steve Ballmer is currently breaking a few chairs and it's even better :-)


1. On Tuesday 2 September 2008, 17:12 by eric

about your "monopoly" concern, I was wondering too, if google wasn't actually a bit too much monopolistic, but my "personal" analysis was the following :
in search and ads, no doubt they want to kill the bear !

but in others markets they are far from monopolistic :
gmail is far behind yahoo and hotmail

gtalk is a hardcore googlefan niche

twitter, friendfeeds, facebook ? not google

blogs ? blogger not that huge
docs ? there are competitors ( zoho )
google code ? sourceforge, codehaus etc.)

About google maps, I don't know the market shares, but there are serious competitors out there (yahoo, and MS)

chrome, and android, not even a single user yet... it's a bit hard to talk about monopoly in those cases.

So yes, they have a very wide offer, but monopoly ? no, I feel that's MS FUD again.

sorry for this long useless comment (but commenting is a self though made for others)

2. On Tuesday 2 September 2008, 18:15 by afinkle

Chrome will mean different things depending on who/what you are. The one thing it does mean to everyone though is that the Internet is the operating system, and the clouds are moving closer to earh.

You are Apple;

This means that if it were not enough of a conflict of interest (Iphone VS Google's Android) to have Google CEO Eric Schmidt sit on your board - It is now. Look for Schmidt to resign sometime in the next six months.

If you are Microsoft;

This means that if you ever considered making Internet Explorer open source in the past, now is the time... You can not afford to wait, not even another minute. Expect Microsoft to make Vaporware like noise over the next few months about cloud widgets to give IE closer ties to cloud based initiatives.

If you are Yahoo;

you need to buy Mozilla.

If you are Firefox;

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer...yes continue with your Google revenue deal, but learn how to monetize your Browser outside of a paid search deal. Leverage your large user base to form "spin-off" type "power of the crowd" businesses. Note to Firefox, hey you guys ARE a social network...you just haven't figured that out yet.

If you are Sun;

Realize that Java is even less relevant every day. First we kicked you out of client side computing because you were a resource hog. Realize that Java will now continue to be less and less relevant on the Server. What a waste of a good company... McNealy must have got hit in the head with one to many hockey pucks.

If you are a social network;

"social networks" would follow along with users in the browser. Truth be told, we thought it would be Facebook, or even more likely Firefox that would lead in this initiative. So if you are a social network, you need to know now Chrome is the first step in a series of moves that will make it unnecessary for your peeeps to ever visit your site (directly) again.

If you are an application developer;

Life used to be simple, eh? You knew that you should be developing applications for Windows, because that is where the 100's of millions of users were. Fast forward, and now you need to choose what platforms to support, and when. Of course it makes sense to develop for Windows still, but Apple now has a mass of millions of Mac OSx users, and if it a browser based app, write once for Safari, and it should work without much adaptation on the Iphone. There are over a billion cell phones in use world wide, however every phone requires writing to separately (yes even all those different flavors of Java are different phone to phone. Suddenly with Android coming, and a matching desktop browser you need to be here.

Lastly if you are a consumer;

There is always a bottleneck somewhere ... Think back 5-10 years ago, before what we now refer to broadband... Dial up was painffulllllyy slow, and when you tried to browse, the bottleneck was in your "last mile" connectivity. Once you got broadband, the lag time in reaching a site was likely in your PC (not enough ram, slow processor, etc). Before either of those issues though it was the software that was not "smart" enough to keep up with the ever faster CPU's being created.

Look for Chrome to optimize all these new "cloud" based application initiatives like Google Gears, etc. This is just another nail in the coffin for desktop based computing. In 10 years, likely 90%+ of your applications will reside somewhere outside of your home or workplace - but certainly not on your desktop.


3. On Tuesday 2 September 2008, 18:23 by andersh

"Concern" 2 answers "thing" 7.

4. On Wednesday 3 September 2008, 07:21 by Ga. K.

see http://thetruthaboutmozilla.wordpre...