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.
- 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...
- 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.
- mixed feelings at Apple I presume although I doubt they learned about Google Chrome only yesterday.
- in case you ever wondered why Google hired Ian Hickson to work full-time on HTML 5, do you still wonder ?
- 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.
- 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 !
- 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.
- Netbooks... Google Chrome could become the instant-on desktop for netbooks. There's a whole new market to take out there.
- "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:
- WebKit itself. It's now in the hands of so many fiercely competing implementors that forks are probably not avoidable.
- 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