News

Browser Wars Are Back

Early last month, Google Inc. intensified its tooth-and-nail competition with Microsoft by delivering an early version of its much-rumored browser called Chrome. Not only does Chrome present a significant challenge to the dominance of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, but the Google browser could also serve as a building block for an operating system that aims squarely at Windows.

A Google OS might have a leg up on Windows Vista -- and even Windows 7 -- as many desktop apps increasingly migrate to the Web 2.0 world. Such an OS could be two or three years away, most observers speculate.

What Google could do with Chrome as a browser has an interesting set of possibilities. Besides planting a flag in the PC-based browser market -- where it will compete with IE and the rapidly rising Firefox from Mozilla-it gives Google entry into the mobile market on a range of different devices, including the cell phone market. Chrome would obviously work very well with the long-rumored Google Phone, though there has been no time frame announced for when that device will be delivered.

Other Competitors
Adding a bit more drama to this dynamic browser battle is the fact that Chrome's introduction represents a shift away from Firefox -- which owns almost 20 percent of the browser market -- a product that Google previously was strongly endorsing. In a consensus among several market researchers, IE owns 73 percent of the browser market, with Apple's Safari holding 6 percent.

First impressions of Chrome among users just days after the initial release were largely positive. Many liked its speed and performance, saying it was significantly faster than IE and Firefox.

"So far it's working really well for me and is unbelievably fast," says Michael Traylor, network administrator with Western Datapro Inc. "I have Vista on my home computer and IE is practically unusable because it crashes so much. I'm a big Microsoft fan and I'm a bit leery of Google, but I like Chrome so far."

While many were impressed with Chrome's speed, at least one company dug a little deeper and found the product wasn't as speedy as Firefox when used in real-world environments. In his company blog, Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open-Xchange Inc., says his company ran the product through a series of tests using the AJAX-based front-end of its collaboration software. The tests compared Chrome with Firefox 3 and IE7, and included launching Web forms for e-mails or accessing large inboxes. Laguna says Chrome wasn't as fast as Firefox, though it did outperform IE in most tests.

In his first take on Chrome, Harry McCracken of Technologizer.com states that the product is so far missing some key capabilities, such as support for RSS feeds and the "ability to zoom entire Web pages, not just text." He writes: "If the question is whether serious consumers of Web content should dump whatever browser they're using at the moment for Chrome, the answer is probably not."

About the Author

Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.

Featured

  • Microsoft Warns IT Pros on Windows Netlogon Fix Coming Next Month

    Microsoft on Thursday issued a reminder to organizations to ensure that their systems are properly patched for a "Critical"-rated Windows Netlogon vulnerability before next month's "update Tuesday" patch distribution arrives.

  • Microsoft Nudging Skype for Business Users to Teams

    Microsoft on Thursday announced some perks and prods for Skype for Business unified communications users, with the aim of moving them to the Microsoft Teams collaboration service instead.

  • How To Improve Windows 10's Sound and Video Quality

    Windows 10 comes with built-in tools that can help users get the most out of their sound and video hardware.

  • Microsoft Offers More 'Solorigate' Advice Using Microsoft 365 Defender Tools

    Microsoft issued yet another article with advice on how to use its Microsoft 365 Defender suite of tools to protect against "Solorigate" advanced persistent threat types of attacks in a Thursday announcement.

comments powered by Disqus