Google Chrome logo

Google Chrome logoGoogle has launched the beta version of its open source ‘Chrome’ web browser, as part of a strategy to move from search to applications. According to deep-thinking analyst firm Ovum, the clear target is not just Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) but also the Windows desktop. 


While that should open up a web browser market dominated by IE and Firefox, Ovum says Google Chrome still has everything to prove.
 
Laurent Lachal, senior analyst at Ovum, said the launch of Chrome is surprising but in line with Google strategy.

“Chrome underpins Google’s efforts to expand from search to applications, as part of a broader business diversification. This is a diversification that is both necessary and timely. The launch starts with the assertion that browsers need to become application platforms – with the implicit assumption that Chrome will be a particularly good platform for Google’s own applications and the starting point for a more integrated experience across these applications,” she said.

“Google seeks to expand from search to applications by delivering a better platform for richer web applications, which is less dependent on the underlying operating system (OS). The current version only runs on Windows. Mac and Linux versions are to follow soon.”

Lachal said Chrome could see Google delivering a better, more integrated user experience.

"Google is very keen to improve users’ browsing experience with a focus on speed, simplicity (as with the Google homepage), stability (claiming that Chrome is ‘rock solid’) as well as security (based on lists of phishing and malware software/websites and on the ‘sandboxing’ capabilities of the JavaScript VM and multi-process design).”

Chrome is built from scratch with a JavaScript VM that provides OS/hardware platform independence and runs applications faster by running machine code rather than interpreted code, among other tricks.

Its multi-process (rather than multi-threaded) design provides the same isolation capabilities found in OSs. It turns each tab into an independent application environment with its own controls and URL box.

This design prevents tabs from crashing the whole browser and enables them to move not just within the browser but also out to their own window. Chrome also features Google Gears technology to make online applications available offline.