If you haven't read about Google Chrome yet, well, the link I've provided has some screenshots of the leaked beta before tomorrow's launch. Here are the browser choices on Windows today:
- IE 7, IE 8 Beta
- Firefox 2, Firefox 3
Google's chrome browser has some interesting innovations, but some of the tab sand-boxing work has already been released as part of IE 8. Plugin sand-boxing isn't going to be as easy, but that Google is investing in making web browsing safer is very encouraging.
I don't think Google is releasing a browser just because they really care about keep users secure while they browse the web. Don't get me wrong, that might very well be an ancillary consequence of their browser release, but I can't help but wonder about their ulterior motive here. Digging a little deeper reveals the first clue that not all is charity - the Google browser has special hooks for Google Gears, which in Google's own words, "is an open source project that enables more powerful web applications, by adding new features to your web browser". Chrome might very well become THE container to host Google's offerings of Office Productivity Applications. Chrome is based on Webkit, and is sure to have offline application capabilities built in (Google helped define the standard, which is partially implemented in Firefox 3.0). With Chrome, Google will have a PC client with cutting edge rendering capabilities and coupled with Gears, Google's productivity apps can work in offline mode.
In time, more applications created using the Google Gears API will be released that fulfill needs specific to business verticals. These applications will have the robustness afforded by online, redundant storage, the convenience of being accessible from any PC with "Chrome" installed, and the ease of use paralleling that of legacy, desktop applications. Microsoft and Adobe better take notice...