Google Chrome ups the ante, but don't expect another browser war

The launch of Google's web browser has prompted much speculation about another round of browser wars like those between Microsoft and Netcape.

The launch of Google's web browser has prompted much speculation about another round of browser wars like those between Microsoft and Netcape.

There is little doubt that Google is gearing up for battle, but it might not be on the browser front as many are predicting.

Just as Microsoft sought to entrench its browser by bundling Internet Explorer with its Windows operating system, Google is making a strategic move.

It has justified its decision to venture into the browser market by talking about the need to improve speed, security and the user experience.

Its reasons for open sourcing the project are more interesting because these point to the longer term, more strategically important plan.

"The intent is that Google will help make future browsers better by contributing the underlying technology in Chrome to the market," says Google.

This is a clear indication that Google is aiming to build momentum in developing browsers to run the web-based applications it is developing.

In other words, Chrome is less about competing with existing browsers than it is about ensuring users will have browsers powerful enough to run Google Apps.

David Mitchell, senior vice-president of IT research at Ovum, says with Chrome the boundaries between operating systems and browsers are definitely beginning to blur.

Chrome, and the generation of browsers it is intended to inspire, is probably more of a threat to the importance of operating systems rather than any existing browser.

Rather than a new round of browser wars, Google instead seems to be opening web applications as a new front in the battle for supplier supremacy.

Chrome could well prove to be the opening shot in Google's campaign to remove Microsoft as the dominant player in the world of business software.

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