September 2, 2008, 12:00 AM

Google launches beta version of Chrome web browser

Google says its new Chrome web browser, released today in beta version, offers the stability, speed, security and ease of use to better support such newer web applications as online video, shopping gadgets and social network communications.

 

Google Inc. says its new Chrome web browser, released today in beta version, offers the stability, speed, security and ease of use to better support such newer web applications as online video, shopping gadgets and social network communications.

“We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser,” Google said in a blog posting by Sunda Pichai, vice president of product management, and engineering director Linus Upson. “We believe we can add value for users and, at the same time, help drive innovation on the web.”

Google developed Chrome as an open-source application, with its software code available to outside developers, and it has incorporated open-source technology components from Apple Inc.’s WebKit and Mozilla’s Firefox browser technology. In addition to the Chrome beta version released today for the Windows operating system, Google is building versions for the Linux and Mac operating systems, Google says. Google expects the open-source strategy to provide ongoing improvements in how Chrome interacts with web applications, the company adds.

Indeed, search technology experts say Google Chrome represents a further evolution toward the integration of web browsers and widely distributed software applications. “Web 2.0 is all about breaking down boundaries of what is a web site, because applications can reside anywhere on the web and be transmitted to a browser,” says Kevin Lee, chairman of search marketing firm Didit.

Online retailers can use Google Gadgets, for example, to extend their e-commerce presence to other sites like consumers’ personal social networking pages. Although Google has not said how Chrome will integrate with applications like Google Gadgets, e-retailers and marketers should watch for opportunities to capitalize on such links, Lee says. “If Google installs Gadget-like application real estate in the Chrome browser, it could end up being very important,” he says. “Our advice to marketers is watch what’s happening and how applications and browsers are intersecting, and see if you can develop an application that’s interesting and important to consumers.”

By developing Google Chrome to run faster and to be more stable than earlier browsers, Google is also further blurring the lines between desktop and web applications-combing the functionality and stability of the former with the flexibility of the latter, says Imad Mouline, chief technology officer of Gomez Inc., a provider of web site performance monitoring.

But this can also require more data transmissions between the browser and a site’s web servers, requiring site operators to ensure their infrastructure supports an increased level of browser-site interaction, he adds. “Retailers will have to make sure their sites look good on Chrome across Windows, Mac and Linux platforms,” he says. “Google has the reach and the loyal following to get a loot of people downloading Chrome to use as a primary browser, but the question is will retailers be ready for it.”

 

 

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