Bravo to Google for daring to compete in the two-party system of the world's desktop browser market. And kudos for bucking the status quo to design a "modern platform for Web pages and applications," as its release statement read. But there's also skepticism out there about Google's bravado, and about its motives for the whole browser project.

"Google wants to control the way people do business on the Internet, and the way to do that is to control how they get there," said Gwyn Fisher, CTO of Klocwork which makes code analysis tools. While many of today's news reports say Google has it sights on Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Chrome's so-called Omnibar--an address bar that also performs Google searches--allows Google to gain search business perhaps without the user even realizing it. "We look at it with a jaundiced eye because and they’re having people search more, just by putting text in the address bar."

Still, the Chrome platform does offer some pretty cool capabilities for application developers and users. It's built on Mozilla and WebKit, the same open source rendering engine used by Apple's Safari. As such, content tested for Safari "should already work well on Google Chrome," says Google. Perhaps more significant is that Chrome's user agent string includes AppleWebKit , which simplifies the browser targeting for your applications. There's also a freshly rewritten JavaScript engine, which Google says vastly outperforms those available today. But that claim was challenged today in
an ars technica article.

Google's name alone will give Chrome browser a fighting chance to compete with Internet Explorer and Firefox. Respectively, the two own 72 percent and 20 percent of the worldwide browser market, according to Market Share. Chrome was released to beta yesterday.

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About the Author

I am Technical Editor of the [url=http://www.crn.com]CRN Test Center[/url], a kind of computer-centric "Consumer Reports" for retailers and VARs ([url=http://crn.com]www.crn.com[/url]). I bought my first computer in 1980, an Atari 800. In addition to adventure games like Zork, I also played with the hardware, dabbling with ROM dumps and mods to the 810 disk drive. That's also where I learned BASIC programming. After 1984, I moved to PCs, clones and NetWare, and then to Apple IIs and Macs until around 1990. In July of that year I got my first job at a publishing company, supporting about 25 Mac users (including the staff of "MacWeek").

Between '06 and '09 I was editor of [URL=http://stpmag.com]ST&P[/URL], a software testing trade magazine. I also wrote a software [URL=http://www.sdtimes.com/content/testqa.aspx]Test & QA [/URL]newsletter, and was chairman of the [url=http://stpcon.com/]Software Test & Performance conference[/url].

Sorry folks. Here's the link to the ars technica comparing JavaScript engine performance of Chrome's V8 versus Firefox 3. It got messed up in my original post somehow. -EC