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Wasting little time coming out of the long US Labor Day weekend, Google released a shiny new browser aptly called Chrome. Why on earth would the world need another browser at this point in the history of the internet is unclear, especially another open source entry, but one thing is crystal clear, Google took a direct shot at the bow of Microsoft and Apple yesterday and the battle for world domination continues unabated. Whether the market will bear yet another browser is an open question, but it seems that for Google, this is more than a browser war, it's a fight for the soul of the desktop (and the hand-held for that matter). Chrome could mark the beginning of a Google OS and if that isn't a shot at its two biggest rivals, nothing is.

My head is spinning today with information about Chrome. At eWeek Jim Rapoza gushes about the newest browser entry, while his colleague, Joe Wilcox at Microsoft Watch warns that Google Chrome is full of dents. Security experts have already found a huge hole in the browser and it's only been available for less than 24 hours. (Thanks, for the link Char.)

In my own distinctly unscientific tests, it seems to load Google apps much faster, no surprise there, but I don't see anything so dazzling here in the first few minutes of use (I'm writing this blog entry on it). In fact, it looks a lot like Internet Explorer 7 (and that's not a compliment). What's more, Google seems to have simply stolen ideas from Firefox and IE, which sounds much more like Microsoft's MO, than Google's.

Apparently, what separates the rookie browser from the veteran players is what's going on under the hood. Sridhar Vembu, CEO at Zoho, a big user of Google Gears likes the fact it's a really good JavaScript engine and he sees Flash and Silverlight as the losers here. This is supposed to be the perfect browser for online apps. Maybe, but that loud whining you are hearing across the internet, are the web developers screaming that they have yet another browser support. The grumbling is likely to continue.

But users might like the "Incognito Mode," which enables you to surf without leaving a trace on the computer you are using. Note that it does not shield you from the sites you visit, it only erases any trace of what you did on the source computer, which should be useful for public or shared terminals. There is also the matter of the ability to control each tab as a separate entity. Chrome even includes a "Task Manager" similar to Windows, which enables you to shut down a single tab or any process running in the tab (such as a bad script).

I've been trying to get my arms around Google's decision to go its own way, but I'm still a little confused by it all, especially since Firefox is wildly popular. Ultimately, we just have to sit back and see how this shakes out. Just because it's Google and it's open source doesn't necessarily mean it's automatically going to succeed, but because it is Google it certainly has a reasonable shot. Meanwhile; Microsoft, Apple and even Adobe, have to be pondering their next counter move as the battle for control of our computing lives continues.

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