Having launched its browser on Tuesday, Google will now go all out in a war against Microsoft's Internet Explorer by sewing up distribution agreements for its browser Chrome beta with cyber cafe owners in countries like India to take on Microsoft's OEM bundling strength. This was stated by Sundar Pichai, Google's vice-president for product development and incharge of Chrome development. In a chat with Indiatimes Infotech over video-conferencing from Google's Mountain View headquarters late on Tuesday night (US time), Pichai said Google recognised Microsoft's strength in the browser space as it is the browser of choice for most desktop vendors worldwide. The company will also work pro-actively with the enterprise users and developers alike.
"While it is true that many Internet users stick to the bundled browsers, we will be banking upon alternative distribution strategy. The fact that Chrome is really light at 7MB download, is clutter-free and loads up websites very fast is an advantage that Google would be banking upon," he indicated. Google had launched its browser on Tuesday morning (12.30 am India time Wednesday). Presently, Microsoft's IE comprises about 70 per cent market share while Mozilla's Firefox is ranked second. Analysts aver that Chrome has the potential to shave off at least 5-10 per cent of IE's market share within two years. Google fears Microsoft could find ways to use its dominance of the PC software to favour its own Internet applications and has filed an antitrust suit against the Redmond giant in the past in this regard
Meanwhile, Google's country-specific developer teams are working backwards to provide support for a number of local languages for Chrome. The Indian team, for instance, is working on creating support for a host of Indian fonts other than Hindi (for which the support is already available), and checking the compatibility of most Indian websites in Chrome beta. The browser currently supports 42 languages. It is also working hyper-actively to bring out a Chrome version for Apple Mac users, Pichai said. Besides this, Google is also working actively to start an offline mode in Gmail. This mode, already available to the users for any Google application that is configured through Google Gears, will soon be available by default for almost everything within Chrome.
Playing down the fears of a negative impact on Firefox -- there has been speculation that Chrome would also adversely affect the fortunes of Firefox which Google has a long-term financial deal with -- Pichai said it was more likely that Firefox too would evolve and, along with Chrome, pose a challenge to other browsers. Speaking about the raison d'etre of Google building a browser from the scratch at 'a considerable cost and time', the Chrome architect said the company felt the days of plain vanilla text-based browsing were long over. "A lot of complex Web applications need to be supported by browsers today. While there have been major innovations, we felt the existing browsers have not been able to keep pace with the needs."
"Hence a browser needed to be completely re-architected, rather than making changes on the existing browser platforms. End of the day, having Chrome and Firefox around together will boost the usage of open source browsers," said Pichai. It took three Google teams located in Mountain View, Kirkland and Denmark about two years to build Chrome. "We are fans and huge supporter of Firefox, and we are continuing with the great relationship that we have enjoyed with the Mozilla Foundation. Over a period of time, we are confident Firefox will also evolve," he added. Having Chrome around, Google hopes to pro-actively enhance the usage of its Web apps, while also improving the user experience. This, it feels, will automatically translate in better ecommerce by users and higher rewards per user to Google in terms of Web advertising.
Chrome's many features of delivering users a faster, simpler Web and one based on the user's information collated over a period of time has also raised serious privacy concerns. Pichai dismissed these concerns by saying Google was completely transparent on the issue."Chrome uses only as much or as little data of yours to derive user experience as any other browser. And all of it is pretty transparently explained. Further, the fact that it is completely open source, any developer anywhere can see what we are doing. So nobody should harbour any concern. The one can always use the Incognito mode if complete privacy is what you'd rather prefer," said Pichai.
6 months ago