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The implications of Google’s chrome covered clone*Matthew Aslett, September 3, 2008 @ 5:34 am ET
I don’t want to go overboard on Google’s Chrome browser given the fervoured image of another world suggested by some reports, but the implications of the release are worth considering.
Jay Lyman has already covered the most disappointing feature: the lack of support for Linux or Mac machines.
Meanwhile, Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation argues that even without a Linux version Chrome is good for Linux since ” in a world where most people access their applications through a browser it makes little sense to have PC’s that are loaded with a heavy and bloated operating system. In particular in makes a LOT less sense for people to PAY for a heavy and bloated operating system”.
This fact makes it all the more surprising that Linux support wasn’t delivered day one, but no doubt Google has some tricks up its sleeve – perhaps even the fabled Google PC? – we’ll leave that one there for now. In the meantime, Glyn Moody articulates how Chrome is the Google OS.
“The future of the desktop client is moving towards accessing cloud-based applications in a browser through multiple devices and multiple mediums. Wireless phones, set top boxes, netbooks, desktop PC’s over a variety of networks is the future,” continues Jim. “The personal computer is not the future… In this world Linux is really the only answer.”
Over at The 451′s Cloud Cover blog, Vishy Venugopalan takes this a step further, discussing why Chrome “is really the first attempt by a major cloud computing vendor to provide a front-end to its cloud”.
The implications for Firefox are interesting, particularly given Google’s recent commitment to extend its financial support for Firefox until at least 2011.
Mitchell Baker responds to Chrome by not writing about it, referring instead to the “open development process” by which Firefox is developed.
Matt Asay maintains that “Google needs community to make Chrome a Windows killer”, while Chris Di Bona maintains that Google is “look[ing] forward to working with all of our colleagues in the Open Source community and users worldwide to make browsing a simpler, faster and more fun experience”.
As for Chrome itself. I’ve only used it long enough to write this post, but the first impressions are good in terms of adopting Firefox bookmarks, history and passwords and handling having all the links on this page running as tabs at the same time (it stalled once but happily recovered). It also has some nice design features, but nothing I would call “killer” right now.
The history of the browser market has shown that imitation comes naturally and one thing that can be guaranteed is that any successful new features in Chrome will also find their way into IE, Firefox and Safari before too long. For that reason, if nothing else, Chrome is a welcome addition to the market.
*10 points to the first person who identifies the proto-Britpop song that was rattling around my head as I wrote this post.
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