When I saw Google’s announcement of their new browser, via the neat marketing trick of a comic book, I wondered what the point of it was. I was struggling to think of what it is that they could offer than Firefox 3 doesn’t have already.
The answer – to run applications. From Nick Carr on RoughType:
Chrome – if we can trust the comic book – promises a similar leap in the capacity of the cloud to run applications speedily, securely, and simultaneously. Indeed, it is the first browser built from the ground up with the idea of running applications rather than displaying pages. It takes the browser’s file-tab metaphor, a metaphor reflecting the old idea of the web as a collection of pages, and repurposes it for application multitasking. Chrome is the first cloud browser.
As Nick also points out this ultimately is a threat to the position of the operating system.
Note also that this is an open source initiative from Google. This is not principally about trying to lock in value by controlling the platform on which applications run – it is more concerned with making the apps themselves better, and by product other people’s apps as well. Umair would have this as the new strategic orthodoxy.