Humble Google

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-09-02 Print this article Print

Sundar Pichai, Google vice president of product management, said after the demo that while his team demonstrated Chrome using Google Search, it has no tie-ins to major Google services.

In fact, when you install Google Chrome and you are a user who is using IE and has [Microsoft] Live Search or Yahoo as your default search, we just migrate that preference over. So Chrome is configured to be used with any search provider or any home page it's on ... We want to preserve user choice.

How humble and diplomatic of Google, but that was the mien of the Chrome launch event. Members of the Chrome programming team showed off the browser with an "Aw, shucks, ma'am" attitude hewing closely to the modesty we've come to appreciate from open-source application development.

This is a departure from the brash product introductions associated with IBM, Sun Microsystems and, yes, Microsoft, where these vendors jab their rivals.

In an understated fashion, Google programmers positioned Chrome as little more than a speedy, secure Web browser with neat perks.

These perks include Incognito windows, meaning that pages you view won't appear in your browser or search history, super-fast rendering by WebKit and speedy processing from the V8 JavaScript engine.

If I had come to the Webcast with no prior knowledge I would have thought Ben Goodger and Brian Rakowski, Google's user experience programmers for Chrome, were showing off a computer science project at an illustrious computing school.

But don't be fooled. If Google gets Chrome right and the browser sees uptick, Brin will no longer be able to dismiss questions about what kind of market share Google expects Chrome to garner as he did so deftly today.

Google will instead have to own up to the bludgeon it is wielding, for it will be hard to hide a complete Web stack of browser, search, and productivity and collaboration apps. Microsoft will see Google coming to gobble its Windows market share.


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