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The browser wars

Chrome is not just a browser for Google. Chrome is a delivery pad for Google to launch its applications, writes Puneet Mehrotra.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2008 23:56 IST
Puneet Mehrotra

September was an interesting month in the Google versus Microsoft war. The war entered our browsers literally. Google launched its own browser Chrome to compete with Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8. Mozilla launched Firefox 3. The extended browser monsoon does spell a great harvest for surfers with a great choice to choose from.

Street Tactics
After 4 years of strategy, acquisitions, mergers etc last few months Google and Microsoft have been in face to face confrontation. Chrome is another product that takes Microsoft's dominance headon challenging the way people access internet.

What does Chrome Mean for Google?

Chrome is not just a browser for Google. Chrome is a delivery pad for Google to launch its applications. For example a year ago I had written a story for this newspaper on Gmail getting offline in future. Chrome makes that a reality and gets it into direct competition with Outlook Express.

There is more. The next generation Word Processor is on the browser. Chrome enables Google to create custom applications that work on its browser without being dependent on any third party applications by arch rival Microsoft or friend Mozilla. So it is possible we soon see Excelization or Wordisation of Chrome soon through adds ons.

In the near future using Google Gears, Google Search is in all probability getting offline too. So let's say you wish to search for "travel". A small compressed addon/widget on Chrome let's you browser through the data offline. Same with Orkut if you wish to browse through it offline. Chrome enables Google to create custom applications and for users to use with full fidelity.

How do Chrome, IE8 and Firefox 3 perform?

Chrome - Light and Great

Chrome is a pleasure to work on. Simple, quick and safe too. There is an incognito mode for your privacy incase you don't want to store any information on your history etc. In reality it simply means it saves you the hassle of deleting your temp folder and history. Tabbing isn't new and has been in browsers for a while. There is applications shortcuts, safe browsing etc. Now the interesting part, Crash Control. Unlike Firefox Chrome doesn't crash all the windows. You can simply kill only the irresponsive tab.

Overall Chrome is a very light and good browser. The minus are it doesn't have any great addons being a newbie in the market. A lot would depend on how Google fathers this baby. Google Labs has a history of delivering babies it later forgets. Though Chrome should get priority treatment being a center forward in the Google versus Microsoft tournament.

Internet Explorer 8 - A Performer

Chrome did spoil the Microsoft party but by now Microsoft is probably used to it. Previously a bunch of programmers had broken the Microsoft monopoly with Firefox. (Call it the Netscape Karma coming back 2nd time) So the news of IE8 did get diluted a little with the focus on Chrome.

IE8 is a performer. It has it all what Chrome and Firefox have too but with more power. So there the Smart Address Bar, Coloured Tab Groups, Enhanced On Page Search, and Visual Search. There is also an add on Web Slice and Accelerator for faster downloads. IE8 makes the search visual so search providers like Microsoft Live Search, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Amazon, and more to deliver direct results and "visual search" images that provide you with immediate answers. For example, typing "India" with Wikipedia will instantly show you previews of the top India-focused sites directly in the Search Box drop-down. Finally Microsoft has added crash recovery for tab crashes

Overall Internet Explorer is a superb browser. The minus is its high on the memory usage. The battle between Microsoft and system resources continues.

Firefox 3

It took me 3 reminders to upgrade my existing Firefox 2.0 to Firefox and exactly 15 minutes of browsing to revert back to Firefox 2. Having said that Firefox is a great browser in terms of functions. The usability is one big turnoff and I missed my Firefox 2 look. Besides that it's one of the best browsers available today. Downloads faster, eats less system resources and offers more security.

Puneet Mehrotra writes on technology