Saturday, September 6, 2008

Chrome - Proof that it is much more than a browser for Google

As I had guessed in my earlier post, Google must have had a very good reason to bring out a new browser.

And today as I read Tim O'Reilly's insightful post on how and why Microsoft is losing ground to Apple and Google, the below words were ringing in my ears throughout the day.. much of a realization for me on why Google must have released Chrome.
Let me be absolutely clear: Chrome is not a Web browser, it's an application runtime. Chrome is really Google Gears with a browser facade.
Thats a very interesting and thought provoking description - Application Runtime. Aahaa! So thats it. Google wants to build a runtime that is independent of an operating system. And of course you cannot rely on other browsers when your web application demands much more than what a browser can provide.

I can prove that Chrome is intended to be runtime for web application. One very good demostration of this fact is the "Create application shortcuts.." option in the menu.

What this option lets you do is that you can create a shortcut to particular web page and place it on your desktop, quick launch bar and even the start menu !!

And the next time you click on one of these shortcuts, it opens the web page inside Chrome. But as you see from the screenshot below, none of the browser related aspects are visible. It just appears to be like a normal application windows. Now thats interesting, because, for me, I essentially have a Gmail client (as it appears for me) which I can launch anytime.

Though creating shortcut for webpages and launching browser window disabling menu and other toolbars is not something new, but the way Chrome does this gives us a clue about the bigger plans Google might have in mind.

Just imagine, tomorrow you have an office suite from Google (Google docs) which launches inside the Chrome "runtime". The web app may look so rich that you would be unable to distinguish it from a local application residing in your hard disk.

And this article in Cnet - Chrome's JavaScript challenge to Silverlight, convinces me more about the fact that Google Chrome is much more than a browser and is something close to a runtime.

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