This week Google launched their new web browser, Google Chrome. There have been rumours of such a project for some time, though they have only recently come to fruition. The Browser aims to rival Microsoft’s browser Internet Explorer, which currently dominates around 75 percent of the market. Google have already tried to battle with Internet Explorer more indirectly by supporting the open-source browser Mozilla Firefox, however, fears that Microsoft may try to alter their software so that Google products run less efficiently have pushed them to develop their own browser.
Google Chrome will have built in applications such as a word processor and spreadsheet facilities, which run on a “cloud" platform, rather than an operating system such as windows. Microsoft have been worried about such a transition away traditional systems for some time, ending up in court in the 1990’s when they took anti-competitive action against Netscape whom they feared may develop this type of product.
Despite its supposed intuitive nature and comparatively higher speeds, there are still some significant problems with Google Chrome’s design which have been highlighted – particularly in the area of privacy. Firstly, while there is an option to hide all traces of sites you might not be so keen to let others know you have visited, there is also an option to view all saved passwords without a master password. In an age where identity theft and fraud are rife, this could potentially be very dangerous, particularly for those co-ordinating finances and other sensitive information via their computer. Secondly, according to the terms of service Google can use any work published through Google Chrome without paying for the pleasure - posing a massive problem for people contributing to blogs or other such sites.
While this is only the first version of Google’s browser, Microsoft are also set to bring out a new browser. According to Microsoft, Internet Explorer 8 will give the user more internet preferences and in particular give them more control over their personal data, perhaps keeping the edge on Google’s newest venture.