I have read this morning an article speculating on the arrival of a new Browser on the market, a Browser labelled “Google” (or Gbrowser).
The few readers of my blog can immediately imagine that this is not the kind of news that I would have liked to hear. I personally do not like this invasion of things from Google which, under the cover of being “free for everybody”, tie us to a new monopoly (see my previous post “Internet Search should be property of no one“).
I state this even if I have no problem admitting that most of the technologies that Google, in its immense altruism, offers us are very cool and really innovative and really pushing for significant progress in the Web space.
The problem is not around how cool the presents from Google are… it is about the concept of “present” itself !
Anyway, in this specific case (GBrowser… yes, you can see that the domain name has already been registered by Google!) I think that, if the speculation actually reflects a reality, it may become something very significant, and perhaps not completely bad.
If really Google will put on the market its own branded Browser, I think that :
- Google will finally admit that some “footprint” is required in order to properly run today’s internet applications (this will have consequences on AJAX as we see it today, I think)
- Google will automatically transform what they published as “contribution” into a de-facto standard (because it will be working naturally with the new browser….)
- Google will create a platform onto which developers will build RIA applications
Yes, in the last bullet I wrote “RIA applications“. Because, if the Browser from Google will become true, it will obviously promote the use of Google Gears and of all the other G* things that invaded the web. A couple of months ago, I wrote my first reaction to Google Gears:
“[with Google Gears] Google starts to install something else than the browser in order to keep the browser relevant”
The advent of Apollo AIR (paved by Flex) and the approaching of Vista (via Silverlight) may create serious alternatives for running applications delivered over the internet (see here and here and here for a summary of my opinion on this topic); the default mean to access to applications delivered over the net, will no more be the browser, at least when some significant experience and richness of functionality will be required.
Will Google redefine what we know today as “the browser”? Will Google remove the impedance that somehow forced the two main actors in this space (IE and Firefox) to comply (at least formally) to standards?
Again, if Google will indeed go into the Browser business, all what it gave away so far could be interpreted as a way to create “addiction“, so that people will find it normal that Google will also revolutionize the browser space. After all, Google is not perceived as the “bad boys in the block“, so it is likely that this move will find only few opposers.
Despite these considerations, though, I initially wrote that this may not be a bad outcome for the web. My readers know that I consider that the browser needs a big evolution in order to support the new challenges and the execution of applications delivered over the internet. So, this move may represent a shock that will benefit the whole community.
I wished Firefox and XUL could have become this shock!!!! Perhaps they will anyway (why wouldn’t the GBrowser be based on Firefox after all?)
Of course, this is all speculation at this moment….