Google Chrome, a stab in the back?
Google has announced that they are working on a web browser, called Chrome. They are claiming it’s a “fresh take on the browser”, which I have to disagree with. They have many ideas that are improvements that’s for sure, and I’m sure it’s going to be a great browser. And looking through their presentation, my immediate reaction is to wonder why they don’t just improve Firefox. With Googles power this probably will, in the long run, kill Firefox. Sure, it will take time. I’m not abandoning Firefox for web development until Chrome has a plugin like Firebug, for example. But if Chrome turns out to be better then Firefox, then this probably will all but kill off Firefox, and probably then also the Mozilla foundation, as it get’s most of it’s money from Google.
But does that mean that Google is stabbing Mozilla in the back? Well, it seems so. But then I slap my self in the face, and tell my self, “competition is good for you“! Because remember, this will kill Firefox if Chrome is better! If it isn’t better, it will not kill Firefox. Yeah, surely, if Google put it’s browser development money into Chrome instead of Firefox, sooner or later Chrome will be better. And people will switch. And Mozilla will die. But remember, competition is not there to be good to the producers, it’s there to be good to the consumers, and that’s all of us. Many complained about Microsoft giving away it’s browser for free. It was unfair competition is was said. And it killed Netscape, which had it’s main income from Netscape Navigator. That’s bad, right? No, it’s good, because it gave the world a perfectly good browser for free. Yes, Internet Explorer sucks, but so did Navigator, and Navigator cost money. After the browser wars, browsers are not definitely for free. Good for consumers. The almost-monopoly Explorer had came largely from that it was free, and good enough. There was always competing browsers, either for a fee, or for advertising or also for free. No one took any significant market share before Firefox, because none of them was significantly better to get people to switch. Firefox was significantly better, and for free. If Chrome is to kill Firefox, it’s because it also is free, and is significantly better than Firefox. And this is good for us.
Google also promises to make the browser open source, which means that Mozilla Foundation can use many of the things Google does. For free. So even if Chrome gets better, maybe Firefox will keep up, and stay on top. And even if it doesn’t, it means that the world now have an even better web browser than it had before. And that’s really not a problem. The only problem is that “Google will own the web“. But remember, Google does that because it is doing things better than other companies. Just as Microsoft owns (or at least owned) the desktop, because they actually did things better. When I was a part of evaluating what office software to use in the early 1990’s, we chose Microsoft. Not because it was Microsoft, but because every part of MS Office was better than the competitors. Excel kicked Lotus 1-2-3’s ass. Wordperfect for Windows was unstable unusable crap. And making presentations with Powerpoint was a breeze. And before that, IBM rules because they made business machines like no one else. But then they fucked up, and almost went bust. Microsoft ruled the desktop because they were the best. But when it comes to the web, they have failed. And Google rules the web because they are the best. And sooner or later, they too, will fail.
So I’m not very worried. I say hi to Chrome, and welcome to the world. If you suck, I don’t have to switch browsers. If you rule, I get a better browser. It’s a win-win situation.