Originally published in The Clarion | February 29, 2012
In the world of IT, fewer things intrigue me more than observing how companies get their start, evolve into mega-billion dollar corporations, and sometimes seemingly rule the realms in which they participate. As anti-Microsoft that I am, I must admit it is pretty impressive to go back and see where they started, how they diversified their product offerings over time, and where they are today. Companies like Apple, Inc., Sony and Dell are no different. For at least a couple years now, I have been telling myself and others that Google is quite likely going to be the next Microsoft, both in good ways and bad.
The web browser marketplace is an interesting one. Since the inception of the Web, there has existed a browser. The Web in its truest form is inaccessible without some mechanism, some piece of software to bridge the link between the user and its content. Some companies have specialized in web browsers and nothing more, others have jumped in to the web browser arena simply by necessity. Google is no exception. With their simple beginnings as a search engine (one that was and is so highly successful that its name is now a common verb in our everyday vernacular), Google has grown, morphed and revolutionized the IT landscape.
A new adventure from Google could quite simply add another chapter to the digital revolution. A project is in the works that could rewrite how each and every one of us uses our computing devices, both at home, at work and on-the-go. While software and application developers still cannot seem to come to terms on cross-platform and cross-browser functionality, Google is working on a new project where the browser – Chrome – is not only the web browser but the actual platform that runs on your connected device. In simple terms, imagine turning on your personal computer and being presented, not with your desktop and its buttons, desktop links etc., but with a web browser. That’s right – the system will be nothing but a web browser interface. You won’t be able to close or minimize it as this will be the system. From the interface, you will be able to perform all of your daily computing work – from composing text documents and spreadsheets to editing image and video files and keeping up with social media and eMail. Such an interface is seemingly hard to grasp – or is it?
To say the least, I am more than interested in seeing where this next step for Chrome ends up. In a day – decades after the inception of the Web – where I am forced to use Microsoft Internet Explorer to gain full functionality of certain websites, something tells me this new project from Google just might work. Sure it will take a lot of work, both on the part of Google and the plethora of content and application developers to make things function properly, but the project has my full attention.