With an amazing aspect of surprise and measured fanfare, Google launched their new web browser Chrome yesterday to the delight of web technology enthusiasts everywhere. Unlike the nosedive of Cuil, Chrome is actually a very solid product on launch and man, it is fast.
We’re already getting asked “What does Google mean for search?” — if anything — and having had a chance to see Google present the product yesterday (which was refreshingly NOT filled with “leading edge next generation new paradigm” type gobbledygook) and test drive the software myself, I can honestly say that… well, Chrome simultaneously both does and does not mean anything for search.
Ignoring the eerie monopolistic and privacy concerns of Chrome, I’d like to remark on the statement Google made by launching the browser. In my eyes, Chrome is like a hydrogen car — it doesn’t mean that the gasoline-based car isn’t going to be around for a while, but it’s a powerful statement about where the web is headed.
Websites today have evolved rapidly from where they were just, jeez, a year or two ago, and even the foggiest, scuffed-up, cracked crystal ball can see a web that’s dominated by social media discussions and audio-video content. And, undoubtedly, a healthy Google, who in a large part is creating this world we’re soon going to be living in. A world of the thin client-side applications, where Google Docs and Gmail rule the world.
So it obviously makes sense to build a browser that improves the experience of using online applications, and hopefully it does, as Google suggests it will, spur more creativity, competition and innovation with the web browser.
A token of good news, for us search-loving types, is the seamless integration of the “omnibar” with the search experience. One prediction — if everyone starts using Chrome, we’ll see a rise in hits for “my company name” in Google Search (Chrome’s default behavior if you type in words rather than a URL).
For now? Chrome doesn’t affect your immediate web strategy, but is a clear signal of what’s to come. And if you weren’t already thinking about how the web was going to be different a year or two or five from now, it’s time to get on the train before it leaves the station, and your static, isolated site becomes an island in a sea of limitless noise, extreme entertainment, and ADD-driven discussions.