08 September 2008

The second browser war

Google's new web browser is its most direct attack on Microsoft yet. Several years ago, Silicon Valley was rife with rumours that Google, then primarily a search engine, might be building a new web browser to rival that of Microsoft, called Internet Explorer (IE), or even an operating system to rival Microsoft's Windows. Google mocked those rumours and they died down. But if Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder, is to be believed, the speculation itself made him think that "maybe it's not a bad idea". And so this week Google did launch a new browser, called Chrome, that is also, in effect, a new operating system. The rumours, says Mr Brin cheekily, "just happened to migrate from being false to being true."