First impressions of the Google Chrome web browser
Yesterday saw Google's entry into the Browser wars. Launched initially for Windows, later releases will include Mac and Linux/Unix-based software.
The SEO industry in particular has been abuzz with the launch, with many taking special time out of their day to test the new tool (Ref: Twitter - you know who you are).
However, what is the big deal?
I will be honest, my first impressions were somewhat underwhelming. However, first impressions aren't always the best, and there is no doubt that if we lift up the bonnet of Chrome there is certainly something very powerful waiting.
One of the biggest features is the new Chrome URL bar. Unlike traditional browsers, which merely use this space purely for the URL, the Google Chrome interface combines the traditional URL features, with search suggestions (termed the OmniBox).
This, in my opinion, is one of the better features of the new browser, as there is no doubt many people do type terms into the URL bar, and such a feature merely serves to hone and refine such activity.
The other clever bit here is that this feature is intuitive and develops with your search and browsing behaviour (where other search activity exists ie Amazon, Ebay etc).
I understand that no data is currently being directly collated by Google, however there is no doubt that this, along with a number of other plugins and enhancements, is in the pipeline. It is only a matter of time before such activity is undertaken, particularly with reference to the enhancement of personalised search.
In my opinion, the browser offers huge potential to Google. Various social media mechanisms are going to play an important part in the future of Chrome - just look at iGoogle and the variety of plugins, widgets and gadgets currently integrated there.
Surely this is something that has been considered in the development of the browser, and much like Google itself, I can't help thinking that Open Source has to play an important part in the future evolution of Chrome.
Another dark horse has to be Youtube. Google still hasn't worked out a way to significantly monetise the service, and it is the integration with Web 2/3.0 that will be at the forefront of Chrome moving forward.
To conclude, there is no doubt that Chrome is an early stage product. But given the fact it is Google's, it stands a better chance than most of succeeding in an increasingly competitive landscape.
The thought does linger at the back of one's mind - is it just the first stage in a much bigger plan?
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