There’s an amazing thing going on. It’s a small little product release that few folks outside of the techworld cover. The release and tech uproar over Google Chrome Frame.
Why do I say this? Oh, well, some folks at Google woke up and realized there are such things as platform dependencies and you pick the platform that makes it efficient to produce and distribute your product. So… it produced a WRAPPER for the platform most widely distributed (windows/IE) AND reduced its dev costs (produce a runtime that runs on anything.).
We could continue in this fashion, but using Google Chrome Frame instead lets us invest all that engineering time in more features for all our users, without leaving Internet Explorer users behind,” argued Lars Rasmussen and Adam Schuck of Google’s Wave team last week.
Beyond Google making such an aggressive move to stash Chrome inside IE as a stab at Microsoft, this move demonstrates that BROWSERS determine a BIG PART of business on the Internet. Netscape was right, just way too early. The browser is the new OS – both in user function and business line. All the players are pitching users on various propositions. Do you care about security? compatibility? native software? cool features? It can be bought, sold, and managed just like any other piece of commercial software. The browsers are not immune to real business. The require real capital to build and real support to maintain. Firefox is hanging on… but how long does it have with its main benefactors producing competitive products and forging competitive alliances?
Basically, the browser as a community project – Free Software Thing – is losing ground to browser as front door to lots of revenue.
It’s well known, and extremely frustrating, to many software vendors that whatever ships with the computer is what wins and trying to get a mass of users to install the platform is a losing battle. As a result Google is trying very hard to make Android and Chrome OS a default shipping system, but it’s not there yet. If Google is to ever grow as big as MSFT it MUST own the default software on the majority of systems.
I predict eventually Google has to ship hardware – perhaps in deep partnerships (tmobile MyTouch with Google is just the beginning). It will definitely start shipping Google branded hardware that has Google OS and Google search, Google apps capable of doing real work and real entertainment. Apple, PC Makers, Cell Carriers and others will divorce Google slowly over time as Google takes more and more of their core business.
As a very interesting side note…. the biggest eyeball engine every created still doesn’t have enough advertising revenue growth to power long term business growth. That’s right… SELLING ACTUAL STUFF IS STILL WHERE BUSINESS LIES. Just hawking someone else’s stuff isn’t enough…. and so it goes.
Welcome, Internet, to long term business. Reality bites.
Maybe I’m completely wrong and this helter-skelter game of pushing open source and community projects strategically can disrupt competitors enough to keep growing and further distribute the Google eyeball engine… hmmmm….