Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google Chrome Well-Funded

If you think about it, Google should have no problem funding Chrome. With Firefox's small but growing share of the search engine referrals, they're already paying them $55M a year. If Google were able to take over some segment of that market share, they wouldn't need to pay themselves referral fees.

Now, I'm not saying that this is a move on Google's part to take away Mozilla's market share and funding -- I doubt that's a huge factor in their mind. It's not like they can't afford to pay for these kinds of projects in other ways, and there are lots of good reasons for them to pursue the browser as an application delivery platform.

That said, it's interesting to realize that this can, to a certain extent, pay for itself, if it's successful enough.


Matty said...

I wouldn't look at it like that. They really aren't doing it for the money. I think they are trying to innovate fast enough that MS can't keep up with them, so people designing webapps end up doing it with Webkit as their primary deployment platform. That way, Mozilla just grabs and integrates whatever it needs from Chrome (if they don't merge at some point) and MS tries to keep up. In fact, I wouldn't be too surprised if Mozilla was updated by some of the Chrome crew themselves.

I really don't think this one is for the money. At least, not yet. It's for market and brain share -- especially the latter. If you (under-) estimated 90% of home computers have Windows of some type on it, how many of those users have never bothered to try another browser because IE comes with the system and works well enough with everything out there? Probably most, which is why IE has ~75% market share. Once webapps are written and require some of the things in Chrome to work (let's say, the JS VM for speed and security model), IE will have to keep up or die.

I think they'll be able to keep up, but this is Google's push to see if they will.

Geoffrey Wiseman said...

I have a hard time imagining the mozilla folks letting go of their hard-won gecko work to merge with a WebKit browser until they have to, although certainly I think both Firefox and Chrome have things they can learn from each other.

I'm pretty impressed with Chrome, i've been using it all afternoon and evening, and it's pretty solid already.