i’ve got to admit, the latest buzz about a Google Browser makes me giggle.
Okay, i admit that i’d actually be pretty happy about a major company like Google backing Firefox by creating a rebranded version of the browser for public consumption, but then, the little business devil on my shoulder starts speaking up.
Anyone who appeared on the web before Homestar Runner knows of at least one company that offered their own browser. i know of another one that still does, albeit that one is just using the MS Personalization SDK to reskin IE6, but then it’s also what a bunch of ISPs do as well.
The thing that i find funny about all of this, is that the whole google browser thing is being kept very hush-hush, to the point where reported bugs for an open source program are being kept locked down, and news is being squelched where possible. Sure there’s good technical and security reasons for that, but it is interesting to note that sometimes being open to the world isn’t always in your best interest.
The little business devil does also point out “why do we need another browser?” More specifically, why would a company like Google even want to do something like this? Well, there are lots and lots of good reasons. Mozilla is eminantly extensible making it a perfect tool to create various search tools that operate in the truely local sense (i.e. your hard drive) They could also build plug-ins and add-ons that access specific tools paving the way for various nifty tools that are served by them. i’d note that there’s some concern that such applications could be considered spyware depending on what sort of information they’re making available to the mothership, but as long as that’s all well disclosed, there shouldn’t be a problem.
i’d also note that many of these same ideas were proposed by Larry Ellison of Oracle and Bill Gates, and were quickly dismissed as being “evil” since who would trust their computers and all that info to a big company. i guess that’s no longer an issue. Someone ought to tell those guys to dust off their code, then.
Ah well, i’m sure that the rank and file religious will properly fawn over this “innovation” in the usual ways, and good for Google for doing it. i still think that more large search companies should take an active role in more open source projects than they currently do in order to build up a powerful set of vendor neutral applications to simplify their lives. i’d rather they didn’t start cloaking bits and pieces of said open source in the process, but that’s purely a business decision.
After all, evil can be a relative notion.