The browser wars are heating up again! Are there any seven unsexier words in the English language? Probably not. In any case, they are, what with Google launching an aggressive new TV campaign tonight. It's all fiendishly calculated to tug at your heartstrings while diverting eyeballs and mouse-clicks towards their Chrome.
Google's new Chrome browser may have lots of cool technology under the hood that I don't completely understand — all I know is that hardly anyone uses it. That said, Spy from the Land of Rainpeople wins commenter of the day for mentioning 50-year old programming language LISP, regardless of the context.
While Google's new browser Chrome got lots of attention, it hasn't amassed many users. Net Applications tracks browser share across 40,000 sites, and Chrome has at best won around one percent of market share, with usage slipping from 0.85 percent to only 0.77 percent since last week. But hey, it's probably still beating Opera. [ComputerWorld] (Image by Miles Goodhew)
Bidding for an Australian's copy of Google's comic-book press release on its new Chrome browser closed after 17 bids at AU $454.99, or approximately $363. If all proceeds weren't being donated to charity, we'd have a truly disturbing waste of money on our hands here, especially considering the Chrome presser isn't even the best "Google" comic available on the auction site.
Users of Google's Chrome browser account for about 1 percent of the market, reports Net Applications, a market researcher. European browser-maker Opera — which you might have heard had it agreed to make the iPhone's browser, but it didn't, so you haven't — claims 0.74 percent of all users. Microsoft's Internet Explorer still dominates the market, but its latest version, Internet Explorer 8 beta 2, which was released around the same time as Chrome, owns only a third as much market share, around 0.34 percent. [PaidContent]
Before the first iPhone was released, Apple wanted Opera to build the browser for the iPhone, says a source. Negotiations dragged on for six months, the sticking point being exclusivity — Apple wanted it, but Opera was unwilling to commit, seeing a larger market for licensing its proprietary software to multiple handset manufacturers. Eventually, Apple walked away armed with ideas from the negotiations and built a version of its own Safari browser for the popular mobile device. Meanwhile, Opera ended up as the browser of choice for the blockbuster Nintendo Wii, and Opera Mini did much to saturate the mobile handset market. But is the iPhone claim simply a proud boast made by an indiscreet senior manager at a company party? Maybe.The real question is, why would Apple have approached Opera in the first place? Simple. It's not like the Cupertino company has thousands of employees to throw at a browser project — with only a few thousand in corporate and the rest in retail, Apple is actually happy to outsource engineering whenever possible. Especially when the company can ensure an exclusivity deal and enforce some creative control over the interface. But that demand of exclusivity led Opera to bow out, which forced Apple to end up developing its own mobile browser after all. If the source's assertion is true, passing on Apple could prove a miscalculation on Opera's part. Apple is said to have offered it a large piece of then-theoretical iPhone sales. Opera chose a smaller piece of a larger pie in licensing its Opera Mini to multiple carriers and manufacturers, and so far, it's done fine with that strategy. But even with the bugs and lawsuits, the iPhone is set to beat Steve Jobs's public estimates that Apple would sell 10 million units this year. Meanwhile, mobile search partner Google is intent on porting the company's new Chrome browser to the Android mobile software platform and both Mozilla and Microsoft recently upgraded their competing Firefox and Explorer browsers. Four years in, and Opera has big money to blow on a bar tab at the Supper Club in San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood. That will buy a lot of champagne and at least a temporary warp in Apple's reality distortion field. But enough to make up for the iPhone money Opera passed up? That remains to be seen.
Marc Andreessen invented the friggin' Netscape browser. Have you heard of it? He also wants you to know that he's the idea guy who shifted your computing paradigm by getting Netscape to develop webtop software. So while gabbing at the Churchill Club, Andreessen slyly noted the realization of his ideas. By Google. Today's featured commenter, WilliamMarkFelt, explains the thing about ideas:
On Blogoscoped, obsessive Google watcher Philipp Lenssen has posted an exhaustive list of "Google Chrome Tips and Pointers." Go there if you are, for example, a freeloading jerk who wants to learn how to install ad blockers in Chrome. But I think the best part of the FAQ is the question Lenssen raises about where the logo came from. Voice your preferred theory in our poll:
The media frenzy earlier this week over Google's Chrome Web browser was so over the top that I wondered: How far did reporters go questing for commentary, for insight, for historical context? How many of them chased down Jamie Zawinski, the Netscape engineer turned beer-peddling South-of-Market nightclub owner, who played a critical role in making the Netscape browser open source — a move which, years later, made Google's browser possible? So I IM'd him: "What is the absolute worst media inquiry you've gotten about Google Chrome this week?""I have gotten none until now," he replied. "Which makes this one the worst by default."
Everybody's having so much fun with Google's Chrome comic, we figured we'd give our readers a crack. In this very special caption contest, the best caption left in the comments won't just become the headline, we'll even update the graphic — to live on in Google's index for Webternity. So don't let us down, and bring your A-game. Yesterday's winner was ROIpositive for "Have you wiped your dirty temp-files lately?"
The seditious perverts on bizzaro community board 4chan got their grubby hands on Google's Chrome comic and now they're doing to it what they already did to cute cat pictures when they came up with LOLcats. We'd link to 4chan but their links don't stay static and a commenter tells us the images originated from Yayhooray anyway. Sure, more topical and certainly more earnest parodies of Google's Chrome Comic are already out there, but for my money they can't beat the sociologically-revealing collection of awkward non sequiturs we've gathered below.
Web wonks got into a tizzy over a clause buried in the terms of service for the new Chrome browser from Google which gave the search engine rights over all content created with the software. An insidious conspiracy to abuse copyrights! All your data is belong to Google! Not so much. Google's legal eagles, under the direction of general counsel Kent Walker, were just really lazy. They copied and pasted the text from other Google legalese without thinking. Now Google will be moving to strike the clause from the record. Just goes to show we aren't the only ones who don't read the terms of service — Google's lawyers can't be bothered, either.
Nobody reads terms of service agreements, those legal documents new users have to click a box to say they've read. And the truth is, they hardly matter to anybody but the cyber-rights-now crowd who get worked up by articles on Boing Boing, and the paranoid lawyers at large Web companies who want to avoid money-fishing lawsuits. But sometimes they go far beyond protecting corporate interests into la-la land. Did you know that when you download Google's new Chrome browser, you agree that any "content" you "submit, post or display" using the service — whether you own its copyright or not — gives Google a "perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute" it? Google's ambitions for Chrome are even larger than we thought; by the letter of this license, Google will own all information that flows through its browser. But Chrome's terms of service are just the latest in a long line of ludicrous legalese.