In their seeming quest for Web domination, Google [NASDAQ:GOOG] has just opened another front: the browser. Taking Apple [NASDAQ:AAPL], Mozilla and Microsoft [NASDAQ:MSFT] head on, they've released the beta of their new browser today for Windows, calling it Chrome. A Mac and Linus version is reportedly following shortly.
Google claims on their official blog that they've built Chrome with a new mindset: the browser as platform. Since Google is (obviously) betting on a web-based world, where everything from document-editing to photo-tagging to communcation is done inside a browser window, they've taken the approach that a browser should be more of a catch-all app window than just a place to visit web pages. To that end, they've built a totally new ground-up Java engine, which should allow web apps to run more cleanly. They're also taking a new approach to tabbed browsing, putting tabs above the title bar, instead of below it. That might be meant to symbolize the independence Google is bestowing each individual tab -- each one runs like a separate browser session, so if one crashes, it won't bring down the other tabs (or the whole app.)
So will it succeed? Ben Schacter of UBS has told the Washington Post that while Chrome will allow Google to shirk reliance on other browsers and customize its end-user experience, it might flounder if Google doesn't push it as a pre-install on OEM devices. He also reminds us that "GOOG has launched many products with much hype that have gone nowhere." Other analysts mention that Chrome might be a stepping stone to making Google's Android mobile OS that much better of a web device.