Google rolled out its founder Larry Page and Sergey Brin for the launch of its Chrome browser, yesterday (2 September).
Their presence at the press conference underscored the importance of the Chrome initiative, said Gartner analyst Ray Valdes.
"This isn't one of those projects that started as a 20 percent time thing," Valdes said, referring to Google's policy of letting employees spend part of their time on projects they come up with. "This is definitely a strategic initiative that has been two years in the making and involves dozens of engineers."
Page and Brin expressed frustration at the slow pace of browser development while also denying that Chrome was, in effect, an operating system.
Brin concurred, saying that the ultimate goal of Chrome isn't to be a Web operating system of sorts, but rather a better browser vehicle for the next generation of Web applications, a core business for Google.
"I wouldn't call Chrome the OS of Web apps. It's a very basic, fast engine to run Web apps. We'll see more and more Web apps of greater and greater sophistication, of the kinds of things that today are pretty challenging to do on the Web because of browser performance," Brin said.
Google is releasing Chrome as open source in the hopes that it will be improved by external developers, and simultaneously help improve other products, including the market-share leader, Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE).
In other words, Chrome is meant to be a catalyst for faster innovation in browser technology. "Our business does well if people are using the Web a lot and are able to use it easily and quickly, so any improvement to any set of browsers as a consequence of Chrome is good for Google," Brin said.
Sundar Pichai, Google’s vice president of product management, said, "People are doing a lot more online, and the Web has evolved pretty dramatically … but the underlying browser architecture is still very similar to the original Netscape browser," said.
Brin, Page and Pichai all went to great lengths to praise Mozilla's work with Firefox, crediting it with jump-starting innovation in browser development at a time when the only game in town was IE. "Without what [Mozilla] has done, this probably wouldn't be possible," Page said.