Google Chrome, Google Browser

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 01, 2008

Google Browser, 2001.

What if Google built something that was very much like a browser but was mainly used for searching for information. What if they built a tool that was focused on searching for answers to your questions first, and looking at web pages second. Wrap your head around that. You have search needs. You also have unique search patterns. You have ways of looking for information that are very interesting and personal. Where are the tools that help you search? You are probably thinking of search engines, like Google. But search engines are server based. Why not bring the power of the server to the desktop? There are some tools out there like this, but they aren't complete. They also don't have the usability and brand recognition of Google.

Google Browser, 2003.

So, a Google browser, based on Mozilla. An easily-justified commitment to cross-platform support and outstanding user experience, based on Google's history of honoring those tenets and the Mozilla organization's inherent preference for them. Culturally, hiring the core members of the Mozilla dev team would be an extraordinarily easy fit. And, frankly, it'd probably require little more development resources, bandwidth, or staffing than the Pyra acquisition did.

Google Browser, 2004.

Google could use their JavaScript expertise (in the form of Gmail ubercoder Chris Wetherell) to build Mozilla applications. Built-in blogging tools. Built-in Gmail tools. Built-in search tools. A search pane that watches what you're browsing and suggests related pages and search queries or watches what you're blogging and suggests related pages, news items, or emails you've written. Google Toolbar++. You get the idea.

Google Browser, 2008.

All of us at Google spend much of our time working inside a browser. We search, chat, email and collaborate in a browser. And in our spare time, we shop, bank, read news and keep in touch with friends — all using a browser. Because we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if we started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that's what we set out to build.

More on this tomorrow if motivation allows.