Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Got Chrome?: A comic tale on the browser wars

It's shaping up to be the second battle of the browser wars this week. Last Friday, I posted word of Firefox's new Ubiquity utility (which let's you operate the browser by telling it what you want to do...see here).

Now, two pieces of news from Microsoft and Google.

First, last week had Microsoft releasing Internet Explorer 8 (now in beta 2). Microsoft, in a challenge to Google's dominance in the online ad space, creates a new version of the most ubiquitous web browser and allows people to say 'no thank you' to those who would know more about who you are (e.g., Google).

Key features include Privacy and Security. Popup blocking and ad blocking in and of themselves is no big news. But IE8 will allow users to surf, for all intents and purposes, anonymously. The two components are called InPrivate Browsing and InPrivate blocking.

  • InPrivate Browsing allows one browse with no record is kept of visits. The History and Temporary Internet Files are not written/accessed and cookies are stored in memory only. No record is kept of form data or login credentials. When you exit the browser, all traces of your travels disappear.
  • InPrivate Blocking is eliminates any information transfer between sites one visits and third-party sites that provide content to those pages (such as ad netowrks that build profiles based on your visits to other sites...including GOOGLE!).

All this could exert more downward pressure on CPMs as many of the ads can no longer be guaranteed for delivery...or perhaps there will be price support as actual ads served become less (i.e., a reduction in the deliverable inventory).

See more about the IE8 features and benefits here.

Not to be outdone, Google has now come clean on one of their latest, long rumored projects: A web browser. In a challenge to the browser dominance of IE, Google's 'Chrome' web browser has released a comic book style description of why they thought a new browser was necessary--and what it will do.

Because it is not yet available (due sometime on 9/2, but for now the www.google.com/chrome URL gives only a pnf error), the comic book is the most interesting part of the Google side of the war. It does a thorough job of explaining how browsers work, why they are in need of a do-over, and how Chrome will enable users to access applications and activities that traditional browsers never anticipated.

The comic book is available to everyone at Google Books, here. It's worth a glance for no other reason than as an example of simplicity in effectively communicating complex information.

It remains to be seen whether Google's actual browser can be said to be incorporate the same ease and effectiveness.

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