According to this article Google doesn’t intend to make a web browser:
“We would not build a browser just for the fun of building a browser,” [Eric] Schmidt said.
At least he admits building a browser is fun!
Tags: gbrowser, google-browser
June 1st, 2006 at 12:50 am | Posted in Google, Mozilla
Google have very little incentive to develop a stand alone browser product. Why would they when instead they can just leveradge the countless volunteer hours of hard work that goes into Firefox? Google has access to rebrand Firefox for nothing. They could even do a bit of customisation. Look at Flock. Small team, short time frame, they built just enough unique functionality into Firefox to make Flock seem a reasonably unique product. Google already has a small team of developers they ‘purchased’ from MoFoCo. Also, Google is not just two geeks without any business knowledge. Schmidt is all business AFAIK and he’s going to look at Firefox and see they are getting their money’s worth without committing to a whole new development team for a new browser product. What does Firefox cost Google? A pittance of Google net worth -> $70M a year? Yet it supplies a lot in return -> search hits.
The only reason Google would ever contemplate building a browser is if the MoFoCo firefox scenario loses steam. In the meantime Google can make billions fro the ‘sweapshop’ that is the Firefox volunteers.
Consider this: what do big companies like MS and Google do when they want to move in a strategic direction where they don’t have existing capability? They aquire small niche companies to give them that capability. In the case of a browser, Google does not need to acquire a company to gain browser capability as they can leech off the MoFoCo Firefox community for the bargain basement price of employing (what, half a dozen?) MoFoCo developers, starting with Goodger and others followed.
Google are too smart to worry about browsers. They looked at them and realised what is the point in investing so much effort in ‘the medium’ when they area ‘content’ company. Existing browsers are no great but spend a few dollars rolling your own DOM layer to cover almost-there but not consistent scripting support from current browsers and you have patched the ‘medium’ for next to nothing and are ready to pump down your core business – ‘content’ through that medium.
Meanwhile like any sensible, responsible company, make sure you have an option; a get out of jail free card if they decide in the future that they want a browser. That’s all they have done – establish a foot in the door so that it’s not shut forever. That foot has a Firefox on it.
I’m not counting out a Google Browser yet. The comments Schmidt made reminded me of Steve Jobs before iPod with video came out. I think Google has a lot of interest in a browser and the project will turn out to be a big moneymaker for them.
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Robert Accettura is a web developer by day, a Mozilla contributor, self-proclaimed Mac Addict, and Open Source advocate on the side. more »
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