According to sources within Google, the search giant is currently trying to phase out the Microsoft Windows operating system on company computers in order to reduce security problems. Google and Microsoft have been rivals for some time now and the two companies have become increasingly hostile in recent months.
Google experienced attacks in China that resulted from a flaw in Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer. Coupled with the fact that Google has a web browser (Chrome) and is planning an operating system (Chrome OS), the move makes sense. Why should Google give Microsoft, a competitor, any more money by buying a competing operating system?
Some security analysts have said the move is not as logical as it seems. According to them, although Windows is often the target of hackers, because of this it has excellent security features that are allegedly not found in other operating systems, such as Mac OS X. By switching, Google will actually open itself up to more attacks.
I know there are not many attempted attacks on Mac OS X because not nearly as many people use it as Windows and I hope Google’s move does not increase the number of attacks on Mac. Maybe it’s time to start learning Linux…
Via PC World, image via Google.
This news makes me extremely happy because I absolutely cannot stand Internet Explorer. I hope that people are realizing that there are so many great alternative browsers out there to use. According to statistics published by Net Applications, Internet Explorer use is down to about 60 percent, which is quite a change from the 80 percent it had two and a half years ago. Firefox has nearly 25 percent of the usage, Chrome has 6.7 percent, and Opera 2.3 percent.
Alternative browsers use different rendering engines from Internet Explorer’s Trident and offer a vastly improved performance. Trident does not meet the latest web standards and has very slow rendering speeds compared to Gecko, Presto, and WebKit, the rendering engines of Firefox, Opera, and Chrome/Safari, respectively.
I would highly recommend switching from Internet Explorer if you are still using it. Firefox is a great alternative (it has lots of pretty themes that you can use to customize it), as is Safari (it’s really, really fast). I have heard great things about Chrome, though I have not used it myself. And if you’re a Mac user, Camino is a great choice as well—it’s based on Gecko and integrates really well with the Mac OS. I have tried Opera in the past and I found it a bit difficult to adjust to, but it is also a good alternative to Internet Explorer.
Apple famously does not support Adobe Flash on its mobile devices. Steve Jobs has spoken out against Flash (the man’s insistent resistance to giving us iPhone users Flash support drives me crazy) rather strongly in the past.
However, Apple is one of the only companies that harbors such a vendetta against Flash. Apple’s recent competitor, Google, has announced that it will support Flash by bundling Adobe Flash Player with downloads of its Google Chrome browser. Chrome is used by only five percent of Internet users, but Google is a big company that has a very large presence as a search engine and as an online advertiser, so its support will be important to Adobe.
A Google spokesperson said that Flash will be integrated seamlessly into Chrome and and “truly feel like a part of the browser.”
In contrast to Google’s support of Flash, Apple has expressed support of HTML 5, which allows users to view video content even if they do not have Flash installed.
Via Wired, image via Google.
HTML 5 has exciting prospects for web applications. It will hopefully result in the end of plug-ins, like Flash, and allow for a more universal standard across the internet. One possibility would to be able to have 3D graphics in web pages. The result could be high-end games directly available on web pages, not suffering from the performance load caused by Flash.
It is interesting to note that this announcement comes on the heels of Microsoft’s release of its new IE9 platform, which introduces HTML 5 and Direct2D hardware rendering. It showed off some very impressive SVG based demos. Google is taking the Microsoft threat very seriously, and has an added stake due to its browser based OS, Chrome OS.
Starting on March 1, Europeans using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer will have a choice of which browser to use. They will be able to choose to use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple’s Safari, Opera, or continue to use Internet Explorer. Microsoft’s offering this choice is a result of an agreement between Microsoft and the EU. The EU and Microsoft have long had conflicts over anti-trust issues.
The browser choice will arrive via an update for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 users, according to a Microsoft blog post. It is estimated that over half of people who use the Internet use Internet Explorer as their browser. According to analysts, many people never think about which browser they use and now will be forced to make a choice.
The chair of the Mozilla Foundation expressed pleasure at hearing this news.
Via BBC News, image via Microsoft.
Google’s browser Chrome, as of today, now holds 4.63% of the browser market, meaning that is has finally surpassed Apple’s Safari. This gain is attributed to the release of Mac and Linux versions of the browser. Safari has stayed relatively static, losing a miniscule 0.15%.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was the biggest loser this past month. It lost one percentage point, bringing its share down to 62.7%. Some people are predicting that if this trend continues, Internet Explorer will have under half of the browser market in six months.
Google is still continuing to improve Chrome. It released an extension today (currently only for Windows) that allows one to go to similar pages from the browser itself. More and more people may become dissatisfied with Internet Explorer and switch to Chrome, Safari, or Firefox (or another browser), which are, in my opinion, better alternatives to Microsoft’s product.
For many years, Apple and Google have complemented each other: Apple made computers, an OS, and software, and also acquired quite a presence in the music industry, while Google stuck to the world of search engines. But recently, the two companies have each been branching out into each other’s territories, bringing them into direct competition.
It’s not that the two companies did not have any ties earlier: they did, sharing two directors, which caused a bit of a legal tussle culminating in the resignation from Apple’s board of Eric Schmidt.
More recently, Google has attempted to break into the music industry where Apple rules with iTunes. In one example,Google considered buying Lala.com until Apple elbowed them aside, acquiring Lala for $85 million.
Google has recently launched a music search and listening service that it says will integrate with its forthcoming operating system, Chrome OS.
Operating systems and software is another traditionally Apple-dominated area that Google is trying to push into. Google is going to release an operating system, Chrome OS, sometime in 2010. It also has a web browser, Chrome, which has just recently been made available for Mac. (Of course, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer still dominates the web browser scene.)
Mobile phones are another area in which Apple and Google will compete. Apple itself is relatively new to the mobile phone scene, releasing the iPhone in June 2007. Google has released a phone OS called Android and plans to release its own cell phone to consumers next year.
Despite the headaches it must be causing in Apple and Google board rooms, this kind of competition tends to be great for us consumers. Both companies will have to continually improve their products to stay competitive, which should mean lots of great, high-quality products for us in the future.
- Comments Off on Chrome Betas for Mac and Linux
Google has answered Mac and Linux user’s prayers this Tuesday by announcing that it has made betas for Chrome that will be compatible with both OSes. These are not final perfected versions of Chrome, but due to the open-source nature of Chrome they should quickly grow to become bigger and better. Mac OS X 10.5 or later is necessary for the Chrome’s Mac beta, while the Linux beta runs on Gnome and KDE.
Chrome delivers ultra high-speed web browsing with loads of cool features. Now Mac and Linux users have a chance to judge for themselves if they will abandon their current reliable browsers for this lightning speed (but possibly quirk-riddled) creation.
Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet is proposing an interesting idea about what’s going to happen once Google releases its Chrome OS, and it’s different than what most people are predicting. She thinks Chrome won’t look so great once it takes the stage in late 2010.
Why? Firstly, the Google Chrome OS is optimized to run on netbooks as an “extension to Chrome,” the browser by Google. It’s meant to fully integrate Web apps with the desktop, improving the user experience.
However, Microsoft has its own extension to web browsers, one that attacks IE, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome in one fell swoop – Microsoft Silverlight. Silverlight 4 is coming out in mid-2012, and adds support for data binding, enterprise networking, and printing. All of this is meant to appeal to not only bread and butter consumers but enterprise app users as well.
Furthermore, Foley says sources told her Silverlight is going to merge with the Windows Presentation Foundation programming model:
“Now that the two share the same compiled assemblies, tools and the like, that idea isn’t really so far-fetched. Until that happens, Microsoft plans to continue to offer both WPF and Silverlight, steering developers of more complex, resource-intensive applications toward WPF and Web-centric app developers toward Silverlight.”
On the other hand, Google execs have made no comment about whether Silverlight will be able to work on the Chrome OS, prompting Foley to imagine that Google sees Silverlight as “more foe than friend of the Chrome OS.”
So, what’s the point of all this? Foley believes that, despite the fact that Silverlight isn’t an OS, the Google Chrome operating system is starting to look a lot like a glorified browser. While Silverlight can run on PCs and phones in the near future, Google Chrome is “a dedicated Linux-based netbook OS that will only work with certain predesignated peripherals.”
Chrome OS may end up being more of a Silverlight competitor than a Windows one, if what Foley says is true, which should certainly dampen some predictions of its raging success.
While it was first rumored that Chinese netbook manufacturers would be getting their hands on the Google Chrome OS first, an early version of the operating system could be available as early as next week.
Google has stated that Chrome will initially seek to enter the netbook OS market, and that the full Chrome OS will be available for consumers by the second half of 2010. A beta as soon as next week would come completely out of left field, considering that Google likely has its hands full trying to get Google Wave out of beta. But who’s complaining?
The Chrome OS is an open source project being put together by Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, HP, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba. It’s expected to slim down boot speeds as well as other important metrics, based on Google’s explanation for the project:
“We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear—computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers toboot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them.”
If Chrome can deliver on those fronts, you can count me in, but I won’t be keeping my hopes up – I’ve had my heart broken before.