It’s been a busy week for news outlets all across the country. I’m not just talking traditional news either. The top three news stories of the week are:

  • Sarah Palin’s pick as Republican VP
  • Hurricane Gustav’s unexpected impotence
  • Google’s Chrome

You’ve no doubt kept up with the first two. Sarah Palin is the most blogged name (scroll down to view the top tags on the right side of your browser) in cyberspace right now. Surprisingly, hurricane Gustav didn’t make Technorati’s top tags, but Google Chrome did.

If you haven’t heard, Google introduced its own Web browser. If you are a devoted Internet Explorer fan then you may not care. Those of us who are rabid Mozilla Firefox converts do. The reason this is significant is not because Google is huge; Sergey Brin says (second video) the company he co-founded with Larry Page is still small. Google’s new Web browser is significant news for several reasons, namely:

  • It is open source – That means developers (i.e. Web geeks) can take the source code and modify it or work with it to produce their own development tools.
  • It has cool features – Google is billing Google Chrome as the next generation of Web browser. It has one cool feature that I like and which I hope Mozilla Firefox adopts. When you open up multiple tabs in the browser, you can have each tab working simultaneously on separate Web apps without clogging up your computer’s memory and slowing it down. Not even Firefox does that. And, even better, when you close a tab, all the processes that run in the background to keep the Web apps running shut down along with it. Even with Firefox, if you run several Web apps throughout the day and you don’t shut down the processes after closing them down then you’ll eventually have memory clog. Google Chrome solves that problem.
  • Google’s target is not Firefox – Sergey Brin says Mozilla Firefox’s success is what inspired Google Chrome. In other words, they never bothered with their own Web browser because they were afraid of Microsoft. After all, until Firefox, Microsoft owned the browser market. But two things happened to change this Google mindset: Firefox managed to take significant market share from Microsoft in the browser market; and Google has earned untold revenues from its advertising programs such that it can now devote a share of its capital to research and development. The war is on!

Microsoft has pretty much made it public knowledge that it wants a piece of Google’s aspirations. You know, that whole taking over the world thing. Where IBM was the 1970s, Microsoft was the 1990s. Google is the new Millennium. Big Blue is still big, Microsoft is still loved and loathed for its hostile takeover of the world’s desktops, and Google is working on creating its own reputation by being the dominant force in Internet media. Microsoft feels the heat.

It’s a two-party world. In the culture of politics, those parties are the Democrats and the Republicans, the Tories and the Whigs. Online, it’s geeks against geeks as Bill Gates and Co. go head-to-head with Googlers. Chrome may not be heavy metal, but at least it’s a good alternative and if you can get past my mixed metaphors you just might realize how Google has transformed the way the world communicates and searches for information – even if you don’t chase the Chrome bumper.

Allen Taylor writes the daily blog at http://newsandmediablog.com.

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