How will Google's Chrome shine?

Experts ponder Google's browser benefits for applications, users, companies

Now that Google has its Chrome browser available in beta, the question is: Will it shine in corporate environments?

Observers are reminding themselves that this is just a beta, in fact, a beta by Google's own admission that doesn't have the breadth of features to match current browsers.

But the features it does have are fueling thoughts about where the browser is or should be headed in a time when the notion of online applications is coming of age.

Key to Chrome is the V8 JavaScript engine designed to run Google's services/applications and other online AJAX-based applications like they are desktop programs. There is also the client's browser tabs that operate as separate processes and could help crash protect the software as a whole and cement it as a stable client for online business applications.

Google says Chrome will provide more speed, stability and security for Web users, and combined with Google Gears, which allows users to take Web-based applications offline.

Chrome also is fueling talk about where Google itself is headed. Some say Google's effort may be as much proof-of-concept as future product in terms of showing Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple and others what can be done, and prodding them to upgrade their own browser software.

Still others believe there will eventually be a showdown with Microsoft and a Google end-run at building an enterprise computing business. Clearly Chrome could not have been timed better to coincide with Microsoft's Beta 2 release of Internet Explorer 8, a juxtaposition that Google explained as a inadvertent leak of a comic book trumpeting the browser's virtues.

"Google has generated a lot of excitement," says Forrester analyst Sheri McLeish." But it is a beta and from an enterprise perspective it is not ready for serious consideration as a replacement for IE."

McLeish says that anybody who thinks Microsoft doesn't know what is at stake with cloud computing on the horizon and doesn't know how to compete accordingly "is not based in reality."

The infighting, however, will be good.

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