back to article History shaped Google's Trojan Horse

When people buy software - buy it in seriously large amounts - it isn't just today's binary they're choosing. They're buying what they think is a bit of the future - they're buying a piece of risk insurance. This explains why very mature and well-proven systems often lose out to the Newest Kid on the Block. It also explains the …


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  1. dervheid

    Nice perspective.

    Makes a 'Good Idea' look, more than a little, less attractive.

    Different Demon.

    Same(ish) Hell.

  2. Marky W
    Thumb Up

    ooooo comments

    Fine article.

    A lot of what the G-Men have said and done recently - and I mean during the past 12 months at least - promises utopia but smells of smoke and mirrors. Their underlying business model of punting adverts means that, whatever they produce, it ends up irritating me sooner or later. Then I'm back to 'proper' open source apps or (the horror, oh the horror) paying for my software.

  3. Anthony Hulse


    "I don't see that Microsoft generates the same animosity that IBM once did."

    Someone's not looking hard enough. Even in their heartland of corporate IT departments there are now many people who despise Microsoft and actively looking for alternatives. I don't know if Google are the answer for a replacement, but happiness with the status quo is pretty much non-existent.

  4. Neil Hoskins

    Joe User

    PHB this morning asked me about Chrome. I told him what I knew, explained that it was a fairly flakey beta, but said that if he wanted a look I had no objections to him trying it out. Five minutes later he calls me in: he's staring at an Internet Explorer window saying that it doesn't seem any different to him. So I find his new Chrome shortcut, launch Chrome, and explain to him as patiently as I can the difference between a "browser" and a "home page".

    Whether you like it or not, these are the people who decided the last twenty years and will decide what we do in the next twenty. The same people who think iPhones are cool, basically.

  5. Ryan


    I am running chrome now and something I have noticed is it is alot quicker alot moe stable and alot more secure than Mozilla Firefox which was like a god send compared to IE.

    Google have already announced that they are going to be producing a Linux based operating system (hmmm is gOS this OS?)

    google's wealth is all based upon the use of the internet so it only seems natural to improve the internet experience and bring more people to the internet world so don't be surprised to find a EEE PC style Google netbook soon.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice article

    I was going to shout "No we fucking don't" to this ...

    "buy it in seriously large amounts - it isn't just today's binary they're choosing. They're buying what they think is a bit of the future - they're buying a piece of risk insurance"

    But you back up my take with the Microsoft example. DBA's are loathed to upgrade anything till they have to.

    I haven't looked at Chrome and frankly don't intend to till the wheels come off what we are doing (very effectively) now.

  7. James Anderson

    Googles flawed business model.

    Well not exactly flawed as far as google is concerned. But distinctly flawed from the business user's perspective.

    Google offers excellent services such as search and gmail which are funded by advertising and appeal to Joe Public.

    The problem lies in "funded by advertising" have a look around at other services soley funded by advertising: Network TV, Free Newspapers on the Tube, mainstream radio etc.. They all have one thing in common: low cost, low quality, low production value content. The sort of stuff thats OK for free but you wouldnt want to pay for.

    Any future "Software As A Service" has is with "" type subscription services. Services that you pay for in return for an enforcable contract with the service supplier and a meaningful service level agreement. In this environment reputation and quality count for much, so, firms will ensure thier services are reliable and available and have all the features thier customers require.

    Its diffcult to see how Google can enter into this market, other than throwing massive amounts of money at it. Microsoft tried this with search and "content" and it didnt get them very far, so, its difficult to see Google doing any better.

    So if you want to live in a world ruled by advertising budgets, surrounded by messages from our sponsers, where critisism of any company with an advertising budget simply dos not happen -- then by all means download chrome.

    Me I'm sticking with Firefox.

  8. FatherStorm

    Where Google fits in

    The difference is that in the case of Chrome, Google has opened the application up to everyone. You'll have the inevitable clones and branches, programming evolution dictates that somebody's gonna come up with a few cool tricks that Google never though of, and those tricks will be rolled into the next major official release. The allure of the whole "cloud" architecture is that as a person who has a office wokstation, a home workstation and a primary laptop, as well as severay ancilliary systems, I would prefer to take my browser with me. Based on the very way Google Chrome is built, and given that i't not goint to take long to get FF-style plugins built for it, I see myself using the "same" broiwser, all settings intact, wherever I am. I'm sure everyone reading this remembers an instance of reading some article, or finding some site or reference somewhere on one PC, and then being at another location wishing you could access the history from the first. I'll make the bold prediction that Chrome is going to offer some hook into your Google (read GMail) account that will serve as an online history, bookmarks, & etc. Google by now really should be the owner of delicious, and (should leave the core engine well enough alone, no ad insertion please) and it should be a core feature. Next, google chrome should run swiftyl towards adopting Developer's Toolbar as a core feature. Do those things, try to add in IE and FF emulation, and google can take the market starting with the developers. Those developers will recommend ti to their family, friends and clients, and that's how you really shift the "paradigm".

  9. Gregg Cooke

    is Chrome early?

    The offending EULA language (and its fast correction)...the demo-grade quality of the app...the old security bug left in WebKit....Chrome has all the hallmarks of a product released a little bit ahead of its time. And, yeah, I know Google releases a lot of new stuff via Google Labs thats not fully cooked -- but didn't I see that this all started because someone at Google leaked word of Chrome earlier in the week? I suspect this is a case of a product being just about ready for launch and getting caught with its pants down, so they decided just to go ahead with the launch early. It will be interesting to see if this hurts or helps Chrome.


    I see a resemblence...

    with the iPHONE!!!

    I'm sick of the Google Chrome coverage just as I was sick of the 1000s of iPhone stories.

    And you know what's worse? I CAN'T STOP READING THEM!

    Please Reg, make it stop.... make it stop.

  11. James Bassett

    almost agree

    I actually agree with most of this except the line;

    "I simply don't see where Google has the same grip over routes to market"

    In this case, surely the market is the Internet. In which case, Google DOES control the routes to Market in the sense that it is the home-page of so, so many users and the first place they turn to when they want to find things. It's the default search engine of Firefox, thay even pay Opera for the same thing. They DO control the route to the Internet and so they CAN push their services/applications on users who don't know how to make a different choice or - more importantly - don't WANT to make a choice at all.

    People are lazy bastards. If you can come up with a way of making their lives very simple by removing unecessary choices then you are onto a winner!

  12. Tim Spence

    @ Ryan

    You've, "noticed is it is alot quicker alot moe stable and alot more secure than Mozilla Firefox" in at most a day's use, have you?

    Pray tell me, have you experienced no crashes where you would have experienced some with FF in that single days usage? And have you inspected the code and run tools on it to discover just how secure it is already? You obviously missed the news yesterday about the vulnerability in the version of WebKit it uses...

    I'm not knocking Chrome for the sake of it - although I did try it out and found it slower and had problems rendering stuff, so uninstalled it - I actually quite liked it. I'm just trying to calm some of the "wowthisisthegreatestthingsinceslicedbread" hype, so we can get back to facts.

  13. Del Merritt

    @Ryan: you almost had me...

    When you said, "I am running chrome now and something I have noticed is it is alot quicker alot moe stable", I could buy that, but then you added, "and alot more secure than Mozilla Firefox".

    Um, how did you prove this? Speed and reliability are both things "anyone" can see in a short period of use. But security? Sorry, that wrapped the B.S. meter as a standalone.

    No, I haven't read the Gomic that introduces Chrome. So perhaps they make it clear why Chrome should be more secure. But any browser - including FF - that allows users to install 3rd party add-ons simply can't be 100% secure.

  14. dervheid

    @ Neil Hoskins


    No, really loud, people staring like I'm possessed.

    Comment of the year contender there!

  15. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: What??

    "Even in their heartland of corporate IT departments there are now many people who despise Microsoft and actively looking for alternatives"

    Despised by significant sections of the corporate IT community? Possibly. Enough to influence IT strategy? In a recession? I have my doubts.

  16. Christopher E. Stith

    Is a boot-loader for low-end computers a bad place to be?

    The low-end computers used to be IBM-compatible PCs running DOS. Apple had the artists, while SGI and Intergraph had CAD and simulation. The AS/400 had accounting and commercial Unix had the small servers. Almost anything big was the s3xx family or a very limited production supercomputer like a Cray. You almost never saw anything from Commodore, Texas Instruments, Atari, or Tandy (except some of the IBM PC compatibles) on a business desktop.

    If Google's Gears becomes the platform of choice for the basic business apps and Linux (or even BSD) becomes the layer under Gears, that's probably not a bad deal. There are already lots of local applications for those systems. The selection is not as broad as on Windows, but it can definitely supplement the Gears apps. Once there are more desktops out there for which Linux and KDE, GnuStep, or GNOME (probably with the libraries for all three) are available, more native applications will be written for it, too.

    Even without Gears or Chrome, if someone can get by with OpenOffice (and most MS Office users below expert level can) and Firefox then they can use a Linux desktop for work. The IT department will love the way the system locks down compared to a Windows system, too.

    It's possible to do much less desktop support with a well-designed permissions system. It's even easy to make it so the user can't mount portable media from home and to make sure their saved files are on the server instead of the desktop. The biggest desktop support issue IME is that people save documents to a local drive instead of the properly redundant server with daily backups. Then, when a nominally standard issue and interchangeable desktop gives up the magic smoke, weeks of work is lost. Lock down the permissions on the local directories and give the users a home directory on the SAN. I know it's possible to have a remote personal folder with Windows, but how often is that really done? Usually it's just an admonition from IT to stop saving local files and use the network drive.

  17. Bill Gould
    Gates Halo

    Creatures of habit

    As long as Chrome remains crippleware, and requires users to drastically change how they operate, it will not make mainstream like Firefox did. IE still controls the market because it's just there. No download or tweaking required (unless you have an IQ above that of a cabbage), click the "e" and browse.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Only a web browser!

    Yet another web browser that web developers have to support – what a pain! That is all we needed!

    I don’t get this! How much of a real difference a web browser makes to your day to day life? I use IE like the other 85% of the consumers and for me it does the job as good as and in many cases even better than other alternatives. Yes I did download and install Chrome but not sure why I would use it over all the other good browsers that I already have. Small features here and there will not get my vote! Google is tracking your every move today. Just imagine what happens when you also use their browser!

  19. James Bassett

    I have a problem with software as a service

    I have one major problem with software as a servcie. Obviously, it's main advantage is that you have access to the same suite of apps with the same look-and-feel, the same features and all your documents from wherever you have access to a web browser, right?

    Except that last bit is just wrong. Any half decent company or (non-uk) government department - the kind of organisation where that feature would be hugely useful - blocks access to all this stuff. There is no way any responsible IT department is going to open up their firewall to allow this stuff to run is there?

    Maybe I come at this from an extreme security point of view. My last job was at an auditors and I currently work for a Bank so the security I am used to is the kind where the answer to every question starts and ends with "No".

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Chrome does not crash? muhahahaha

    Wanna see Chrome crash? Just type this into the url bar: evil:%


    ps: please add a larry or sergey in horns to the icon list

  21. conan


    Adblock is one of the most popular Firefox addons, and I for one wouldn't switch to a browser without it. As the author stated, Google make their money from ads which they plaster all over their services - exactly why I like adblock so much. Are they really going to allow the same functionality to be reproduced in Chrome? My guess is that they'll use Chrome to deliver the ads in more sophisticated ways.

  22. Alexander

    They will never cross into the business market sector anytime soon

    IF it is not "ITIL" compliant it wont get throught the boardroom door...and who is ITIL oh right Microsoft, Ibm,Hp...etc...etc...

    Dont see the ITIL based buzz world of the corparate carpets allowing google slippers on it anytime soon.

    And i am still waiting for somone to show me Chromes killer function..(and the crashes one web page at a time rather than the whole browser does not count as a killer function)

  23. Ceiling Cat

    I think you'll find....

    It's a lot easier to find someone who loathes Microsoft than it is to find someone who loathes IBM in this day and age.

    Granted, I never buy pre-built machines anyways (my upgrade budgets are non existant), so I don't have to worry about hating IBM, Dell, or HP.

    As far as chrome goes, no thanks. I have a very closed mind when it comes to new software, especially if there's loads and loads of things which do the job at least as well (if not better) and have been doing so for a number of years. I didn't even upgrade to Windows XP until my favorite composition app went XP-Only.

    Mine's the one with the badly scratched win2k install CD in the pocket.

  24. L1feless

    Future....And Beyond

    I can see the future of google apps and the rest of the google cloud making a shift to a local application soon as well. Chrome is the first set of integrated tools. Imagine a web integrated processing suite bundled with a VOIP chat client all based on an ad model. For a small business that is perfect.

    Google Apps + GTALK + GMAIL+ Chrome

    The next step is to allow for diversity in the google cloud by allowing larger companies to host their own google servers which can link to the cloud. Yes it is a security risk but it will be necessary for googles growth if they are to effectively over take the MS market share. They will also need to allow the sale of custom google servers. Perhaps a test run of internal GTALK servers would be an ideal starting point. There really isn't must competition in the corporate IM market. Sametime is really one of the only IM client which is targeting corporations. With the introduction of a GTALK corporate IM solution it can help diversify the companies products and revenues.

  25. Mike Powers

    "Just Use It"? Sorry, that's not an ISO-compliant process

    "Google services have the same appeal: people simply start using them."

    Until your Command Media Process inspectors come in and find you using non-approved software and fine you. Hell, the government practically had to be beaten with a stick before they let us send them PDFs!

  26. Richard Preston

    Beta buggery

    Being something of a browser tart, I use IE (for our shoddily constructed work intranet), FF, Opera and Chrome. If you really want to try a buggy beta, try IE8 beta 2. I rather like Chrome, personally - missing 'home' button's a bit weird though.

    @James Basset: Half agree, but Yahoo used to be as dominant as Google is now, and I don't really see any reason why their being the de facto home page of so many means they will be the de facto provider of cloudy apps. Of course they'll always have the home advantage, but the stranglehold is far less than MS enjoyed by owning the OS - switching from google apps to a.n.other is unlikely to involve parting with cash.

    Mine's the one with the multicoloured logo on the back.

  27. Michael

    Cannot remove Chrome entirely!

    What a mess. The Chome updater will not remove from my system, worse yet, I get multiple firewall alarms about the updater. Now I cannot remove it from my system. Warning to others.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Gregg Cooke RE:is Chrome early?

    Early? EARLY?!? Its BETA!! You don't get much earlier than that!

    You might in fact say its so early, its not really been properly released yet!

    Paris for two reasons:

    1) I bet even she understands the concept of beta and

    2) If she doesn't, I'll guarantee she understands the concept of early release...

  29. Dave Harris

    Plenty of people despise Microsoft...

    Plenty of people despise Microsoft but the paranoia over the EULA shows Google doesn't have a large fund of goodwill either. Microsoft are paid by users and must at least pretend to act in our interests. Google are paid by advertisers so must act in their best interests. Hence users have a fundamental distrust of Google. Google seems to be promising us free lunches and we know there ain't no such thing.

  30. Trevor Pott Gold badge

    Hatred of Microsoft

    "Despise Microsoft?"

    Well, that's a bit of a tricky thing. Corporate types despise Vista. We love XP, and we loved 2000. We love Server 2003, and it's beautiful Active directory, Group Policy, integration of all the nifty stuff like Exchange, Live Communications Server, WSUS, etc. etc. Are there better alternatives, depending on your philosophies, tech religion, needs, etc. there very well may be.

    The reality is though, Microsoft's "Server 2000/Server 2003" ecosystem works well, it's tried and tested, and it integrates nicely with itself. I can train a lobotomized monkey to oversee a lot of the low level user maintenance stuff, and I can cover my edge in Linux virtual machines that do the heavy lifting. A Linux mail gateway living in a VM somewhere can do all my anti-spam/viral checking on my mail, some Linux box somewhere (or hell, an ISA box, if you have the license) makes a good firewall, and the corporate systems sit behind all of that and just WORK. That's what corporate IT folks like. Systems that just sit around and do their job.

    The problem with Microsoft is LICENSING. Sure, we could get into a long drawn out debate about security, patches, reboots, etc...but we've had decades to learn how to deal with that, and corporate IT departments are very good at that game.

    No, Microsoft's biggest problem is licensing. Activation is the bane of my existence. I don't have a problem with paying for the appropriate number of licenses...the problem is that repeated activation thing. There is an easy way to do things in the IT world: cloning systems. If I get 40 desktops in, all the same, I build one image, and ghost it to all the others. If I am building a Virtual Machine, same thing: build one image, copypasta the virtual machine until you have as many as you need. Change the names, join the domain, and bob's yer uncle.

    Of course, that's against the rules. WGA will periodically discover it's been cloned, and freak out. The solution, from a corporate sense, was the VLK. Gods above and below, how I adore and worship at the alter of the Server 2000/2003 VLKs. I have a fire safe somewhere in this building that has our sheets of information on how many copies of a given app we can spawn from out VLK...but having that VLK means cloning isn't a problem.

    Vista? Server 2008? Not so easy. WGA is "new and improved" and makes life as miserable as if you were dealing with OEM or Retail copies.

    If there was incentive from the corporate IT world to migrate away from Microsoft, it will be this change in "ease of use" as regards their licensing. Cost, ease of use, combine that with the well-complained about things like patching, security holes, lock-in, etc...and the value provided by "new" Microsoft applications and operating systems just isn't apparent.

    Maybe I'm alone, but when I look at migrating to the Vista/Server 2008 ecosystem of applications, the hurdles and hoops from a licensing and driver/hardware compatibility standpoint seem to me as much of a pain as migrating to Linux, or, god forbid, Apple.

    For now, we're hanging back on the 2003 ecosystem, waiting to see what happens, if maybe Windows 7 brings something more palatable. If it doesn't, then Linux, Apple, Google...anyone and everyone really become as valid a consideration for platform migration as sticking with Microsoft.

    Maybe Google's or Apple’s time has come? If Apple only had directory service (and the rest of the server stack) that wasn’t complete pants, they’d be a valid consideration. If Google offered a “business version” of most of their apps, with a palatable EULA and a corporate-class SLA…

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Typing :% aint a bug

    It triggers a breakpoint that was deliberately left in. Dunno why though.

    I'm quite impressed with chrome. It's memory management is significantly better than firefox ("try v3, it fixes all the leaks!" - no, it really doesn't), but it seems slightly heavier per tab than opera for example. The most interesting thing for me though is the V8 javascript VM, and gears. These combined make for a platform that is pretty potent for writing web applications (my job).

    Using gears for certain parts of our apps would reduce load on our app servers, and free up more spare capacity. Using chrome to deploy applications, especially internally would also be a big win, especially if those apps can be deployed on low cost locked down linux boxes.

    I can see why google are doing this, they want to snare users by offering features in their widely used apps that other browsers can't do. I'd imagine that more users using more of their apps more frequently would mean more ads served by google and more revenue. In spite of this, I really like this browser. I like how its engineered, how cleanly it renders its pages and how fast its javascript engine is. All the developer tools are there too (right click page, 'inspect element'). Very impressive first beta.

    I also love my iphone. I dont care :)

  32. Mike Powers

    The feature I most want in a browser... an automatic checker that that fixes incorrect usage of the apostrophe. It's one of my pet peeve's!

  33. Greg Fawcett

    Single Point of Failure

    "When there's one computer serving the planet - even if it's Google's - that's a single point of failure."

    I take your point, but you could argue that what made Google great was tying thousands of cheap computers together to appear like one. The best search algorithm in the world is no use if it hasn't got an easily scalable, highly available system to run on, and Google were the first to do this. So it's not just "one computer", and although I concede that no system can be 100% reliable, Google are pretty good. I doubt there are many sysadmins on the planet who would sneer at Google search's availability.

    Another plank in their strategy is AppEngine - it gives every wannabe web developer an easily scalable highly available system to play on for free - just as the original PC gave every wannabe computer programmer a system to play on for much less than ever before. I expect most new web applications to be born on AppEngine from now on. Why go to all the hassle of building or renting your own server, let alone a scalable redundant system of servers, when you can use Google's for free?

  34. Herby

    It is all about locking in the user...

    Into something they can't do without, usually in more ways than one.

    Microsoft (presently) has the dominant operating system, but they also have the dominant word processor, browser, and spreadsheet as well. All of these lock into each other. Then they come out with an improved version (take your pick which one it is) and then people start using it. The items they pass among themselves require others to do the same upgrade, just to stay "with the program" and use the data passed. And so it goes. A vicious circle of upgrades.

    Google is attempting to break the cycle. Good for them! If they succeed in interjecting themselves in one of the paths, they they can move the users over to their "circle of upgrade". They need to convince people that browsing with Chrome is a "better" experience (it may well be, I haven't tried it). Then slowly the web applications will need to address the market since they will insist on it. Oh, well there goes the Active-X pages, and their lock. After this everyone will benefit as we won't be fixed in Microsoft's version of the "upgrade loop". The problem is that we will (eventually) get into Google's version.

    The determination of "good"/"evil" is left to the future.


  35. michael

    un impresed

    crome dose not yet have the mide reader feature I just want to load up my web explorer and go strate to the coreect page I am thinking off till it has that feature I am not using it

  36. Alexander
    Gates Halo

    @trevor pott

    I think you will find the "cloning" issue is more to do with either not using a corporate XP licence and not properly sys prepping the machine and not controling updates, even imaging desktops. Witch is far easier than cloning requires proper sys prepping of the initial image or you will duplicate ssid's will be generated which will cause no end of grief for SMS etc , ..which you really should be using to deploy updates or WSUS rather than alowing a desktop or virtual client hit windows update?. Not the best policy.

    That is why you pay for a corporate licence to avoid the candy floss like WGA which Oem and retail version are covered in.(and if your using OEM or Retail your are not corporate)

    Having worked for H.P, Computacenter, Compaq, Digital and dell in the managed service sector for 15 yrs. Things hated would be UNIX, AS400, creating Mac integrated networks, Linux...we may sell the stuff but i would not take any of it for nothing.

    MS has brought us Active Directory a wealth of clients from 32bit - 64bit constant support, decent server OS's, swimmingly good things like exchange, SMS the list goes on and on.

    Now if MS where the only Software developer out there my company could still do it's business but if MS had not existed neither would my company and so would a huge proportion of the worlds ICT businesses...Google is like a blind child that has wandered into a cage fight, one small rather buggy browser will not stop the poor little mite getting whooped.

    p/s I dont love the gatesy or his possie but I do understand reality.

  37. Norfolk Enchants Paris


    I haven't tried Chrome but will comment on Gears. The idea of being able to use your apps, wherever you are, is appealing. However, for most organisations, apps other than 'productivity suites' are complex beasts, developed or configured specifically to support business processes somewhat unique to the organisation. There are exceptions, and many businesses have found bog-standard SaaS CRM suites like salesforce and SugarCRM to meet their needs.

    The hassles come when you want to provide integration between applications, such as in workflows, and when you grow beyond the capabilities of SaaS tools to support your processes.

    The former issue is both a technical hurdle and a security risk, and the latter is a limitation that requires going back to a bespoke or customised solution. There are other issues also, such as security of your data in the 'cloud'. The simple rule is if it's available over the internet, it's at risk. The other aspect of security is that of access. Currently, if there's a DDoS attack on (say), people at my organisation can still access the inhouse (and mission-critical) CRM system. I'd also be worried about the potential for the 'guardian' of my outsourced data to be bought and sold, arrangements over which I have no control.

    I believe that these hurdles and issues can be overcome, but doing so will drive the costs up and reduce the benefits of adoption. The sweet spots for this stuff are then SMEs and home users. Government and big business will probably still find it more cost effective, secure and efficient to have their own systems tailored to their own needs, housed in known data centres. As the article pointed out, it's all about risk. But it's not about risk of not having the future these days, it's about the risk to your business of outsourcing control of key elements of your business.

    Mine's the one that's mine - not rented

  38. Tim Spence

    @ Rob Holmes

    "Early? EARLY?!? Its BETA!! You don't get much earlier than that!"

    Apart from an alpha release, of course.

  39. Steve Evans
    Thumb Down

    Firewall warnings

    Repeated firewall warnings that the the Google installer is trying to establish TCP connections to various IP addresses even when the browser was closed resulted in my removing it (I hope) entirely

  40. Andrew Mayo

    Chrome - a few things to think about

    Firstly, I think Google lobbed Chrome at Mozilla like a grenade because they had presumably already asked for improved Javascript runtime performance and been told that was low on the priority list.

    In addition, the Mozilla/Firefox people seem to have an almost irrational aversion to implementing what they see as 'non-standard' extensions to the W3C DOM object model, like "document.all", whereas WebKit incorporates most of the Microsoft DOM extensions, which makes life a lot easier for developers.

    I'm betting therefore that within the Firefox team 'minds have been focussed' and would be surprised if they don't either incorporate the V8 Javascript engine or get their engine to bench up to the same level of performance. And incidentally, it's not just Javascript performance that's exceptional in Chrome; DOM manipulation is MUCH faster, meaning that UI performance approaches native applications in speed.

    So Chrome is Google cracking the whip at Firefox by saying 'ok, we can't force you to do x,y and z (even though we pay you money), but in that case we'll do it ourselves.

    Secondly, Chrome is an exceptionally well documented open source project (look at the Chromium web site). You can download a complete Visual Studio 2005 project ready to compile 'out of the box'. An auto-build process runs regularly and there's web visibility of builds and what broke.

    This makes it very easy to download and fiddle with, not to mention contribute code back - and I'll bet right now our friends at Novell are doing just that. Because if Silverlight doesn't work with Chrome, why not get Moonlight/Mono working with it?. Suppose you plug in a different script engine, say, a JIT compiler for .NET, which Novell could easily do. Now how does that look as a development platform?.

    Note the BSD license which avoids all those awkward viral GPL intellectual property issues.

    Because the Chrome sourcecode base has good documentation including technical documentation (incredibly rare in open source projects), it's much easier for third parties to contribute to it.

    Firefox/Gecko is a complex and rather messy codebase that unfortunately means only a dedicated bunch of people (many paid by Google) are willing to mess with it. Whereas WebKit and Chrome are carefully constructed to tight standards (see the style guide for code, for example).

    So consider Chrome six months from now. All the initial bugs are fixed and there are now a dozen script engines to choose from including Java, Python, Ruby, Mono and of course Javascript. Google Gears offers offline storage so you can build apps that still work when the PC is disconnected. An external Gears/filesystem bridge allows you to safely migrate information in and out of the browser sandbox e.g by opening up just one folder on your PC.

    NOW do you still see Chrome as 'just a browser'???

  41. Alexander

    @andrew mayo

    I think like many developers and techie tweakers your are stuck on details, what does it do now for instance I am sure vista with enough development and tweaking might actually be a viable platform for business but gears and chrome will never be.

    The main driving principal in the I.T.C community was cost now Security is all most as important slowly organisations are taking splintered Security factions with departments like dba's, communications, service delivery ..etc and establishing one core dept. to manage all security aspects of the infrastructure.

    The idea of Big business using gears or chrome is foolish and naive and these options will never be in any way attractive to the majority of I.C.T community.

    It will have it's niche cult status like firefox or opera .. Virtualisation is the future but within an organisation own infrastructure and under their own control.

    And the fact they can’t even drum up the courage to have ad blocker or no script as default points the way to how this app will be developed to suit Google and the Customer.

  42. PhilF

    @Alexander & others who are thinking like a short-trm corporate

    Google are not necessarily trying to fight MS in the corporate space directly (as you say it would get messy). Rather they are fighting and beating MS where it counts, the next physical generation of users. If Google make their online services indispensible then in 10+ years IT departments will be looking 'strategically' at how they need to upgrade perfectly serviceable applications to Google ones because the standard new recruit is only familiar with the Google way.

    Compare with 80's green screen apps that run lightning fast and are rock solid but are being replaced with slower GUI ones becasue new starters don't take to green screen any more.

  43. Alexander
    Gates Halo


    The name of the beast is about reality, for the vast majority of "users" just want a browser and chrome offers little if no killer functions for people who just want to browse and download which encompasses 90% of non business use.

    Gears is not designed as a social tool like facebook or youtube is, SME business market is run in trickle down mode from the corporate market and the little guy wants to run his business like the big boys do.

    Anybody who plans for 10yrs + is in the wrong business the nature of technology developmnet is driven by business demand and not the other way about , and chrome and gears may be popular with small groups of independants but i dont see how anyone thinks Google have ability to do anything other than develope software that runs on other people platforms.

    Show me a gears based OS with a wealth of back office based software with sla's of zero down time then we will talk.


    animosity toward Microsoft

    You can't imagine how much animosity there is toward Microsoft. Especially from ex-IBMers like me.

  45. Michael Schmidt
    Thumb Up

    Excellent perspective

    It was good of you to point out that the winner gets to write the history. Business success is a combination of 1) technical expertise, 2) business acumen, and 3) luck. Actually, any two of the three is usually sufficient. Microsoft wasn't so brilliantly run, it just happened to be the survivor.

    Second, I think you underestimate the acrimony towards Microsoft. Buggy software, licensing difficulties, "security" that protects Microsoft from users rather than users from hackers, predatory business practices, and decreasingly acceptable licensing agreements all contribute. One factor that led to the downfall of IBM was their "if we build it, they will buy it" attitude, and Microsoft is certainly headed there. I see a big opportunity for Free and Open Source Software here.

    Third, I don't necessarily agree that people move to new products to avail themselves of the most modern standards. That is the Microsoft model, for sure, with ever changing (and sometimes secret) standards and little attention to backward compatibility. I would hope that OSI diminishes this and like the fact that some major consumers are now imposing OSI standards onto software providers. To finish the thought, I think a lot of people move to new technologies out of blind faith that newer must be better, and this is particularly true of those that have less technical expertise.

  46. Trevor Pott Gold badge


    Oh, I understand the whole concept of "sysprepping a machine," and when needed to, I will. On many networks I manage, it's the only way to deal with these issues.

    WSUS has absolutely no issues with machines ghosted or cloned without Sysprep, though I will be honest with you in that I have no idea how SMS interacts with machines in that situation.

    My point was that hoops like sysprep are a pain in the ass. With VLKs I don't need to jump do that, I can simply clone or ghost as I require, and I make sure we keep within our allowed number of systems. (In fact, in we are in the middle of a "Linux to the desktop" rollout to reduce the number of licenses in use, as we are giving everyone an XP VM for whatever MS software they have to use. No sense in burning a license on the metal, too.)

    I am sure that when working for Dell, and HP, and other large organizations, where you have the resources to waste manpower, things like sysprep aren’t a nuisance. But in the SME world, where a Sysadmin is Network Admin, Developper, Bench Tech, Project Manager, and a dozen other hats all at once…anything that reduces administrative overhead is dangerously attractive.

    Now, I know that some geek somewhere is going to pop out of the woodwork and exclaim and proclaim why sysprepping or some other hoop is the single best way to do things, etc. etc. I'm not here to fight that battle. What I will say is that the ability to treat the software like a commodity, just like we do the hardware is vital when you can't afford to waste valuable (and expensive) admin time dealing with Microsoft's insecurity issues.

    What makes Google’s bit so attractive is that it offers to remove that time wasting layer of bureaucracy. They take care of user portability by making everything run on their servers. If you can front a machine with an appropriate web browser, you are go.

    To put it bluntly: every layer of effort between a ticket being raised for a repair (or a new deployment) and both the user being back online, and the offending hardware or software being put back into service costs companies money. Thus why I hate the Server 2008 ecosystem, and why Google’s growing online empire of doom looks so dangerously attractive.

    For now, 2003 for me, until something better (read cheaper with the same or more functionality and ease of use and administration) comes along. Who's goign to win that one? Right now, I'm just not sure.

  47. sandiskboy

    Freedom is slavery!

    As a non-tech punter I love Chrome. It is fast, simple, efficient and clean. I have no issues with it whatsoever. Might I suggest the people who are having problems are the kind of people who stuff their computers full of third party shite and have five thousand browser extensions. No wonder they have problems.

    Coming from Apple I appreciate being locked in and having little choice. It makes for an easier life. Hardware is consistent, softwares the same. It's fantastic.

    I've only used widows for a few months and I must say it's a right pain in the arse. Virus protection, anti-spyware, firewalls coming out my ears. I can't be fucked with trying to keep up any longer. So I've given in. No more being anonymous, no more adblock, no-script, flash block, everything block-protect-defend.

    From now on I'll use Google and they can have my history, cookies, web search. I don't care as long as I don't have to think about a hundred million things just to enjoy using my computer. I don't want to be a system administrator. I just want to edit my photos without having to be a certified ethical hacker. Is that too much too ask?

  48. Alexander
    Gates Halo

    reality check

    Ok lets bash a few misconceptions on the head.

    @Michael Schmidt.

    you have got to be kidding right "Microsoft wasn't so brilliantly run, it just happened to be the survivor."

    So your saying a company that controls the pc software market lions share, training , industry standards and drives how hardware manufacturers design their hardware, started of in a garage whooped the great IBM corporate monster in a licencing deal that will still be talked about 10000yrs.....was and is poorly run A company so big the most countries are scared of it never mind that they have wet dreams about Microsofts turnover!.

    @Trevor Pott

    "In fact, in we are in the middle of a "Linux to the desktop" rollout "

    and you think windows is a buggy OS or harder to deploy than linux...geez you are in for a surprise when it comes to supporting it. and you should sysprep any pc your imaging or cloning if it is to go on An Active directory setup.


    it is ok nothing brillaint , same with gears..but it is just like all the other crap developers put out it is what they think the next big thing is , and as the internet has always proven it is never what they think it will be and always comes from indepent developers and is usually not designed for productivity or work rather content and recreation...MP3,facebook,myspace,skype,ebay,youtube of course the big boys like google snap them up but usually too late when the decline has already set in.

  49. Trevor Pott Gold badge


    "and you think windows is a buggy OS or harder to deploy than linux...geez you are in for a surprise when it comes to supporting it. and you should sysprep any pc your imaging or cloning if it is to go on An Active directory setup."

    Linux to the desktop for the purpose of getting X working, and an RDesktop session out to their VMs requires *zero* maintenance. It's not a matter of "deploy." The machines boot a cut down version of Linux over the network, bring up a basic X Window and a few gubbins in the background like a clipboard, and present the user with an RDesktop interface to log into their VM.

    *Poof* Linux thin clients that require zero maintenance, are completely disposable, and 100% interchangeable.

    As to your "bash misconceptions on the head," well, maybe ask about things rather than make assumptions. If someone is so lazy as to baw about the pain of sysprepping a machine, what would ever make you think that thier version of "linux to the desktop" would be a "using linux to actually do anything beyond thin client?" Now this is an assumption on my part, however you seem to have a pretty low opinion of the intelligence or competance of people who don't share your views. For future reference: when a lazy sysadmin bitches about how much work something takes, his solution will tend to be something that requires LESS work, not more.

    The only thing a sysadmin hates more than having to actually do work is having to do it twice because it wasn't done right the first time. Anyways, good luck with following the white papers to the letter.

    Mine's the improvised coat made out of AOL CDs and duct tape, with the homemade wearable computer.

  50. Jeff

    One reason why Chrome might put Google over the top


    I hate it, u hate it, why anyone puts up with it, I have no idea...

    I'd rather use a browser based computer with google docs before I have to learn Vista and all it's quirks.

    a Kernal, filesystem and a good browser will run 90% of the software that's coming down the pipe in the next 10 years. gOS might be just the ticket, with AIR or Chrome on top.

    Cool, since I think web apps are hear to stay folks. Instant delivery of the latest version of the software makes web apps the way to go for most people.

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