Browser Wars Part Deux?

Netscape and Microsoft fought the original Browser Wars. In that incarnation, Microsoft was painted as the villain. This time Microsoft is back with a new enemy – Google. This enemy, however, will not be quite as easy to take out. And in this battle, it is a bit unclear just who to cheer for.

The new Microsoft IE8 could have some serious implications for advertising targeting platforms. Most notably, advertising platforms like Google that leverage cookies will be affected.

Close an InPrivate Browsing session (in IE8), and all traces of your web wonderings vanish. Cookies, temporary internet files, browsing history, form information, usernames, passwords. Gone. All you have to do is shut down when you hear the key hit the lock.

Google is, of course, the muscled, moustached washing machine repair man of the targeted online-advertising world. Little old Microsoft is a wallflower, desperately fluffing Yahoo, hoping for a piece of the action

…if they succeed in ridding us of targeted ads, we’ll probably have to pay for our porn.

Not to be outdone, Google announced (somewhat mistakenly via a blog) that this Tuesday they will be introducing a new browser to the market – Chrome. The story Via Rafe at CNET:

All of us at Google spend much of our time working inside a browser. We search, chat, email and collaborate in a browser. And in our spare time, we shop, bank, read news and keep in touch with friends — all using a browser. Because we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if we started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what we set out to build.

We definitely need a new browser. The web is no longer a simple publishing mechanism for text-based documents. It is a platform for deploying online services. That being said, I am still fearful of a world where Google owns the browser and a significant market share in multiple online services – most notably search. And I wonder just how much the new Chrome Browser will favor Google Services? An end-to-end, vertically integrated solution for information access controlled by a single corporation could be a dangerous thing. to say the least.

Browser Wars Part Deux, or is this a battle in a larger war? I think this is part of something bigger – a war to own the Cloud itself.

More to come, fan-boys…

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