Google Inc, creator of the world’s most popular internet search engine, has developed its own web browser to challenge Microsoft Corp’s dominant Internet Explorer.
A test version of new software, named Google Chrome, will be available for download on Tuesday in more than 100 countries, Google announced on its corporate blog on Monday.
The company said its aim was to deliver a faster, more user-friendly and safer browser.
Web browsers are programmes that allow computer users to navigate the Internet. If Chrome is well-received, Google – which is already the top earner from online advertising and also offers programmes and services from e-mail to office software to virtually the entire globe – would further solidify its position in the industry.
At the same time, its browser was sure to be closely examined by privacy advocates because Mountain View, a California-based company, has been accused of collecting too much data on its customers.
Competition in the browser sector has increased substantially. The top player remains Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, but its market share has dropped from more than 90 per cent a few years ago to nearly 75 per cent today, market researchers said.
In second place is the open-source programme Firefox with a share of nearly 20 per cent. Another strong competitor is Apple Inc’s Safari.
Like Firefox, Chrome is to be released as open-source software, Google said. Such software can be further developed and improved by independent programmers.
Google touted Chrome as being more stable and better at running complex web applications. For instance, it said, Chrome isolates web pages with errors so users can close only the flawed pages without having to shut down the entire application while also receiving better protection from rogue web sites.
Google’s release of the browser harkens back to the browser war of the mid-1990s. At that time, Microsoft beat back the dominant browser, Netscape Navigator, to insignificance, largely because it offered its Explorer for free with its Windows operating system.
Microsoft introduced the second test version of its Internet Explorer 8 a few days ago. Experts said the latest version of its browser can keep up with the current versions of Firefox and Safari.
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