Microsoft's attempt to challenge Google with its upcoming entry into the search engine wars has been a popular topic of discussion in the search industry for quite some time now. The past week, however, has been filled with speculation of a different sort of Microsoft/Google showdown - a new browser war that would put the two companies front and center.

News outlets and message boards have been buzzing over the past week as industry watchers examine a series of moves on Google's part that may signify plans to introduce a Google branded internet browser. A browser from Google would likely present the first significant challenge to Microsoft's position as the most popular internet browser, a title it captured from Netscape in the late 90's.

What's motivating the buzz? A series of moves on Google's part including the registration of a new domain name, several key hires and an influx of dollars from the company's successful IPO have caused many to wonder if Google might not have a browser up their sleeve. On April 26th, Google registered the domain name Patent applications were also filed on Google's behalf for technology that would deliver ads to client side applications, applications like a Web browser. Google has also recently hired some talent from companies like Microsoft and Sun Microsystems that have strong backgrounds in the creation of browsers, Java programming and application interface development.

The idea of a Google browser isn't so far fetched. Google already offers one of the most popular Web browser toolbars, a Web-based email service and their own blogging tools. A browser that integrated these features along with the applications contained within the toolbar would likely be a big hit with many Internet users.

Web analytics firm WebSideStory reported recently that use of Internet Explorer has actually dropped slightly over the past few months. (Down from 95% in June to 93% this past month.) Security flaws and attacks by adware and spyware programs have prompted many Internet users to seek out alternative options to the Internet Explorer browser. Though many are turning to browsers like Opera and Mozilla, it wouldn't be surprising to see heads turn toward Google upon news of their offering a new browser.

Speculation has also been made about an upcoming instant messenger program from Google. With Google relying heavily on revenues from their syndicated advertising program, it would make sense for them to develop new applications that could feature Google-based advertising.
September 29, 2004

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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