Google releases its own Web browser

SAN JOSE, CA

Google's engineers have been secretly working on the project for two years, a browser named /*Chrome*/.

Google is best known for its search engine -- a way to locate information on the internet by typing in key words. A browser is an application that lets your computer display internet web pages. Co-founder Sergey Brin says /*Google*/ is trying to create consumer choice.

"I think what we want is a diverse and vibrant web ecosystem, and we want to have several browsers out there that are viable, substantial choices," said Brin, Google's technology president.

Improving speed, stability and safety were the key goals.

Chrome takes advantage of today's multi-core processors by letting users open multiple websites, easy navigated by clicking on tabs. If one site freezes, only that tab crashes, not the entire browser. And Chrome has an added layer of security to keep out viruses and malicious code.

"What are the kinds of things you can do if you re-thought the browser from scratch? And that was the genesis of Google Chrome," said Sundar Pichai, the Google product management vice president.

Chrome is designed to support Google's web-based applications for mail, documents and spreadsheets.

Google may put pressure on Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which has an 80 percent market share and is pre-loaded on most computers.

"Certainly when it comes to the ability to use a browser to run applications, that's where Microsoft is way behind and has a good reason to be threatened," said Larry Magid, a technology analyst.

Another important thing about Chrome is that it's open source. That means any programmer can access its code. That can lead to new features and improvements. And that might be good for Google's competitors.

"Because it's open source, Yahoo could take advantage of it as well. They could say, OK, let Google do the browser. We'll continue with applications. So I don't think they have to be too nervous about this," said Magid.

Chrome is a free, 7 MB download from the Google site. For now, it works only on Windows computers. Versions for Mac and Linux are in the works.

>> Download Chrome here

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