Google's Chrome browser: It's all about the ads and cookie files stupid!

Google's Chrome browser: It's all about the ads and cookie files stupid!

Summary: For all the talk about Google's Chrome browser and whether it's a Web operating system, platform for applications and future Microsoft killer it's quite possible that folks are overthinking the search giant's intentions. Perhaps Google's browser is really about protecting its ad backside.

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For all the talk about Google's Chrome browser and whether it's a Web operating system, platform for applications and future Microsoft killer it's quite possible that folks are overthinking the search giant's intentions. Perhaps Google's browser is really about protecting its ad backside.

Sure, Google's browser (Techmeme)--designed to compete with Internet Explorer and potentially Mozilla's Firefox (see Mozilla's rebuttal)--is about Web applications, grabbing share and integrating a bunch of properties ranging from Gmail to Google Apps and certainly the search box. The strategic possibilities--not to mention the prognostications--are endless. But the money men on Wall Street are boiling Chrome down to a key point: It's all about the ads and saving its cookies, those small files used to tailor ads for users.

Also see: Google's Chrome: The enterprise playbook

Merrill Lynch analyst Justin Post pays homage to Chrome's technical features--working better with Web applications, easier multimedia and better use of tabs--but adds that Microsoft's privacy feature could be used to minimize the effectiveness of Google's ads. Would the DoubleClick acquisition be worth much if cookies were nuked at every turn in the name of privacy? That's what IE's privacy feature--also known as porn mode--could do. That threat from Microsoft isn't as large if Google bundles Chrome with all of its free consumer applications and paid enterprise versions.

Post writes in a research note that Chrome could "limit Microsoft’s ability to use its IE browser position to promote Microsoft search, or harm Google’s search effectiveness through new user controls."

Bernstein analyst Jeffrey Lindsay puts it better:

We see this move as inevitable for Google which relies upon the browser as its primary access path to its users and the primary vehicle for delivering its ads. Not having control of the browser cedes control of this key element and its development path to competitors such as Microsoft with Internet Explorer (72% share of the browser market) or Apple with Safari (6% share of the browser market). Google management says it will maintain its relationship with the Mozilla/Firefox team (20% share of the browser market) which has been Google's primary alternative technology to date.

Lindsay adds:

Chrome reduces the opportunities for competitors to "mess with the cookies". An interesting and welcome feature of Microsoft's new Internet Explorer 8 is its "privacy" mode. While we think the ability to browse privately is both a welcome development for consumers and also a feature of Chrome, we think that it signaled a long-expected threat that Microsoft or Apple could "mess with the cookies" that are critical to the functioning of the online advertising network/exchanges such as DoubleClick. By developing its own browser Google can simply eliminate that threat.

UBS analyst Benjamin Schachter agrees with Lindsay and Post, but notes that Chrome is really about controlling the user experience and playing some defense. Schachter says that Google's decision to launch Chrome is partially based on the "the potential that Microsoft may get more aggressive with the browser as we get further away from the court rulings about the operating system."

Topics: Browser, Google, Microsoft

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27 comments
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  • Yes, it is about ads and cookies, but also a whole lot more.

    With this, Google can bring us into the 21st century all based on standards and open source. Microsoft wants to keep the browser in the 20th century, so that you have to turn to Windows OS features for rich interactive, 21st century type of features. Microsoft is desperate to keep us locked to Windows proprietary APIs, protocols, and file formats. Without that, the whole reason to pay a premium to MS for OSes and Office Suites goes away, and the house of cards falls down.

    This is what it is all about. Blocking MS from making Web 2.0 depend on Microsoft proprietary APIs, protocols, and file formats. Because if MS has all of that control, they can also screw up all of Google's advertising models. Of course that is in addition to preventing MS from sucking billions out of the economy for shoddy software.
    DonnieBoy
    • It has nothing to do about

      "bringing us into the 21st century all based on standards and open source", it is about going in the opposite direction.

      While newer browsers are offering features to disable cookies, downloaded pages, ect, Google looks at it as an issue that will directly influence them in terms of revenue.

      So they create their own browser to bypass those issues.

      Welcome to the nineties
      GuidingLight
    • Put the koolaid down and run away.

      Its the only way to save yourself.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
    • DonnieBoy, time to get your head out of Google's butt.. It's pathetic.

      Show some dignity, man. At least have Google include you in their payroll. All this adoration is plain embarrasing. Time to get out of the basement and enjoy life, man.
      transposeIT
  • By the way Larry, you are spot on with MS porn mode. That is about screwing

    with all of Google's advertising methods. This gives them an excuse to delete all cookies, and screw Google royally. They are constantly looking for ways to cut off Googles air supply.

    This is Google fighting back on that, and a whole lot more.
    DonnieBoy
    • Do you really believe...

      ... that Google's only weapon is the one evil google.com cookie?

      What a simple lad you must be...

      (Stick around though -- between you and Fr0thy2 there is penty of entertainment for all! :)
      Marty R. Milette
  • RE: Google's Chrome browser: It's all about the ads and cookie files stupid!

    People should read more before they spew articles like this. If you're claiming that Google Chrome is meant to combat IE8 and it's InPrivate mode... you fail to notice that Google Chrome ALSO has its own "private mode".

    The real motivation behind this move is simple... Google builds web applications... they want their web applications to perform as best as possible in order to make them look good. If the browser makes their web applications look clunky... the solution is to make a web browser that can handle complex web applications more smoothly.

    Their hope isn't likely to become #1 in the web browser market... they're likely just trying to stir the pot a little... make the other browser makers create faster and more powerful browsers to make web applications run more smoothly. Then, wham... it makes Google's offerings look a whole lot better.
    BIGELLOW
    • Ahh, but Googles Privat mode will be to start a separate process, that is

      completely separate, and nothing is saved. That way, after your private browsing session, you securely blow away all cookies that were NEVER mixed in with all the others. Important to notice that you do NOT mess with the regular cookie store. With MS, all of the cookies get mixed and messed up, and MS will be deleting lots of cookies in the name of privacy. Deleting as many cookies as possible to screw with Google.
      DonnieBoy
  • RE: Google's Chrome browser: It's all about the ads and cookie files stupid!

    I for one don't use Web Applications, so strike one for Google. I also cannot stand Adsense Strike 2 for Google.
    And cookies that are almost impossible to get rid of are annoying(search history on Google)Strike 2 1/2(it can be removed but its not easy for the average person).


    I assume Google doesn't have my ad-free interests in mind while building this browser. I may try it IF AdBlockerPlus ever makes it over onto Chrome but until then, I'll stick with Firefox.
    cliffro69
    • Actually, with the Google browser, you can have it all. You will be able to

      launch each new tab as a separate process, and under YOUR control, keep your cookies private to each session, tab, and/or website. It is just that you won't have MS sniffing around and deleting stuff that screws with Google. Google is hoping that all of the advantages of cookies will far outweigh any of the negatives. But, you will be in full control.

      I personally like the suggestions from Amazon based on previous books I purchased and/or searched for. and I find them unobtrusive. I do not want MS sniffing around and deleting my cookies. To each his own.
      DonnieBoy
  • RE: Google's Chrome browser: It's all about the ads and cookie files stupid!

    Safari's had private browsing since Tiger. IE is only now catching up to Apple's previous OS, as usual. That said, this mode is not very practical for general browsing because every application that needs context. like webmail or Amazon will keep pestering you for your password.

    The real danger to Google (and Microsoft) comes more from Firefox plug-ins that allow you to selectively block cookies, e.g. block all DoubleClick cookies. In fact, Firefox has had the ability to block specific domains' cookies for quite a while, it's just that the interface to manage this was too clunky to be practical until Firefox 3.0.

    In this respect, Microsoft and Google's interests are aligned, and it's unlikely either will unilaterally kill the third-party cookie tracking ad networks like theirs depend on.
    fazalmajid
    • True, but, since MS has a very small market share for now, it would be the

      perfect time to screw with this and cut off Google revenue. MS is hungry for any possible way to slow the momentum for Google and generate negative financial news for Google. They could always fix the cookie thing some time later when they had more market share, and had caused a lot of financial problems for Google.
      DonnieBoy
  • RE: Google's Chrome browser: It's all about the ads and cookie files stupid!

    As one who has fought tooth and nail in keeping my system from being googledefiled (just say no to Google tabs), it will be a cold day in hell before I installed any Google application. I will stick with Microsoft or Firefox.
    Richardbz
    • agreed!!

      couldn't have said it better myself.
      reverseswing
    • RE: Google's Chrome browser: It's all about the ads and cookie files stupid

      Time to stop the carping about MS - Google is the new evil empire...
      rnotaro@...
  • Google just wants to be...

    ...another Microsoft...and is getting there rapidly. Getting just as fat & greedy.
    Mark-Twain
    • Time to catch up on your economic news...

      ...within the past 2 weeks Google passed Microsoft in market capitalization.
      rnotaro@...
  • Google's ad supported browser....

    ...is just that, an ad supported browser. Like we need more ads.
    I use Firefox 3 w/Adblock Plus, No Script, and prompted cookie controls. Chrome gives me, ads, scripts, and an all or nothing cookie control.
    No thanks. With all these extra downloads Chrome is slower than IE 8 and Firefox 3.
    macsj
  • Wait a sec here, people

    If I read it right, Chrome IS open source, right?
    So, you can just dump the parts you don't want,
    recompile, and voila, the parts you don't want
    are now gone.
    richard233
    • And what about the 'normal' people?

      And what about the 99.999% of 'normal' people in the world who don't even know what you are talking about? One wonders whether the source code for every .dll will be given anyway.

      Google toolbar already uses encrypted communications to send data 'home'. I see no reason why that tradition wouldn't be carried forward. (You think Google is going to release the soure for their encryption too? Good luck.)
      Marty R. Milette