Speculation is starting to heat up again on Google's
The rumor mills grind this out all the time. It all started three years ago, when Google registered the name Gbrowser.com. Then it partnered to promote a Firefox browser with a Google toolbar. And then it took a minority stake in upstart browser Maxthon earlier this year.
CNET blogger Ryan Naraine reported two weeks ago that Google has hired browser hacker Michal Zalewski. Since then, industry watchers at Netconcepts, CNET, and TechCrunch have all inferred that Google's desire to bring on a celebrated hacker may be tied to an attempt to patch up potential vulnerabilities in its own browser in the works.
There are plenty of reasons why Google would want to establish a browser presence. Being able to fire up the Internet browsing experience would be a blessing for the company that already commands more search requests than anyone else. Besides, any company that's willing to bankroll citywide broadband access to make sure that it has a hand in guiding the user experience speaks volumes about its desire to matter even more in cyberspace.
Launching its own browser would also help reduce one of Google's biggest fears: that rival browsers give users more tools to block its AdWords contextual-marketing ads with the same tenacity that most browsers wipe out popup ads. Such blocks would be an unpopular move, especially with third-party publishers that rely on Google to monetize their websites, and having the keys to a popular browser would go a long way toward avoiding that kind of scenario.
This doesn't mean that a potential Gbrowser launch would decimate Internet Explorer. Firefox has been feisty. Apple's
Even if Google would be more aggressive in promoting its own browser than it has done in recent years with Firefox, Explorer is unlikely to be toppled. However, just as Google's toolbar and desktop applications prove, Google is serious about commanding more of your computing time.
Come on out, Gbrowser. Show us the whites of your eyes.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a huge fan of Google, and it would be his homepage if it weren't for Fool.com taking up that piece of real estate. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.