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Schmidt: Google Wasn't Ready For Browser Wars Until Now

  • Wired, Wednesday, September 3, 2008 10:30 AM
Why did it take Google so long to build a Web browser, Wired's Steven Levy asks? CEO Eric Schmidt responds: "When I joined Google in 2001, Larry and Sergey immediately said, 'We should build our own browser.' And I said no." Schmidt said no because the timing wasn't right. "I did not believe that the company was strong enough to withstand a browser war," he says. "It was important that our strategic aspirations be relatively under the radar."

Instead, Google shifted its focus to working on improvements to Firefox, the open source browser from the Mozilla Foundation. The search giant hired some of the best software developers to create apps for Firefox, but it was only a matter of time before the Google team was ready to create its own browser. In the autumn of 2006, and with mixed emotions (due to the group's attachment to Firefox) the Google team announced its intention to build what would become Chrome.

"In the coming era of cloud computing, the Web will be much more than just a means of delivering content -- it will be a platform in its own right," Levy said. "Google hopes to kick-start a new generation of Web-based applications that will truly make Microsoft's worst nightmare a reality: The browser will become the equivalent of an operating system."

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