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Google’s chrome-plated bulldozer

Chrome on the surface does not look like a proprietary application. The underlying code for the system is open source. Google even created the Chromium project to make most of Chrome available to others via open source licensing terms. However, that does not mean that Chrome comes free of digital strings. It is designed to hook into the Google mother ship, what I call the Googleplex: more than 100 datacenters and hundreds of thousands of multicore servers, exabytes of data and more than 19,000 employees.

Chrome opens a valve to Google. For instance, in terms of service, you will agree to automatic installations and upgrades, as well as Google’s use of anything you submit, post or display through Chrome. Read about this in more detail here (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_

What are the implications for the enterprise over the next nine to 12 months?

First, Google’s partners are already creating applications that make use of Chrome. For example, Google Chrome supports the most popular plug-ins necessary to display the Web correctly, including Adobe Flash, Acrobat Reader,
Java, Windows Media Player, Real Player, QuickTime and Microsoft Silverlight.

Second, Google itself can deliver the type of functionality once associated with the Google Search Appliance via Chrome and some other software components. In effect, Chrome makes it possible to build an enterprise search and data management system with Google software.

Third, Google can deliver new services directly to users. For example, Google dataspaces technology, invented by Dr. Alon Halevy, can deliver uncertainty and lineage queries to enterprise customers. Uncertainty means "How confident can I be that this item is right?" Lineage means "Where did this item come from?" Those queries cannot be easily or economically delivered to enterprise software users today. With Chrome, the hurdles can be lowered.

What does Chrome mean over the long haul?

That’s an easier question to answer. Google’s broad direction is clear. The company wants to chew into the enterprise software revenues of the likes of IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. Most people fixate on Google’s ad business. Google has set its sights on becoming a much larger corporate entity. To achieve Google-scale growth over the next five to 10 years, Google has to capture a big chunk of those billions of dollars in enterprise software.

Chrome, then, is not a browser. Chrome is the business end of an enterprise applications bulldozer. It’s not a good idea to enjoy a picnic in the path of a ponderous, powerful chrome-plated earthmover, in my opinion.

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