SAN FRANCISCO, US - Google Inc is set to introduce on Tuesday a new Web browser designed to more quickly handle video-rich applications, posing a challenge to browsers designed originally to handle text and graphics.
Google officials confirmed news of long-rumored plans to offer its own Web browsing software, entitled Google Chrome, in a company blog post after it mistakenly mailed details of the project to a Google-watching blog, called Blogoscoped.com.
The company statement calls the move "a fresh take on the browser" and said it will be introducing a public trial of the Web browser for Microsoft Corp Windows users on Tuesday. Details can be found at http://tinyurl.com/gchrome/.
The Internet search leader is also working on versions for Apple Macintosh users and for Linux devices, Google said.
The launch of Chrome coincides with the recent introduction by arch-rival Microsoft of its Internet Explorer 8 last month. Internet Explorer has roughly three-quarters of the browser market, followed by Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari.
Google said its engineers had borrowed from a variety of other open-source projects, including Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) WebKit and the Mozilla Firefox open-source browser. As a result, Google plans to make all of Chrome software code open to other developers to enhance and expand, the company said.
"We realized that the Web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser," Google Vice President of Product Management Sindar Pichai and Engineering Director Linus Upson said in a jointly authored blog post.
BUILT FOR SPEED
"What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that's what we set out to build," Pichai and Upson wrote.
A Google spokesman declined to comment beyond the blog post.
"The browser landscape is highly competitive," Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, said in a statement.
"People will choose Internet Explorer 8 for the way it puts the services they want right at their fingertips, respects their personal choices about how they want to browse and, more than any other browsing technology, (it) puts them in control of their personal data online," Hachamovitch said.
Google confirmed that it had prematurely mailed a copy of a comic book. Blogoscope's writer, Philipp Lenssen, scanned and published the 38-page comic at http://blogoscoped.com/google-chrome/.
Chrome organizes information into tabbed pages. Web programs can be launched in their own dedicated windows. It also offers a variety of features to make the browser more stable and secure, according to the comic book guide.
Among Chrome's features is a special privacy mode that lets users create an "incognito" window where "nothing that occurs in that window is ever logged on your computer." This is a read-only feature with access to one's bookmarks of favorite sites.
Once available for testing on Tuesday, the browser can be downloaded at http://www.google.com/chrome/. --REUTERS