Google’s Chrome browser is a solution that won’t work for a problem that doesn’t exist.
One can argue that the primary success metrics of a browser are performance, stability and user experience and be right. However Google Chrome is only incrementally to negligibly faster, more stable and cognitive load lighter than the competition/substitution. Moreover, if the Google Chrome team had worked with an existing browser development team, say Mozilla, much time, cost and user switching would have been spared and perhaps poured into actual disruptive innovation. (Aaron Boodman’s got a list if you need it.)
But that’s the least of the factors as to why Chrome is a curiously deliberate failure for Google.
Undoubtedly, the next disruptive innovation in browsers, and probably all user-agents of the Open Web, is to be consumed by Web itself.
Let’s imagine an app called Chromeless. Much like Fluid or Prism, Chromeless is nothing more than a rectangle surface to render Web content. However Chromeless’s default URL loads the chrome of Chrome into the rectangle. Chrome’s chrome is loaded in Chromeless from a trusted URL thus has higher security access and runs in a protected mode. Web pages loaded into Chromeless’s Chrome chrome cannot access the protected chrome. Voila — Chromeless now has all the features of Chrome and all the benefits of SaaS.
And no company has more to gain from the Web consuming its browser than the undisputed software-as-a-service (SaaS) heavy weight champion Google.
But wait, there’s more. Chromeless implements a model whereby any Web app is not just a stand-alone Web app, but is the user-agent of any arbitrary Open Web client-server system. Chromeless empowers not just SaaS, but Open Web client-server innovation at Web speed, diversity and agility. Chromeless is a disruptive innovation from the viewpoint of technology (described above), product (e.g., arbitrary user-agents) and business (client-server innovation, like the Web itself, compels standards/openness thus accelerates industry-specific value-chain development).
But alas Chrome is not Chromeless. Why bother having a Ferrari if you drive looking at the rear-view mirror?