Friday, July 10, 2009

Chrome is a game changer

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said Thursday evening that, for six years, he resisted the idea of building what became the Chrome browser and (soon) operating system, before succumbing to the enthusiasm of Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

Google co-founder Larry Page, left, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt, speak to reporters at the annual Allen & Co.'s media summit in Sun Valley, Idaho, July 9, 2009.
In a wide-ranging on-the-record press conference, Messrs. Schmidt and Page described the origins of the combination browser/operating system.

"At the time, Google was a small company," Mr. Schmidt said. "Having come through the bruising browser wars, I didn't want to do that again."

Eventually, however, Messrs. Brin and Page hired some Firefox developers who built a demonstration of Chrome. "It was so good that it essentially forced me to change my mind," Mr. Schmidt said.

"I think we just wore you down," Mr. Page joked.

"I just gave up," Mr. Schmidt said. "But there is no question I am hugely supportive of Chrome and Chrome OS. They are game-changers. They change the way you think about your computer."

Mr. Page described the Chrome operating system as a kind of anti-operating system — one that is basically indistinguishable from a browser. Netbooks loaded with Chrome will boot up almost instantaneously and will store data on the Internet instead of a hard drive.

Associated Press
Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google, takes a picture of members of the press gathered outside the Sun Valley Inn on Thursday.
"I wanted the operating system to kind of be out of the way," Mr. Page said.

"If you live your life in the browser maybe you don't want all the stuff that came from Eric's generation," Mr. Page added, putting his hand on Mr. Schmidt's shoulder.

Read the rest.