Home > Uncategorized > Google CEO dismisses talk of a Google Browser; Recommends the Opera browser

Google CEO dismisses talk of a Google Browser; Recommends the Opera browser

May 31, 2006

In a conference call today with Wall Street analysts, Google CEO Eric Schmidt dismissed the idea that Google is planning on creating its own browser, Reuters reported.

“It looks like people have some good browser[s] choices already,” Schmidt said. “We would not build a browser for the fun of building a browser,” he said.

Schmidt also mentioned that Google has partnerships with Opera Software that encourages the use of the Opera browser.

Late last year there was a rumor that Google was planning on buying the Opera browser, though an Opera official outright denied this claim, after I asked about it, saying, “Rumors come and go. Google is not buying Opera.”

Earlier this year Opera and Google entered into an agreement where Google would be the default search partner for the mobile browsers: Opera Mobile and Opera Mini. Under the one-year contract, Opera will make Google Search a major part of the browser’s home screen.

Opera also has a deal with Google, which includes a search revenue deal, marketing support and technical cooperation.

I sure hope that if Google is sticking with alternative browsers, that it would offer better support or its services for browsers such as Opera and Safari.

(Hat-tip to Tom O’Shea)

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. May 31, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    Yeah, the Google Browser was one of those silly rumors that just wouldn’t go away. I think it stems from two perceptions:

    1. Microsoft and Google are rivals, therefore, Google will try to compete with each and every Microsoft product.
    2. Google is a web company, so of course they’ll want to have a web browser.

    #1 is an oversimplification. #2 is just a bizarre leap of logic. Sort of like, “X is a TV studio, so of course they’ll want to sell TVs.” The closest I can think of is Sony, and IIRC they went the other way—they made TVs first, then bought some studios.

    The only things that Google, at least in its current form, would really gain from making their own browser would be (1) adding functionality that they could then use in their web applications, and (2) increasing their traffic by way of browser defaults. They already have both. They’ve got people contributing to Firefox (or at least used to), and they’ve got at least one voice in WHATWG. And that traffic from browser defaults? They’ve got deals with Opera, Firefox and Safari—the three main non-IE choices.

    Hmm, come to think of it, it’s in Google’s interest to recommend all three, since greater use of F/O/S will encourage greater use of Google…

  2. May 31, 2006 at 9:33 pm

    Yeah, google should make their web tools workable with Opera and alternative browsers that aren’t Mozilla-based. Look at their recent foray into website hosting, google pages. It’s unworkable with Opera.

  3. Sam
    May 31, 2006 at 10:04 pm

    Heathen Dan, support for closed source web-browsers like opera is harder, look at Roboform for example, still unsupported under opera.

  4. May 31, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    Sam, but Opera is based on open standards.

  5. May 31, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    Roboform is something which should have been included in Opera. People have been requesting it for years.But it seems to have fallen in deaf ears.
    For hvin extensions Opera doesnt need to be a open source product, it needs to have a SDK for creating extensions ( eg. Maxthon browser ).
    Also Daniel , that article only says that Schmidt debunked the rumours about Gbrowser, it doesnt say that they recomend Opera.

    Google are actually working very closely with Firefox. They will help Fxv2 with Anti-phishing technology.

  6. May 31, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    Pallab De, read the last sentence of the Reuters article that I linked to; it’s easy to miss it.

  7. Sam
    May 31, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    Reason Google having a strong relationship with Mozilla, Google has direct access to the source, bugzilla and the firefox development community as a whole. Opera may support open standards, but its not open in its development.

  8. May 31, 2006 at 11:12 pm

    If he’s so gung-ho about Opera, they should make all of Google’s services fully compatible with it then. Having to open up Google Calendar in a different browser is annoying.

  9. May 31, 2006 at 11:38 pm

    Sam, if the open standards are followed, it shouldn’t matter how Opera implements it inside their code.

  10. Sam
    June 1, 2006 at 12:00 am

    Daniel, its not as easy or simple as that, my original claim

    “support for closed source web-browsers like opera is harder, look at Roboform for example, still unsupported under opera.”

    because “Google having a strong relationship with Mozilla, Google has direct access to the source, bugzilla and the firefox development community as a whole.”

    You have to understand, 3rd party support under Opera is near impossible. Having access to the source etc can help with 3rd party support, like Roboform and Google improve the browser.

  11. Uhm...
    June 1, 2006 at 3:57 am

    Daniel, Google’s CEO doesn’t recommend Opera anywhere. From the article (emphasis mine):

    Google encourages its customers to use a variety of alternatives to Internet Explorer, particularly the open-source Firefox browser.

  12. kL
    June 1, 2006 at 5:10 am

    Yeah, post title is inaccurate.

  13. June 1, 2006 at 9:13 am

    Here is the last sentence of the article:

    It also has partnerships to encourage the use of the Safari browser among Apple Computer Inc. customers, Norway’s Opera Software ASA, which makes browsers for computers and phones, among several other browser alternatives, he said.

  14. Uhm...
    June 1, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    Why not title the blog post “Google CEO encourages Firefox, Safari and Opera”, then?

    God only knows what mr. Schmidt actually said and how the reporter (mis)quoted him… But it is clear that Google is encouraging Firefox, while the last sentence is far from it. Of course they like when people use Safari and Opera since it makes them money, but I definitely wouldn’t go so far as to make a claim as presented in this post.

    For Google, Firefox is the #1 browser. The others are there just to make them more money; if they truly cared, they would have made their web apps fully functional in Safari and Opera.

  15. June 1, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    Eric Schmidt did not recommend Opera. He did not specifically recommend any browser. However, it was clear from what he said that Google considers Mozilla Firefox to be their prime partner in the browser arena, with other browsers such as Safari and Opera having a lower status (though it was implicit that they’re still valued ahead of Internet Explorer).

    How do I know all this? Why, I listened to conference call. At Google’s press release announcing the May 31st investor conference call, there are links to streaming audio recordings of the conference call in RealAudio and Windows Media Audio formats.

    The conference call recordings can currently be found at investor.google.com/webcast but they will move to investor.google.com/webcast_archive in the future. The recordings pop up in these tiny windows that seem designed to make listening to them difficult. Fortunately, I extracted the actual URL of the RealAudio file of http://video.vdat.com/playmedia_embed2.asp?sid=58148&aid=59475 and loaded it directly into RealPlayer, allowing me to pause, rewind and re-listen to Schmidt’s answers.

    The question about Google making a browser starts at 26:15 and lasts until about 28:13. Fortunately, I’ve transcribed the answer below, so you don’t have to listen to it. I haven’t included the question but it can be paraphrased as, “Why doesn’t Google make their own browser that ties in with their other services?”

    We would make the decision based on what end-users want and not based on some strategic calculation that we made of our competitors. The industry’s obsessed with this browser question and our observation is that you have number of fine browsers now; people have some good choices. We have a very, very active partnership with the Firefox folks. IE7 is coming out [and] in response to competition from Firefox has gotten better. Safari, which is the Apple browser, looks like a very strong offering in the Mac space. So it looks like people have some good browser choices already. So the way Google operates is we would not build a browser for the fun of building a browser and creating another choice — and by the way, I ommitted Opera and a few others that are also very interesting. We would only do something along the lines you’re describing if we thought there was a real end-user benefit. So far we’ve the seen the end-user benefit has been to augment or expand on both AJAX and JavaScript, which is available on all the browsers. We’re working very, very closely as I mentioned with Firefox, we have a good partnership with Safari and with Opera and a couple of others as well — and that seems like a good answer right now for us strategically.

  16. Jakub81
    June 1, 2006 at 8:31 pm

    Why should we care? Googel sucks anyway.

  17. sc
    June 2, 2006 at 11:32 am

    “Why not title the blog post ‘Google CEO encourages Firefox, Safari and Opera’, then?”

    Because this is *Opera*Watch. Sheesh, what’s the point of making this into an Opera vs. FF discussion?

  18. Jehudah Goldstein
    June 3, 2006 at 3:26 pm

    Google has to embrace all standard based browsers.

  19. Ankur
    June 4, 2006 at 3:16 am

    Off-topic, when does that FireFox guy interview get published & what happened to the “Wii love these people” thing? Did anyone solve it?

  20. June 5, 2006 at 8:45 am

    Ankur, last I heared was that about 25 people solved all the Wii clues.

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