September’s Information Age brings into sharp focus the real power of Google’s new internet browser, Google Chrome.  The bottom line is, what’s truly different about this browser is that it’s custom-built to support Software-as-a-Service.  Faster browsing, nice user interface… meh.  These are just accoutrements to the SaaS powerhouse that Chrome’s been designed to be.

Googles Eric Schmidt - profile at Sydney Morning Herald

Google's Eric Schmidt - profile at Sydney Morning Herald

Chrome will directly challenge Microsoft as a platform for powerful industrial apps

-Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt

As such, Google and Microsoft are yet again set to go head-to-head, but in a market more important than internet browsers; how they fare will shape the future of both the Internet and how people use software.

Eric Schmidt said in a recent FT interview: “Microsoft has a history of favouring its own applications and I can give you 500,000 pages of court testimony, document weblogs and so forth and so on about that.”  So, the browser is clearly designed to prevent the company from being sidelined by Microsoft.

Microsoft has thus far only made tentative steps into the SaaS arena with its half-licence, half-SaaS “Software+Services” fudge.  Google, on the other hand, has its head firmly in the clouds with its SOA apps, gathering enough useful data from people’s mail and search history to give it a competitve advantage over Microsoft.

How Google does with its Chrome browser could be central to the the advancement of SaaS – let’s hope it doesn’t stay in Beta for the next twenty years like Gmail looks set to be.

Read the full story here.