Today, Google will launch Chrome, just days before the search giant's 10th birthday. The buzz overnight has been that it's just an internet browser. But that's surely not the case. Silicon Valley Insider says what we're all thinking - that Google's new project is a whole lot more than a way to surf the internet and uses Microsoft's old 'link and lever' strategy that served Windows so very well.
It'll bring together all your Google services on and offline (the latter powered by Google Gears). And that's a scary prospect, especially when Google will inevitably add to its existing PC manuafacturer relationships by pre-loading it on numerous PCs. Google already know what's in my webmail and what I search for. And I don't want them knowing what URLs I visit or anything else about me - it knows enough. Of course, the reason why it wants to know this stuff is that it's all about serving ads.
Gears: Google's Microsoft slayer
If you've used Google's iPhone app, you'll know that it's basically a Gateway to all Google products. This is now being replicated in the cloud-computing-powered Chrome. Google knows that by bringing everything together it can only make itself stronger. Google Gears replicates this strength offline.
Google Gears is an underestimated part of Google's portfolio. The ability to work on documents offline will help Google's online propositions work like standard software - and what's more, everything is integrated and linked up by your single Google Account. Not exactly Google's sexiest download, users will soon have Gears without even realising it as part of Chrome.
When that happens, why would anyone pay for stuff like Microsoft Office? And would you even need Windows with all your apps appearing as shortcuts in Chrome?The OS that sits behind that window becomes much less significant, making pre-installed Linux an attractive money saver.
And that, more than anything, is probably what's probably raising heckles in the boardrooms at Microsoft's Redmond HQ.