In the business of PPC Management, I am constantly reminded how everything is always changing. Today, I download the latest addition to the browser wars; the brand new BETA browser from Google called Google Chrome, and took it for a test drive. It looks like the playing field in the browser wars has changed.

Google Chrome is a free “Open Source” browser, borrowed in part from several other open source projects including Apple WebKit and Mozilla’s FireFox. This means that it is free to download and use, however it also free for other parties to use as their own sGoogle Chromeource for development, or to use to help develop add-on’s and tools specifically designed to work with Google Chrome, much in the same way we can now download thousands of cool add-on’s for FireFox.

At first glance the appearance of Google Chrome seems light and stripped down. Visually, most people will not find anything very noteworthy about the initial BETA release of Chrome. It’s color scheme seems to be fairly flat and non-dimensional, which isn’t uncommon when compared to most of Google’s online administration interfaces. To quote Google, “we designed a browser window that is streamlined and simple”.

The traditional administrative menu featuring commands like; file, edit, view, tools, help, are all missing. Most of this old functionality is now included below two icons located to the far right, along with some new and very interesting functionality like “Incognito” and “Developer Tools”.

The popular tabbing feature, which allows multiple pages to be open in the same browser, is now located prominently at the very top of the application. This might throw some users at first, although I quickly became accustomed to the new layout and actually grew to enjoy it. Tabs can actually be dragged and dropped from one window to another, or simply dragged to create a new window in itself. All in all the tab functionality takes a nice step forward in Chrome.

The new home page layout provides a very visual representation of your recent history and most visited website’s. Links with Favicon’s are located above a large thumbnail version of these pages. The content of this homepage updates as your history builds. I found it to be a somewhat useful feature for quickly jumping to my most frequently viewed web pages. Another nice feature is that you can customize this homepage with your own chosen web pages or use a traditional web page as your home page.

A short list of recent bookmarks appear at the right of the home page along with the brand new ability to search your history. This makes for a great way to find those pages you recently visited or locate an article or product that you saw recently but can’t remember the exact location. I was surprised to find out that the search history results page was not laced with Sponsored Search ads. In fact, it provided honest results from several search engines, directories, and even website’s that I had recently visited that contained data related to the search term I used in my search history query. Since I had visited Yahoo, MSN, and eBay, the results from all 3 of those sources were provided, along with an additional ecommerce website that I had visited.

Many of the common features introduced in Google Chrome will also be available to some extent in the upcoming release of Internet Explorer 8, which is also available for BETA download, however the real power behind Google Chrome is located behind the scenes, under the hood, in the fundamental design. Basically, Google started from scratch and has taken the technology that powers a web browser and made it more efficient in the hopes of providing a faster, safer, more stable, browsing environment. You can actually read about this new technology and the amazing engineering used in Chrome by viewing Google’s Chrome Comic Book. You won’t find any superhero’s or arch villains in this comic book, although you will find a fairly detailed, all be it dry, explanation into the thought processes and ingenious solutions that the Google wizards have brought forth in this new browser.

The bottom line here is that Google knows that it lives on the Internet and it has chosen to give back to this community with a new Open Source free browser that is designed to provide faster downloads, more security, and a more efficient and stable browsing environment. What’s more, since it is an Open Source software, it is available for anyone to download and customize to their hearts desire. Considering the complete lack of embedded advertising, and non-partial integration of other search engines and website’s, I find this act to be a very generous offering to the online community as a whole. Just like my old 79 Trans Am, Google Chrome might not give you a visual wow factor upon your first use, however I believe that you will enjoy the unseen power that lurks under the hood.