Google Chrome: A Double-Edged Sword for SaaS?

With Google’s recent announcement of Chrome, it will be interesting to see the fallout that the new Web-based browser will have on the SaaS market and cloud computing in general. Being open source, it has the potential to improve the customer’s cloud computing experiences, yet it also represents yet another Web browser that application providers are going to need to support.

Chrome’s relatively simple code base and Google’s sweeping set of other programs – from calendars to photo editing software – are great examples of the way in which many applications will be stored on and accessed via the Web. Google already offers nearly all the software that comes standard on Windows, just not an engine to run it all. But at the same time, does the world really need another browser? Another browser means SaaS providers need to devote more time and effort where other applications could be focused.

But Chrome does have its advantages, most notable its ability to isolate specific Web applications from others via the “sandbox” approach to improve stability, speed, and security…though that’s nothing entirely new. But being able to launch a Web application from the desktop without the extra steps of opening a browser does have its advantages, and points in the direction of the future.

In the end, I think only time will tell if the accpetance of Chrome within the enterprise will reach enough critical mass that the fallout will have any appreciable affect on the way in which SaaS applications are designed and delivered.