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Google to launch Web browser to compete with Microsoft*

September 1, 2008 |  2:47 pm

UPDATED SEPT. 2: Read the story about Google's browser from Tuesday's LA Times for analyst reaction and more details about what's at stake.

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Google is releasing its own Web browser to compete with the likes of Internet Explorer and Firefox, trying to dominate not only what people do on the Web but also how they get there.

It’s yet another salvo in the intensifying battle with Microsoft, which recently released a new version of Internet Explorer that makes it easier to block ads from Google and others.

A beta version of Google's browser for Windows, called Google Chrome, will debut Tuesday in more than 100 countries. It will offer features that make it easier and faster to browse the Web. It will also be an open source product, meaning anyone can modify the software code.

The move is considered audacious given Microsoft’s dominance with the Explorer browser. It also could spell trouble for Firefox, a free browser that is gaining in popularity. Mozilla, the nonprofit organization that runs Firefox, has benefited from engineering help and money from Google. Just last week, Google and Mozilla extended their partnership through 2011.

News about the Google browser, rumored for years, broke Monday after the blog Google Blogoscoped reported receiving a comic book from Google outlining the details of the new browser. A Google blog post explained that it inadvertently released the news.

"We believe we can add value for users and, at the same time, help drive innovation on the Web," the post said.

The browser, which Google says was built from scratch, has been in the works for two years. It is intended as a "modern platform for Web pages and applications" that can run faster and be more responsive, according to the post.

-- Jessica Guynn

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