Google’s Chrome Browser and IE8 Take On User Privacy

Yesterday, Google introduced its browser, Chrome. Yes, Firefox may have seemed to already be Google’s. But Google has designed its own new browser, which will be distributed as Open Source software.

What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what we set out to build“, said Google’s Vice President of Product Management, Sundar Pichai. This supports what I’ve called “Web 3.0“, a vision of working with applications which could be partly on your own machine and partly cloud hosted.

Chrome provides a privacy mode called “incognito”, which keeps contents displayed in designated viewing tabs from being logged on the viewing machines history. This of course sounds a great deal like last weeks ‘s blogged announcement from Microsoft about its new “InPrivate” browsing and blocking features for IE8, and has provided a video interview about this new capability.

In brief, these new features allow users new granularity in controlling which sites appear in their browsing history or are able to collect information about their visits. Rather than clearing your entire history or cache, you can have IE selectively ignore certain sites from its records. And though it’s not clear to me why, you can subscribe to lists to set these selections automatically.

  • InPrivate™ Browsing lets you control whether or not IE saves your browsing history, cookies, and other data
  • Delete Browsing History helps you control your browsing history after you’ve visited websites.
  • InPrivate™ Blocking informs you about content that is in a position to observe your browsing history, and allows you to block it
  • InPrivate Subscriptions allow you to augment the capability of InPrivate Blocking by subscribing to lists of websites to block or allow.

Microsoft is first to market with a browser which allows greater privacy, and deserves credit for what sounds like a useful new feature set. And Google’s Chrome drives at a potentially innovative level. Competition in the the sleepy world of web browsers is heating-up, which means more change and opportunity to everyone on the web.

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