It's interesting to see the Google browser rumors make their way to the surface again. Netconcepts search strategist Chris Smith recently shared his thoughts on the possibility of the search company entering the browser wars, and several of his points are attention grabbers.
First up is the noted fact that Google had registered a "Gbrowser.com" domain name, which would lead one to believe that some sort of interest exists in such a browser. On the other hand, Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said in the past that the company would build a browser only if there were a real user benefit.
So, would there be a user benefit? Yes and no. As Google comes up with more and more applications, the usefulness of a browser of their own increases both for the user, who can then access more intensive applications with higher speed, and Google, who can then deliver these more intensive applications. In other words, the "thin client" model can only go so far.
Google recently began offering a version of its Google Earth application that runs in browsers as opposed to the downloaded application, reducing complete dependence upon the Google Earth application.
Add to Google Earth the Google word processor, spreadsheet, slide presentation program, and the many other browser apps in development, and it really starts to seem like a good possibility that Google would build their own browser. Along with support for applications, they could also increase security for those apps and monetize it all on several levels.
The benefits, then, would lend themselves to both the end user and Google. But before any assumptions are made, it's worth noting that Google is already very influential with regard to the development of the Firefox browser. It's hard to imagine that Google couldn't get support for their applications built into Firefox. At the very least, Firefox could offer plug-ins that would support them. In a sense, one might say Google already "owns" Firefox, to some degree.
Will there be a Google browser anytime soon? I think there are good arguments for it, but nothing's for certain. It will be yet another fascinating development to watch--from the perspectives of both the browser wars and SEO (search engine optimization).