Chrome is Google and Google is Chrome.
The Chrome browser is Google's most potent strategic weapon, a former Microsoft program manager said last week.
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"Chrome is the focus at Google; Android is an afterthought," asserted Ben Thompson, who writes on his Stratechery blog. Thompson, who left Microsoft earlier this month, has quickly made a name for himself with insights into the technology market, in particular Microsoft, Apple and Google, ranging from Microsoft's massive reorganization to the possible role for a larger, 13-inch iPad.
"Chrome shouldn't be thought of as a Web browser," Thompson wrote. "Rather, it's an optimized bi-directional delivery vehicle: the best experience with Google services for users, and maximum user data for Google. And it runs everywhere. This is why Google has been investing millions of dollars in building the Chrome brand."
Thompson's latest post was reacting to the debut of Chromecast, the $35 stream-to-TV device Google introduced last week. Chromecast, said Google, is powered by a simplified version of Chrome OS. (Although GTVHacker.com claimed Chromecast is "more Android than ChromeOS.")
"As a horizontal company, Google wants to be on every screen, and their vehicle to accomplish that across verticals, both from a technical and brand perspective, is Chrome," Thompson added. By "verticals," Thompson meant "devices."
It's hard to argue with Thompson.
Google has been expending significant resources to push Chrome into as many corners as possible.
Not only is Chrome (the browser) available for all major desktop and mobile platforms -- from Windows and OS X to Android and iOS -- the major features of Chrome OS are being added to the browser, including packaged, nee "native," Web apps and the ability to view and edit Microsoft Office documents.
The goal? From Thompson's viewpoint, control of a "multi-screen world."
Others have had similar thoughts.
"It looks like Google is defining the Chrome platform as what I'd call 'Web Platform Plus,' and intends for Chrome OS and the Chrome browser to be a 'platform on a platform' on any device it is permitted to run on," said IDC analyst Al Hilwa in a May interview, months before Chromecast.
By defining that "platform on a platform" -- Chrome on Windows, on Android, on iOS, on OS X, on the television -- Google is trying to turn as many devices and screens as possible into ones locked into the company's ecosystem, keep users loyal to that same ecosystem of sites, service and apps, and entice others to join them.