Daniel Altman has a nice piece about how Google's new web browser could be a hit in the developing world. So, this post is wholly outsourced to Altman!
Google’s coming out with a new, slimmed-down Web browser to compete with Microsoft’s Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari. The corporate spin says that it’s for Web-based applications that run off central servers rather than on desktop or laptop computers. Skeptics are saying that the browser is aiming for a niche that hasn’t yet developed. But I think I know where it may find a market.
Think about computer users in the developing world. Many use Internet cafes rather than having computers in their homes, and those cafes typically don’t have the latest machines. Their models run with slower processors and clogged connections on smaller screens. For them, a slimmed-down browser could be a godsend: fewer images to load, less drive space used and the convenience of those Web-based applications.
If your own computer is slow, what could be better than letting a central server - perhaps in a different country - do the processing for you? Web-based applications haven’t caught on too much in rich nations, but they seem like a natural for poor ones. There’s no need for fancy hardware, and no need to pirate software. Could emerging economies use Google’s new browser to leapfrog their wealthier counterparts?