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Google to Buy Opera? 648

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.
patro writes "Opera Watch writes Google is planning to buy the Opera browser. The source of the claim is Pierre Chappaz, the former president of Yahoo Europe. Google obviously can't buy Firefox, so Opera might be the next possible candidate." I can't begin to imagine why.
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Google to Buy Opera?

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  • Hey Google! (Score:4, Funny)

    by bensafrickingenius (828123) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:33PM (#14266950)
    Are you interested in acquiring one aging, slightly flabby, fairly good tech? I'm cheap!
  • It is the most fantastic browser out there.
    • Seriously, why would you choose Opera over Firefox? The whole forced banner ads thing kind of drove me away from it (not that I ever used it, but it kept me from ever using it again even). Opera may be a fine browser, but we already have a really good (and open) thing going on with Firefox. Additionally, I don't think you can get Opera in "just the browser" flavor. Last time I checked, it forced you to download this really crappy email client of theirs and address book and other things.

      What I *REALLY* don't
      • by Lisandro (799651) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:46PM (#14267119)
        It's a much more polished browser, IMHO. Firefox is great, but Opera still beats it in performance, resource usage and (most important) its terrific user interfase, IMHO. Once you get used to it, you just can't go back.

            Give it a whirl - it's completely, 100% free for desktop users now, as you can get your own key for free on Operas' site [opera.com]. Don't diss it because it's not OSS. I still think that if Opera were open source, 99% of the /. users that bash it now would be drooling all over it.
        • by pthisis (27352) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @05:28PM (#14267542) Homepage Journal
          Don't diss it because it's not OSS.

          Because it's not OSS, it won't run on many of my machines (where mozilla and KHTML will). They have a reasonable number of platforms but are still missing StrongArm/Linux (half my machines). :-/

        • Once you get used to it, you just can't go back.

          I almost got used to Opera a few months ago, then I realized it didn't have extensions. Which means no adblock. Whoops. So it was back to Firefox for me.

          • The first result for Googling 'adblock opera' brings up this page [nontroppo.org] with a list of possibilities for adblock-like functionality within Opera. I've used the C++ Adblock for a long time with Opera and it does great.

            As far as I know, Opera has extension-like functionality, you aren't stuck with the base browser if you don't want just the base browser. Don't see what much else you'd need other than Adblock, but lots of people swear by those Greasemonkey extensions, dunno if that's in Operaland yet.

            Moral of th

            • lots of people swear by those Greasemonkey extensions, dunno if that's in Operaland yet.

              Opera had it first. Opera calls it UserJS [opera.com] and they even added Greasemonkey compatibility after it became popular.

          • I almost got used to Opera a few months ago, then I realized it didn't have extensions. Which means no adblock. Whoops. So it was back to Firefox for me.

            Absolutely 100% same story here. I was a big safari supporter, always trying new browsers though, firefox, opera, none of them were fast enough for me, opera opened fast enough, but.. I dunno, I still liked safari better. Firefox is actually quite a bit slower than safari for me, but I can't use safari anymore, #1 reason, extensions. I've got mouse gestu
      • They recently removed the ads. Opera's not bad, but I prefer Firefox myself. I usually design sites with Opera in mind, though.
      • by gid13 (620803) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @05:10PM (#14267369)
        I'm a Firefox man myself, but I think Opera has one thing going for it: it's better "out of the box". I find that the Firefox browsing experience absolutely blows away that of any other browser, but only after I've taken 15 minutes getting and configuring all the right extensions, and possibly using nightly tester tools to make them work in the latest Firefox version.
      • by CargoCultCoder (228910) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @05:28PM (#14267547) Homepage

        Seriously, why would you choose Opera over Firefox? The whole forced banner ads thing kind of drove me away from it (not that I ever used it, but it kept me from ever using it again even).

        (Note to mods: How "insightful" are comments made about a product by a person who's never used the product going to be?)

        Opera has never forced banner ads on anyone. Currently, you can download the browser free, with no banner ads. Prior to a few months ago, you could pay (gasp) and not have to put up with the banners. In either case, it's your choice.

        Last time I checked, it forced you to download this really crappy email client of theirs and address book and other things.

        Which swelled the download file to, what?, 3.7mb? Looks like the Firefox download is 5mb. You're not forced to use the e-mail client, address book, etc. Hell, until you mentioned them, I'd forgotten they existed. Moreover, Opera, "out of the box", comes with many bells-and-whistles that are only available to Firefox as plug-ins. I'd rather do one install and have things just work, than have to download a half-dozen other bits, install them, and then pray that they don't break when the next FF version comes out.

        Opera may be a fine browser, but we already have a really good (and open) thing going on with Firefox.

        Opera is not new on the scene: it predated FF by many years. Many features in FF (most famously, tabbed browsing) were in Opera far earlier. Opera is light, fast, stable, ready-to-roll out of the box. No, it's not open source, but it's silly to think that code is high quality if and only if it's open source. We already have a good thing going on with Opera.

        I have a hard time believing they're going to intentionally wedge the browser market even further rather than back more work and collaboration and progress behind the already great open source browser that we have.

        If "wedging the browser market" is really your concern, then I'm surprised that you are so loyal to a relative late-comer to the market, and can't be bothered to look at a high-quality, non-IE browser that has been on the market for many more years.

      • I disagree. Google's intro of a new browser into the market would serve them immensely. Their combination of widget offerings, amazon-like habit tracking, and the willingness "to deal" with potential advertisers all combine to one thing, which is already apparent:

        Google is hoping to strike a balance between:
        • a novel (cleaner,simplified) presentation level, combined with intuitive features and applications (widgets, earth, search, books, shopping, ads)
        • a business model of selling to a targeted audien
      • CSS 2.1 support (Score:3, Informative)

        by benj_e (614605)
        My wife needed CSS 2.1 support for pagination of printed web pages. Opera is the only browser (at least on OS X) that supports the pagination features of CSS 2.1.
      • by Bogtha (906264) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @05:34PM (#14267597)

        The whole forced banner ads thing kind of drove me away from it (not that I ever used it, but it kept me from ever using it again even).

        Um, what forced banner ads thing? You always had the option of paying for Opera, people who actually bought it didn't have to see the ads. And even the ads for the free version have gone now. So... what's the grudge for? Do you hold a grudge against all non-free software? Or just the ones that also offer an ad-supported version?

        Opera may be a fine browser, but we already have a really good (and open) thing going on with Firefox.

        There are only two real advantages I see that Firefox has. The first is its extension mechanism. The second is that it's open-source, and that one wouldn't really matter to Google if they were planning on buying Opera, since they could always open-source Opera once they've bought it.

        In all other respects, I think Firefox is trailing Opera. Opera got all of these first, and in many cases, Firefox either doesn't do as good a job, or hasn't implemented it at all:

        • Tabs
        • Popup blocker
        • CSS (including lots of CSS 3)
        • UserJS
        • Aural CSS
        • XHTML+Voice
        • xml:id
        • Web Forms 2
        • SVG
        • XML Events
        • VoiceXML
        • Cross-document messaging
        • Handheld/phone support
        • A decent amount of DOM3 stuff
        • On-the-fly Javascript fixes for badly-constructed websites
        • Much better Acid2 rendering

        Not only that, but I just checked and an Opera download is ~4.1MB and a Firefox download is ~8.1MB.

        So the advantage of going for Opera over Firefox is that it's much more technologically advanced. The Firefox advantage is sociological in nature, and Google certainly don't need any help in that department.

      • by freshman_a (136603) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @05:54PM (#14267748) Homepage Journal

        Seriously, why would you choose Opera over Firefox?

        After having Firefox and Opera open all day at work (working on company's website), Firefox (v1.5) is currently taking up about 76MB of memory while Opera (v8.5) is sitting at around 22MB. And, Opera has a built-in mail client which I happen to like.

        That's why I choose Opera over Firefox.
      • by hkmwbz (531650) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @05:57PM (#14267789) Journal
        "Seriously, why would you choose Opera over Firefox?"
        Maybe because it's smaller, faster, more polished, and gives you a lot of power without the need to mess around with buggy extensions?
        "Additionally, I don't think you can get Opera in "just the browser" flavor. Last time I checked, it forced you to download this really crappy email client of theirs and address book and other things."
        So what? It's still more than 1 MB smaller than Firefox on Windows (and that includes Flash which is 500K-1M!), and the e-mail client and other features are in fact hidden by default. And the e-mail client beats Thunderbird anyway.
        "Um. What? Mozilla is open-sourced. You don't HAVE to buy it. Just take the code and do your own thing with it. DUH."
        Maybe Google wants better quality/faster/more mobile friendly code?
        "I have a hard time believing they're going to intentionally wedge the browser market even further rather than back more work and collaboration and progress behind the already great open source browser that we have."
        So more browsers, diversity and choice in the browser market is a bad thing?
        "Perhaps they just intend to buy it, strip it for some good stuff that they'll donate to Mozilla"
        You can't strip away efficient code which runs fast and great with a small memory footprint, and magically make a different and bloated browser smaller and faster, my friend. Then again, maybe they would like to replace Gecko with Presto? :)
        "Seriously though - seems like a waste of money when they can just branch off from Mozilla."
        Yeah, except Mozilla is kind of bloated and requires a lot of memory to run. It's unusable on mobile phones.
      • by Kelson (129150) * on Thursday December 15, 2005 @07:05PM (#14268315) Homepage Journal
        Additionally, I don't think you can get Opera in "just the browser" flavor. Last time I checked, it forced you to download this really crappy email client of theirs and address book and other things.

        It's small enough that the non-browser features don't add much to the app size, and current versions are willing to keep everything you don't use hidden and out of the way. When I use Opera it's "just the browser" and has no problem talking to Thunderbird or KMail for email.
      • Opera works on (and is currently used) mobile devices.

        I don't know what Google's intent is (or even if this is just a rumour), but I'd venture a guess that it isn't about desktop.
  • by FictionPimp (712802) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:33PM (#14266957) Homepage
    If they do buy opera will they call it google browser beta and only let it be usable by windows?
  • This is stupid. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spazntwich (208070) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:33PM (#14266958)
    Absurd rumor mongering at its best/worst. If Google really wanted to get into the browser arena, why wouldn't they just create their own based on the open (And most importantly, FREE) Gecko engine?
    • Re:This is stupid. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Denyer (717613)
      Consider... what if Google bought the code, opened it and the improvements dovetailed into one browser? Each currently has its strengths.
    • by FatRatBastard (7583) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:50PM (#14267159) Homepage
      One word: cellphones.

      While Google may have firefox to lean on / depend on to counter IE on the desktop, there's no equivalent on the cellphone/pda side of things (at least nothing that's being used by the big phone makers). Cellphones are going to become increasingly important in connecting to the internet, and Google probably wants to make sure they're not squeezed out by MS and PocketIE. Opera has a pretty good footprint in the PDA / Cellphone world. If Google wants them this will be why.
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:59PM (#14267252) Journal
        Have you looked at WebCore recently? Since Apple opened development Nokia has been one of the primary external contributors. There are beta versions of WebCore browsers for Series 60 'phones and the '770 floating around, and they stack up quite well against Opera - I wouldn't be surprised if Nokia decided to ditch Opera in favour of their own browser sometime soon. Of course, if Google bought Opera and gave away the mobile version for free, then this might be more attractive...
        • by hkmwbz (531650) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @05:47PM (#14267684) Journal
          "There are beta versions of WebCore browsers for Series 60 'phones and the '770 floating around, and they stack up quite well against Opera"
          Really? Have you actually tried to run this new browser on a normal mobile phone, and not a monster with 50-100 MB RAM, which is the only thing they've been running it on so far?

          Opera runs comfortably on extremely low-end phones. WebCore does not.

      • Still early in development, and I don't know how excited big phone companies would be to use OSS (especially if using an Microsoft OS), but Mozilla has Minimo [mozilla.org] coming down the pipe. The existing preview builds already work in many Windows Mobile devices.

        Sadly, my PDA isn't one of them [mozillazine.org].

      • One word: cellphones.

        I would go one further: mobile thin clients for the masses.

        I'm talking about a very simple mobile device similar to a laptop, with wifi, but with extremely limited hardware. All it can run is Opera and perhaps Google Talk. Access to the web and GMail is all that many people would need (if they switch to using a GMail account). Ajax provides capability to develop desktop-like experiences in the browser.

        With minimal hardware requirements, this should be very inexpensive. It may sound
    • by Sfing_ter (99478) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:50PM (#14267160) Homepage Journal
      Better yet, why not build it with the Quake3 engine ... /drool/ /salivate/
    • Re:This is stupid. (Score:5, Informative)

      by krgallagher (743575) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:59PM (#14267254) Homepage
      " Absurd rumor mongering at its best/worst."

      Yeah this is from a blog, and even the blog says 'An Opera official outright denied this claim, after I asked about it, saying "Rumors come and go. Google is not buying Opera."'

    • Re:This is stupid. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kelson (129150) *
      My favorite is how Opera Watch says "I must say that I find this very hard to believe," goes on to explain how unlikely it is and what might be behind the rumor, and somehow Slashdot turns it into "Opera Watch says this will happen!"
  • by sfontain (842406) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:33PM (#14266959)
    I can't begin to imagine why.

    My favorite thing about Slashdot is that the article summaries are so objective.
  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:33PM (#14266962) Homepage Journal
    Google is in a unique position to be a software developer that can create new applications before the market sees a need for them, and be a success at it. I believe they've found a great way to dismiss Microsoft back to the 90's and leave them in the dust.

    Google is finding (in many ways) that they're running up against a standards wall. Gmail is very successful in part because of "AJAX" but you know there is more out there. Remember, these guys make software that is mostly server-hosted.

    I can't imagine what google is working on next, but I have been contemplating their need for a "proof-of-concept" engine that would be considered a web browser to some, but in all reality it would be an operating system. This sub-operating system would be hardware abstracted from the real OS, but give Google the ability for power users to see what Google can do with data.

    Opera makes sense to me. I wish they'd have more platforms supported (Pocket PC was surprisingly ignored until this past month) but it is very standards-oriented and gives Google a real opportunity to denounce Internet Explorer without coming out and saying it directly.

    Google can't come out and make a new mini-OS "web browser" that supplies its own standards, so what they can do is take the browser that seems to follow the standards the closest, and adopt their applets to work perfectly in this standard browser. If IE can't run the software, Google can offer a reduced-capacity version of their applet for IE, and basically users who want the powerful one will dump IE for Google. That would be Google's first nail in Microsoft's coffin.

    For anyone to think that Google doesn't have the desire to be the next Microsoft, you have to see how much money Google is burning to come up with the best and newest data aggregating applets. Microsoft can't keep up, and they're quickly losing the race to releasing new -- and NEEDED -- applications. Word, Excel, IE -- they're all old news. Google Earth, Google Maps, Google SMS, Google Blogsearch, they're all applications that can be enhanced even further if Google had a standard platform to write their uber-versions for. Opera can be that standard platform that extends Google from merely a website to becoming its own operating system.
    • "I can't imagine what google is working on next, but I have been contemplating their need for a "proof-of-concept" engine that would be considered a web browser to some, but in all reality it would be an operating system."

      A web browser that hides the operating system and all the associated bagage? Wow, that's revolutionary [webtv.com]! It's amazing that nobody though of it before, way to go google!
    • by beforewisdom (729725) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @05:00PM (#14267265)
      Very fascinating suppositions and it jives with the question "why not firefox?".

      According to your theory Google wants a standard platform with which to build up their apps. Firefox, being controlled by other people will be a moving target to a certain exent, which would slow them down.

      If they buy Opera and beef up their web apps to Opera as a platform Opera is standards compliant so Firefox can easily adjust. The Firefox crew does the work of adjusting to Google instead of Google adjusting to Firefox.
  • obvious why (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LetterRip (30937) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:33PM (#14266964)
    mobile market, opera dominates there - google would love to be on every mobile platform.

    LetterRip
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...the red 'O' is already similar.
  • Wikipedia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interiot (50685) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:34PM (#14266971) Homepage
    C'mon, buy Wikipedia already. "Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," and Wikipedia fits that goal better than Google Groups does.
    • What, and make money off of my free contributions?
    • Re:Wikipedia (Score:5, Insightful)

      by QuantumFTL (197300) * <justin.wickNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:45PM (#14267103)
      C'mon, buy Wikipedia already.

      This is just speculation of course, but maybe Google is waiting to see where Wikipedia is going first? Wikipedia's doing just fine for google (through answers.com) as is - why spend extra money on something you can get for free?

      Also, Wikipedia contains a massive amount of copyrighted content (mostly "fair use" images that have not been legally tested)... and some folks are trying to bring a class action suit against Wikipedia - does Google really want to open themselves up to more legal action?

      I think it'd be smarter for Google to make some hefty donations and then reap secondary benefits, but with some nice legal isolation.
  • Data Mining (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anti_Climax (447121) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:34PM (#14266977)
    So now they'll be able to track where we're going when it's not mentioned in our gmail or searched for through their search engine.

    Could be interesting.
  • RUMOR: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ballsanya (596519)
    rumor: n, Unverified information received from another; hearsay.
  • That's one way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:35PM (#14266982)
    That's one way to get the Google toolbar loaded on every browser shipped.
  • A premonition? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bananatree3 (872975) * on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:35PM (#14266986)
    It has been known for some time that google registered gbroswer.com [whois.sc]. Could this simply be the beginning of the Google Browser?
  • Why would a company that prides itself on its ability to serve content to users in a well-crafted, platform-independent way want to buy a browser? Do they really need to compete with Microsoft in this way?

    Someone enlighten me, please.
    • One reason might be to make sure they always have a web browser that works with their stuff. It wouldn't be beyond Microsoft's tactics for them to suddenly add some "feature" to IE that suddenly makes all of Google's Cool Stuff stop working well.

      Also, if Google can promote adoption of Opera as a solid replacement for IE, the result will be that Microsoft's dominance is reduced. This is a Good Thing.
  • by shanen (462549) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:36PM (#14266995) Homepage Journal
    It's a pretty good browser, they have a development team in place but in a sellable form, and it has some especial strengths for the high-growth pervasive market. More importantly, it actually has the potential to be a tactical threat to Microsoft, but as a relatively external unit, it could also be sold off if the tactic doesn't work.
  • gbrowser.com (Score:5, Informative)

    by abscondment (672321) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:36PM (#14266996) Homepage

    A little WHOIS action:

    WHOIS Record For
    gbrowser.com


    [snip]

    Registrant:
    Google Inc.
    (DOM-1278108)
    1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View
    CA
    94043 US


    Domain Name: gbrowser.com


    Registrar Name: Markmonitor.com
    Registrar Whois: whois.markmonitor.com
    Registrar Homepage: http://www.markmonitor.com/ [markmonitor.com]

    Administrative Contact:
    DNS Admin
    (NIC-1467103)
    Google Inc.
    1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View
    CA
    94043 US
    dns-admin@google.com +1.6502530000 Fax- +1.6506188571
    Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
    DNS Admin
    (NIC-1467103)
    Google Inc.
    1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View
    CA
    94043 US
    dns-admin@google.com +1.6502530000 Fax- +1.6506188571

    Created on..............: 2004-Apr-26.
    Expires on..............: 2006-Apr-26.
    Record last updated on..: 2005-Nov-09 15:09:25.

    Domain servers in listed order:

    NS1.ALLDOMAINS.COM
    NS2.ALLDOMAINS.COM

    Sure, this is old news... but is it coming to fruition?

  • Why? (Score:2, Informative)

    by nukem996 (624036)
    Why would Google buy Opera? I understand they wont to compete with M$ but why not just contribute to Firefox? I know recently google just hired the lead GAIM developer to help with google talk, why wouldn't google do something similar and help firefox grow? Infact if you goto google they are pumping out many extensions [google.com] for firefox, I havnt seen anything for Opera. It seem that google is trying to help firefox.
  • Good because... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Iscariot_ (166362) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:37PM (#14267004)
    Firefox 1.5 has really let me down. It's memory footprint is only slightly larger but what really irks me is that it is a processor hog. Not only that but there was a huge list of bugs they didn't knock out before launching 1.5, I'm not really sure why they chose to do this. (Before you say, "but there's always bugs", there were some serious UI bugs that should have been dealt with.) I'm back to running 1.0.7 until Firefox 1.5 can a nice point release but Opera is looking more and more tempting.

    I'm scared that Firefox 2.0 will have twice the system requirments than the operating systems on which it runs which, imho, it shouldn't. :(
  • Makes sense to me. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eightyford (893696) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:37PM (#14267005) Homepage
    This makes perfect sense to me. I think with all of the web services that google develops, they don't want to be inhibited by bugs in Microsoft's Internet Explorer. [slashdot.org] They could also get people to switch to Opera pretty easily, as most people already use the search engine, and all it would take is a small "download this to enable extra features" button.

    I'm surprised they haven't done this already.
    • Hopefully you can now login into Google Groups using Opera!

      (I know you can do that since the past few months... but they ignored opera for a while there...)
  • by rewt66 (738525) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:37PM (#14267007)
    I can't begin to imagine why.

    You can't? I can...

    Microsoft has announced an intention to kill Google. (All right, Ballmer said so to a guy who was leaving to go to Google. Same difference.) Microsoft has made some announcements of stuff to compete with Google. Microsoft also controls the most-used browser.

    Add it all up, and I can sure see why Google might want to have a (better, but less popular) browser under their control...

  • by Sfing_ter (99478) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:38PM (#14267019) Homepage Journal
    Gubuntu, Googlinux, Googdriva, Googebian, Googepis, GoogleHat, Googell Desktop Linux oh god not...Googentoo!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
  • by danmart (660791) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:39PM (#14267030) Homepage Journal
    Reasons to buy Opera:
    1. Opera is a fast browser with clean code. Fits with google quality requirements/desires.
    2. Opera is closed source. Google can add secret sauce for tracking or search or ad related reasons.
    3. Opera can be made into a product to compete with MS without giving away the source to competitors.
    • by croddy (659025) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:47PM (#14267130)
      I'm curious. How can you know whether the code is clean, if it's closed source?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 15, 2005 @05:53PM (#14267735)
        I'm curious. How can you know whether the code is clean, if it's closed source?

        The same way you can tell a person, plant, or even a car is (relatively) healthy: by the way it operates on the outside. Ok, so. If a car is nearly broken down, you'll see lots of smoke going out its rear end. If a plant is nearly broken down you'll see it withering away and possibly yellowing at the wrong time of year. And if a person is nearly broken down you'll see them coughing, and hacking, and sneezing, and nose-running.

        We know MS Windows wasn't exactly clean code back in '95 because it always BSOD'd on use and had segmentation faults everywhere with dangling pointers and crap.

        And we can tell Opera has good, clean code on the inside because it doesn't produce the effects of bad, dirty code on the outside.

        What did they call that biology? Genotypes vs Phenotypes? Yes. By the phenotype we can tell at least a part of the story.
  • So, you've got Google Desktop, Google Maps, Froogle, Google Adwords, Google Earth, Google Moon....why not GoOpera (heh)

    How much integration could be made between browser and website if Google had control of both? Sure, their stuff would operate in other browsers, but there might be custom extensions that render only in their browser. On the other hand, they might use the browser to obtain usage statistics and word patterns from the browsers users...

    This is an opportunity for Google to show the world now
  • It'd be an interesting move in terms of Google having the client-side portion of their expanding platform. If they make it so other developers can build their own apps on top of the Google platform, Google can become the defacto "live" software vendor.

    Want anti-virus? Use Kaspersky's Google app. Word Processor? Sun has Googlized Star Office. It sounds a lot like what MS is doing with MS Live. While I don't agree that it makes sense for MS, it does for Google.

    However, Google must know that getting a browser
  • by gasmonso (929871) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:40PM (#14267045) Homepage

    Currently, Google has included Firefox in their Adsense referral program. Google is paying $1/click to convert users to Firefox. Why on Earth would they invest millions in that only to buy a competitor? Something stinks here.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
  • by jferris (908786) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:44PM (#14267098) Homepage
    Oprah. I hear that the feeding and makeup costs alone would even make Bill Gates blush.
  • Not likely (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:49PM (#14267149)

    I don't really think this is likely, but I do take exception to this reasoning:

    I must say that I find this very hard to believe; after all, Google recently hired some Mozilla/Firefox people, in addition to being an active supporter of the open source browser.

    Remember when Apple hired a couple of Mozilla people? Everybody was saying that they were going to release a web browser based on Gecko. In the end, the fact that they were Mozilla people was a red herring, they were hired for their expertise in developing a browser, not their knowledge of Gecko specifically.

    So no, I don't really see this happening, but that's mainly because Google don't need to buy Opera to accomplish their goals, not because they've hired a couple of Mozilla people. I think it's more likely that Google are partnering with Opera in the handheld market in some way, Opera's got a good position there and Google are expanding in that direction.

  • Mobile business? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:52PM (#14267172) Journal
    I can't begin to imagine why.

    I don't think Google will buy Opera just yet at least, especially considering Opera's denial in connection to this, but Opera has a much greater foothold than any Mozilla product in the mobile market, and it has earlier been rumored that Google is considering moving into the mobile business more. (actually, they already have with their free WiFi service, their online mobile-targeting services, etc)
  • summary incorrect (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:52PM (#14267173) Journal
    FTS: "The source of the claim is Pierre Chappaz, the former president of Yahoo Europe"

    FTA: "Pierre Chappaz, the former president of Yahoo Europe, claims to have a source, whom he says is generally very well informed, who told him that Google is planning on buying the Opera web browser."

    So someone tells someone something, and then that person tells someone else?

    I admire the submitter for trying to make /. more relevant with breaking news, but this isn't news. It's idle speculation.

    Also, Chappaz was president of Yahoo Europe for about one month before he submitted his resignation, for personal reasons. His total tenure as president of Yahoo Europe? Less than two months. Here's his blog, which includes the source for TFA. It's in French. And he states that he's guessing that Google might want to in order to compete with MS.ahref=http://www.blogger.com/profile/3848632rel =url2html-4514 [slashdot.org]http://www.blogger.com/profile/38486 32>

  • No Thanks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the computer guy nex (916959) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @04:53PM (#14267177)
    Google makes money from information that makes their Search Engine better. That is their business model, and everything they do will feed into this. Free Gmail (but all links scanned to populate search engine), Free Internet (but all patterns tracked), etc.

    No way am I using a browser and letting Google know THAT much about me, especially if they require you to have a Google account to use.
  • by beforewisdom (729725) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @05:17PM (#14267431)
    Netscape was once a small company with little money and a lot of brain power too.

    Microsoft crushed them.

    Google with a fraction of a percent of Microsoft's money has survived because they have solved new problems instead of competing with Microsoft on their own turf.

    I.E.( "dominant browser" ) is a central part of MS's turf and they will not tolerate Google trying to snag it away from.

    I see a fist fight coming.

    • Or, you might be reading an unsubstantiated rumor (google acquiring opera), which seems a whole lot more likely. You're right that Google is still too weak to compete and make money on Microsoft's turf, and that their genius is in discovering new, uncolonized turf.

      I'm starting to think to think that all these Google rumors are strategically placed to pull Microsoft in 100 different directions simultaneously. One way to keep them just spinning their wheels is to force them to develop every product type-X j

    • Netscape didn't have loads of cash like Google and they certainly couldn't execute worth a damn.
  • who innovates? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geoff lane (93738) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @05:18PM (#14267440)
    Week after week the buzz is about Google and new products while MS is struggling to get updates to existing products out of the door.

    So who exactly is innovating in the marketplace and who is just protecting existing investment just like an old fossilised company?
  • Um... here's why. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mogrify (828588) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @05:40PM (#14267634) Homepage
    Thanks to their Ajax prowess, Google can set themselves up as the provider of any kind of software you can think of... with two exceptions. You need an operating system and a browser to be a Google consumer. Why not go ahead and take care of one of those? They're just increasing the amount of the stack that they control.

    Makes sense, right?
  • by Namarrgon (105036) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @07:56PM (#14268625) Homepage
    that they're not going to make a server-side, AJAX-based Google Browser? I was so waiting for that...
  • by Ian Bicking (980) <ianb AT colorstudy DOT com> on Thursday December 15, 2005 @08:26PM (#14268801) Homepage
    Anyway, here's my $0.2: Google cares about browsers. They are really good at providing services over the web -- with relatively low overhead on the backend too -- but they rely on browsers for actual user experience. The quality of browsers directly effects the quality of application they can provide. They flirt with other interfaces -- like Google Earth and the like -- but their core is the browser.

    They don't need a browser of their own, but they need a competitive browser market. Firefox, thus, is very important to them -- even if it never gains a majority market share, it forces Microsoft to improve IE again. Opera may have a similar strategic value, especially because on mobile phones it seems like it's mostly Opera or something proprietary, and proprietary means that Google could be locked out or extorted to provide access fees. It doesn't matter that much to them if another browser does well on mobile phones, just like it doesn't matter that much if Firefox or IE win, so long as they have a quality browser(s) available.

    I also sometimes wonder how Opera is really doing financially. If they are strapped for cash -- and I have zero idea how they are doing -- that may limit their ability to improve the product, or even the viability of the product entirely. So Google might just be trying to keep the market healthy (from their perspective) by keeping different products in the play.

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