We've all heard the rumour about an upcoming browser from Google a couple of times now and this week it's going around again:
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.