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With Web Browser, Google Launches Volley at Microsoft

"The browser landscape is highly competitive," it reads, "but people will choose Internet Explorer 8 for the way it puts the services they want right at their fingertips."

The Firefox browser, meanwhile, has grown in popularity, mostly at the expense of Internet Explorer. Development of the browser, which is closing in on worldwide market share of 20 percent, is essentially funded by Google's support of the Mozilla Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

Google's founders said its browser development team would collaborate on certain areas "where it makes sense to do so."

"I hope that big chunks of Chrome can make it into the next generation of Firefox," Google co-founder Sergei Brin said in a news conference.

Google said the Chrome software had been in development for two years. The version made available online yesterday is compatible only with Windows computers, but Mac and Linux versions are in the works.

Pichai said Chrome was "kind of an ironic name." Among browser software developers, the term refers to the window frames, menus and toolbars that browser users are accustomed to seeing as they surf the Web every day. Google's intention with the project was to keep such distractions as unobtrusive as possible.

"The goal was to make people forget they are using a browser," he said.

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