To celebrate 10 years of changing the face of the internet search and online advertising, Google decided to do what it does best – innovate.

The recent launch of Google Chrome got plenty of press coverage by the mainstream media, and also got the blogosphere buzzing. But behind the awesome Scott McLoud web comic buzz, what does it mean for marketers that the Western worlds favourite search engine has entered the browser wars? We picked two industry brains – one research/strategic focused, one search focused – to translate the chatter around Chrome for marketers.

Steven Noble, a senior analyst with Forrester Research in Sydney, discusses how the launch of Chrome is another great example of an important trend in online right now, that of web application development. But why should marketers care about web applications?

For marketers that see web applications as a key tool for connecting with their target audience, and as a great way to add additional value to their existing product offerings, then the launch of a dedicated browser designed to best handle web-based applications is exciting news indeed.

I caught up with Steven recently and chatted to him about Google Chrome and web-based applications, so check out the short video below for his marketing insights.

Talking search marketing, I asked Alan Long, APAC research director for Hitwise, a few questions about what Google Chrome means for marketers. Heres what he had to say:

Q: How does the release of Chrome potentially impact marketers responsible for SEO?

AL: The key impact is the Omnibox, the search powered address box that features auto-complete. As you type you get predictive results from both organic and paid results, plus recently visited sites relating to the subject. This affects marketers and is interesting for a number of reasons:

  • It has the potential to limit the amount of results you select from, and hence increase the absolute importance of SEO strategies to gain and maintain high rankings.
  • The value of heightening brand awareness becomes a more urgent imperative, it will help your brand visibility for broader brand searches.
  • The Omnibox effectively increases the value of the #1 ranking, as people now have the opportunity to select the top paid searches before results pages appear.
  • It maximises universal search techniques – incorporate maps, video, blogs, news etc aiding relevance and rankings across a range of search terms related to your products and services.

Q: What impact do you predict long-term for the release of Chrome on market share for IE and Firefox? Would you take a punt on how what some are calling the next browser wars will play out?

AL: There is no doubt this is just a shot across the bow of the other browsers. With Google’s marketing power utilising their front page to promote download of the browser gives them a great advantage over Firefox. The next step is to have the browser included on new computers sold – the big advantage for Microsoft in being able to destroy Netscape.

It’s a browser war of sorts, on a number of fronts that will take quite a few years to play-out, but I would expect them to peg substantial share over time, at the expense of both Explorer and Firefox.

One key development plank with the release of Chrome are the advancements in Java technologies and the substantial increases they have been able to again through this development. Now the race will be on from a development perspective to maximise the functionality and speed of Java, setting up a fast, if not instantaneous platform for in-browser applications and moving people comfortably to a cloud-computing environment. So the war may start at the browser level, but I suspect it may be about a lot more and Microsoft seems to be in Google’s crosshairs.

Q: How do you think Chrome will enable Google to take advantage of its advertising and content publishing networks?

AL: I would think that Google will use the behavioural information gained through the browser to develop their advertising relevance/targeting technologies, and the natural flow from that is increased advertising yields.