Google is planning its own web browser, called Chrome, in what is a rather obvious move for the Internet search giant. A browser is the first thing you'd expect from Google - way ahead of maps, spreadsheets, Google Mars, etc.

Google Docs, Google Talk, Google Mail, Google Trends, Google Dashboard Widgets, Google Suggest, Google Transit, Google Gears, GOOG-411, Google Reader, Google Notebook, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Video, Personalized Search, Google Page Creator, iGoogle, Google Maps, Google Scholar, Google SMS, Google Desktop, Google Groups 2, Google Glossary, Google News Alerts, Google Code Search, Google Ride Finder, Google Sets...

So why not Google Browser? Why Chrome? Does Google now need to sex up its products?

Calling its planned web browser Chrome smacks a little of desperation to me. Project Chrome sounds like something that will wither and die before a proper release.

Remember Microsoft's attempt to out-Apple Apple with its 3D graphics/video add-on for Windows 98? It promised flashing text and crazy animations on web browsers as well as user interface enhancements for Web-based applications.

Its name... Chrome.

Microsoft's dream had Chrome developers using HTML, XML, C++, VBScript, and Jscript, developers to turn a web browser into a rippling, 3D space with audio and video playback. Even databases would be represented in swirling 3D.

An analyst at Jupiter Communications claimed that Chrome would show up Apple as a feeble pretender: "It's not often I say Microsoft has cool software. Apple doesn't have anything comparable."

So what happened to Chrome? First it was renamed to the slightly more prosaic Chromeffects in July 1998. Then Microsoft canned it in November 1998 after a complete lack of interest. Although it is somewhat resurrected in the company's more recent Silverlight project - again a name so flashy that it appears more show than substance.

Leave the flash names to Apple, guys, and get on with delivering us boring old Google Browser.

See also:

Google browser takes on Microsoft & Mozilla

OPINION: Firefox rival, Vista killer... what is Google Chrome?

(I look forward to being reminded of this headline "Chrome has no chance of success. Fact!" when either (a) Chrome overtakes IE and Firefox as the world's number-one web browser and I am the laughing stock of tech journalism, or (b) Chrome peters out as another failed Google project and I am lauded as a visionary and therefore hired to run Google Labs.)

Google Chrome review