UPDATE: Now available for download here http://gears.google.com/chrome
Competition is the method the market uses to evolve superior breeds of product. Microsoft's Internet Explorer benefited greatly from its earlier battles with Netscape Navigator. In recent years, Firefox has provided an excellent counterweight to IE, but that competition never quite reached the level of rivalry necessary to drive serious innovation.
But now a challenger has entered the browser war arena who might give IE and Bill Gates a run for their money (Two will enter... two will probably leave). Tomorrow Google releases its own browser, Google Chrome, in direct response to the most recent developments of the new Explorer browser. The new InPrivate feature of IE 8, much discussed in the media over the last week, was seen as a direct challenge to much of Google's main business of tracking and using user data for targeted advertising. Google now returns the favor and can probably circumvent the "porn mode" by taking the data directly from their own browser.
Curiously, they appear to have chosen to introduce Google Chrome with an online comic. The underlying technology is apparently based on the same engine that Apple's Safari browser uses. Now I really liked the Safari browser, it avoids a lot of advertisements that Firefox and IE both get bogged down with, but I had some stability issues with it. John has a brief overview discussion of the Chrome's features over at Digital Daily (also where I got the simon says photo comparison).