Liveblogging From the Google Chrome Launch: Hello, Larry! (Wake Up, Sergey!)

Finally, Google Co-Founder Larry Page takes the microphone and thanks the Chrome browser team and compliments them for their efforts.

This is, as anyone on the receiving end of Page’s sometimes pointed manner knows (and BoomTown has been), a big deal.

Page also starts to talk about how browser choice and innovation could make the planet a better place.

Of course! World peace through better browsing!

Then he moves on to questions from the media, bringing the Chrome team up to the stage.

There’s a sequence of very serious questions on how to move tabs, privacy, mobile issues, WebKit, bug testing, Incognito, distribution plans and ongoing support for Mozilla’s Firefox (yes, it will continue–plus, Mozilla HQ is across the street!).

Ooops–the other Google (GOOG) Co-Founder, Sergey Brin, arrives. He slips into the lineup of “Inside the Actors Studio”-type chairs, looking like he just woke up, in what is a classic move by Microsoft’s Bill Gates that I like to call the “bed-head maneuver.” (I like the spanking red Crocs though!)

It’s a sleepy ruse, as it turns out, as Brin deftly deflects a question about whether Chrome is an operating system for the Web, given that Internet navigation software has become so integral to consumer behavior.

As in, a Windows killer!

Nope, says Brin (full video answer to come), despite my dubious look.

The distribution question is key, of course, since Google will want to get it out there. So what’s the secret sauce? Because it is a “great product,” says Page.

As to why Google was doing this, VP Sundar Pichal said the search giant wanted to “start from scratch” in the browser game. Like baking a really good cake, one would assume.

When no reporter would get up and ask the obvious what-about-tweaking-Microsoft question, I finally did and also asked about the business plan for Chrome–as in, how will it help Google make more money?

Both Brin and Page answer again that it’s all about providing choice and also keeping the Web open and giving consumers choice, which will spur usage, which will rain more moolah down on the Googleplex.

Also (and video to come on this too), Brin later adds, Google never thinks of Microsoft (MSFT).

Well, at least on that issue it seems we’re back to Pinocchio–the long-nosed version–again.

Next post: BoomTown’s Chrome Launch video!

Until then, here’s the exclusive review in his Personal Technology column of the new Google Chrome browser by’s Walt Mossberg, which was published at the same time as the news of its product launch was announced by the search behemoth this morning.

Walt’s reaction to it is mixed:

“My verdict: Chrome is a smart, innovative browser that, in many common scenarios, will make using the Web faster, easier and less frustrating. But this first version–which is just a beta, or test, release–is rough around the edges and lacks some common browser features Google plans to add later.”

Anyone can now download it, but Walt has been testing it for a week. He also reviews Microsoft’s newest version of its powerful Internet Explorer, called IE8, which he likes better than Chrome.

Money quote: “The second beta version of IE8 is the best edition of Internet Explorer in years. It is packed with new features of its own, some of which are similar to those in Chrome, and some of which, in my view, top Chrome’s features.”

A little tarnish on the Chrome, it seems.

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