Google Chrome: Apple’s “Sputnik moment” ?

Remember that Sputnik scene of “The Right Stuff”?

I can imagine some Apple execs running frantically in the hallways and meeting in an underground war room in Cupertino headquarters. In the dim light, they start analyzing Google Chrome features (of lack thereof) and suddenly Steve slams the table with his fist and yells: “Safari is dead if we don’t change the direction now.”

Google Chrome must have been a shock for Apple’s Safari team. Apple developers were probably quietly completing alpha stage for Safari 4.0, and suddenly, bam!

Now Safari must redefine itself, and go in a different direction, and do it fast. SquirrelFish Extreme, announced today, only a few weeks after the original SquirrelFish Javascript engine, is maybe a sign of things starting to move. If SquirrelFish was a leap forward, why announce another leap forward before even releasing it? Because of Chrome, imho.

Every day, I spend a few hours on a Windows machine, and this week I’ve noticed that I’ve stopped using Safari completely. Chrome is my browser of choice in Windows now. A threat for Safari on the Mac, for sure.

Apple will probably not conform with playing catch up, and I’m looking forward to see what exciting stuff there are preparing for January. Or maybe Safari 4.0 has to be delayed, but for good.