SAN FRANCISCO - Google Inc. is releasing its own Web browser in a long-anticipated move aimed at countering the dominance of Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer and ensuring easy access to its market-leading search engine.
The free browser, called Google Chrome, is to be available for downloading today in more than 100 countries for computers running on Microsoft's Windows operating system.
Google said yesterday it's still working on versions compatible with Apple Inc.'s Mac computer and the Linux operating system.
Google's browser is expected to hit the market a week after Microsoft's unveiling of a test version of its latest browser update, Internet Explorer 8. The tweaks include more tools for cloaking online preferences, creating a shield that could make it more difficult for Google and other marketing networks to figure out which ads are most likely to appeal to which individuals.
News about the Google browser, rumored for years, broke yesterday after the blog Google Blogoscoped reported receiving a comic book from Google outlining the details of the browser. A Google blog post explained that it inadvertently released the news.
The browser, which Google says was built from scratch, has been in the works for two years.