Google to Takeover Opera?

Some interesting talk of late about the possibility of Google making a play for the Norwegian browser company Opera.

Some analysts are speculating that such an acquisition would support Google’s recent partnerships with Sun and the project, and align with its strategy to deliver office software functionality as a service through a browser interface. There is a lot for advocates of voice technologies to be enthusiastic about in such talks – and some things to be concerned about as well.

Google clearly recognizes the value of using voice as a medium for delivering information, and for allowing users to interact with each other – take a look at Google Talk (if you haven’t already). The possibilities of a pairing between Google with the browser company that has been at the forefront of helping further the development of the XHTML+Voice standard are very exciting.

However, there are those speculating that such an acquisition could lead to the development of a Google-optimized browser:

“Whilst it may be difficult for Google to make any direct income from acquiring a browser, there might be the advantage that the company could package a browser pre-configured with Google goodies that it could then attempt to get PC suppliers to preload as part of the machines’ base install,” said Tony Lock, chief analyst with Bloor Research of the U.K.

I for one hope that if this happens, that the excellent XHTML+Voice features that the developers at Opera have built in to their browser don’t get crowded out. If the folks at Google were smart (which they obviously are), they would find a way to leverage the X+V support in the Opera browser to further their click-to-call strategy.

If Larry and Sergey decide to give me a ring, this is the advice I’ll be giving them. 😉