A side note on Google Chrome and the future of HTML
In light of my earlier grump about the lesson of XHTML, it's struck me that there is an interesting way to look at Google Chrome. With lots of disclaimers, it goes like this:
If major browsers are the only people who really get a 'vote' on the future of HTML (broadly construed), then one of the things that developing Chrome has done for Google is that it has bought it a seat at the table of the future of HTML. No one can argue that Chrome is not a relatively major and important browser at this point, which means that Google (as Chrome's developer) is now in a position to be part of the lesson of XHTML (in both directions, both for and against things).
Given how important HTML is to Google, Google could well consider the entire cost of Chrome's development to be well worth it just for this influence alone.
(One of the disclaimers is that this is a thought exercise. Another is that Google has lots of potential reasons for developing Chrome, some of which I'm sure they've advanced in public already.)
Also, a year or two ago I would have said that the cynical view of this was that none of it mattered because Internet Explorer continued to be the 800 pound gorilla in the room, and IE was paying just as much attention to web standards efforts as always (ie, almost none). However, IE usage has been sliding (partly because of Chrome). With the field becoming more even, web standards efforts might actually become important again.
(There is a decent devil's advocate argument for something like the IE position on paying attention to web standards, but that's another entry.)