One particular line of thought is that Google is getting into the browser business, and this apparently spells certain doom for Opera. Everything Google touches turns into gold, and Opera cannot possibly compete with the search engine giant, some people say.
Such comments face a few problems, of course. We are assuming that Google is working on a browser, and we are assuming that they will continue to contribute to Firefox. We are also forgetting that Opera's market share is hardly big enough at this time to see any kind of significant and sudden drop in the number of users, even with yet another (presumably) free browser on the market. Opera users have made a conscious decision to use Opera, and yet another browser probably won't make much of a difference to them.
But let me return to one important point: These Mozilla developers will continue to contribute to Mozilla/Firefox, for now. But what if Google does indeed want to release its own browser, or what if Google needs them for other projects, even if they are not planning to release their own browser? Opera's position remains unchanged, but Mozilla has lost two key developers to Google.
A Google browser could turn out to be a bigger challenge to Firefox than Opera by taking away resources from Firefox and other Mozilla projects. Opera, on the other hand, is still an independent software company with paid programmers devoting their time to the product.
In the end, this is all speculation, and no one knows what will happen. In all likelihood, neither Opera nor Firefox will die as a result of something Google does. If anything, a Google browser could only help in raising awareness around alternative browsers, and, if based on a standards-compliant engine, would promote standards compliant Web pages.
And the headline of this journal entry is, of course, sensationalist nonsense, inspired by countless imaginative headlines about Opera 🙂