Sourced from The New York Post

Google, US$1.67 billion richer from its August initial public offering, is spending its money poaching the brightest minds from arch-rival Microsoft and other tech giants. Based on the half-dozen hires in recent weeks, Google appears to be planning to launch its own Web browser and other software products to challenge Microsoft.

Google has wooed Joshua Bloch, one of the main developers of the Internet programming language Java, from Sun Microsystems. The company also hired four people who worked on Microsoft’s browser Internet Explorer, and Joe Beda the lead developer on Avalon, Microsoft’s code name for the user interface that will part of the next version of Windows, (code named Longhorn).

“Google is a magnetic pull for smart technology people,” said Gary Stein, an analyst with Jupiter Research. “They’re really trying to broaden their tech base. This is all about putting smart kids in a Google sandbox.” Neither Google nor the employees will comment on the hiring spree, but analysts note that the talent allows the company to challenge Microsoft on its own turf.

Analysts believe Google is working on a music search tool, an instant-messaging program and a Web browser along with its beta email project Gmail.

The broader concept Google is pursuing is similar to the “network computer” envisioned by Oracle chief Larry Ellison during a speech in 1995. The idea is that companies or consumers could buy a machine that costs only about $200, or less, but that has very little hard drive space and almost no software. Instead, users would access a network through a browser and access all their programs and data there. The concept floundered, but programmers note that Google could easily pick up the ball.