Google releases web browser: Google Chrome

The web is buzzing! Something which was due to come, sooner or later, has happened. Google is launching their own web browser today: Google Chrome.

A screenshot of the Google Chrome web browser

Screenshot taken from TechCrunch: First Images of Google Chrome, who in turn took it from the Google Chrome web site (which currently is taken down).

The official word on it

In A fresh take on the browser, Google explain their thinking about the Google Chrome web browser, and later today a beta version should be available for download. The reasoning behind Google Chrome is building a web browser the way it would have been designed if had been written today, and focusing on the more applications-like web sites we see, JavaScript performance etc.

Unfortunately, though, the first version will only be for Windows but Mac and Linux versions seem to be just around the corner. It should also be mentioned that it is completely open-source, so adaptions or parts not perfect will most likely be found and seen to by the community.

They have also issued a comic describing in more detail how it works, both technically and for end users, and the benefits they see in their approach. This information, somewhat abridged, can also be found in the Wikipedia article about Google Chrome.

Rendering engine

The rendering engine in Google Chrome will be WebKit, so if you haven’t mastered its benefits as well as shortcomings, you’ll have to start doing your homework now. Personally, I like WebKit since it’s crazy fast and they have implemented a lot of nice features, although my gut feel is that Gecko is overall more solid.

What’s most important here is that Google Chrome, Safari, Android, Adobe AIR and others try to keep as updated with the WebKit team’s work as possible. Otherwise we will have to tend to numerous versions of WebKit which will make web developing life hell.

Multiple processes and V8

One of the most interesting things about Google Chrome is that each tab in the web browser will run its completely own process, effectively meaning that the content in one tab can crash without bringing down the entire web browser. This way you will be able to see which web site is being unresponsive or slow, see how much memory it consumes, and, in practice, see which web sites were built properly and which weren’t.

It also has a new JavaScript engine, V8, where no doubt a lot of the work is based on the results from the Google Gears team.

Thoughts on Google Chrome

Way back I hoped for a Google Firefox. Seems I was only halfway right: they released a web browser, but not based on Firefox. Either way, I do think this is great news!

With the power of the name Google (and especially with the press coverage that comes with it) and the very interesting separate-processes and V8 features, I’m sure this will set a new standard and push other web browsers even harder. With the recent success of Firefox and Safari, and now Google coming into the game, I think Microsoft will have a really hard time keeping up. IE 8 brings improvement, but when actually released, they will already be far behind; basically, Microsoft moves to slow and have problem with their priorities.

Stay tuned!

So, stay tuned! It will be released very soon, and I’m sure it will have a great impact on the web browser market.

Will you download it?

Updated September 2nd

I have just taken Google Chrome for a first spin in Windows (through VMWare Fusion), and let me tell you, the first impressions are really good. In the long run, with integration to Google services like Gmail, Google calendar etc, and some nice web developer plugins this can really be a killer app! Can’t wait till I can try it out on a Mac! Screenshots below:

A screenshot of Google Chrome

A screenshot of Google Chrome

A screenshot of Google Chrome

Posted in Developing,Google,JavaScript,Technology,Web browsers |

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