Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google Chrome

from google blog

At Google, we have a saying: “launch early and iterate.” While this approach is usually limited to our engineers, it apparently applies to our mailroom as well! As you may have read in the blogosphere, we hit "send" a bit early on a comic book introducing our new open source browser, Google Chrome. As we believe in access to information for everyone, we've now made the comic publicly available -- you can find it here. We will be launching the beta version of Google Chrome tomorrow in more than 100 countries.

So why are we launching Google Chrome? Because we believe we can add value for users and, at the same time, help drive innovation on the web.

All of us at Google spend much of our time working inside a browser. We search, chat, email and collaborate in a browser. And in our spare time, we shop, bank, read news and keep in touch with friends -- all using a browser. Because we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if we started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that's what we set out to build.

On the surface, we designed a browser window that is streamlined and simple. To most people, it isn't the browser that matters. It's only a tool to run the important stuff -- the pages, sites and applications that make up the web. Like the classic Google homepage, Google Chrome is clean and fast. It gets out of your way and gets you where you want to go.

Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today's complex web applications much better. By keeping each tab in an isolated "sandbox", we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built a more powerful JavaScript engine, V8, to power the next generation of web applications that aren't even possible in today's browsers.

This is just the beginning -- Google Chrome is far from done. We're releasing this beta for Windows to start the broader discussion and hear from you as quickly as possible. We're hard at work building versions for Mac and Linux too, and will continue to make it even faster and more robust.

We owe a great debt to many open source projects, and we're committed to continuing on their path. We've used components from Apple's WebKit and Mozilla's Firefox, among others -- and in that spirit, we are making all of our code open source as well. We hope to collaborate with the entire community to help drive the web forward.

The web gets better with more options and innovation. Google Chrome is another option, and we hope it contributes to making the web even better.

So check in again tomorrow to try Google Chrome for yourself. We'll post an update here as soon as it's ready.

Update @ 3:30 PM: We've added a link to our comic book explaining Google Chrome.

1 comment:

The Unreasonable Man said...

When I read about Google launching its own browser in competition with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, the first thing that came to my mind was about, the company, which while being at the peak with its awesome search engine performance, experimenting with products such as web browsers.
I mulled over it at night, while waiting for the beta to become available, and thought about how much google was spending on new products and services – especially, with web-analysts predicting that social networking websites such as facebook will take on search engines, head-on as the new entry point to the web.

And then Firefox! It wasn’t exactly overnight that Mozilla attacked Microsoft’s well established reign in the Internet browser market, and pulled the rug under its feet. Open-source yes, was the biggest reason why Mozilla was able to conquer. The undeniable trust people have, when the so-called lines of code, most users do not bother to read are available, is incredible. Even before I read details about Chrome, I had made up my mind, that if Chrome wasn’t going to be open-source (or even based on Mozilla, like Netscape), there wouldn’t be much of a future for it. Now, to think, where could Chrome attack Mozilla?

Come to think of it, the larger share of evangelists for Mozilla technology are from the Linux community. Well, at least to start with, even though I am not one from that part of the world. So, when the download was finally available this morning for the Windows community, there were these second thoughts I had about Google moving into this territory beyond its search engine.

Okay, enough of strategy. Getting down to installing Chrome was a little bit of work – as it installs over the air. Which means, that if I take the installer file to my accounts machine, where I access the internet rarely using GPRS, I will have to spend a grueling amount of time, to install the browser.

Once installed, the interface is refreshing and minimalistic. Let’s see, what do I need to start with. I choose to have a fresh look, and not upgrade from my existing Firefox browser. And I am in. The first page itself talks about the New Page Tab system. Which neatly displays the recent searches or pages I have visited, and also allows me to search through my earlier searches on google – neat. Considering, I started with thinking that search engines were on their way out, this is really not showing me when it first pops up on my screen. (Aren’t they better off with Firefox supporting Google?)

Let’s start with the logo. Since it caught my eye – the same four colors as the Windows Logo. Red, Yellow Blue and Green. Against the fiery retro appeal of the Firefox logo. Are they really thinking of not going the Linux way? What about Mac?!!! Apple chose to throw the Safari at Windows users last year. Though, it hasn’t ticked well, considering a lot of the sites still don’t recognize the browser properly, but then the Mac community is a growing one, and shouldn’t be ignored either.

Now, what all do I need from my browser to start with? Bookmarks?! Yes, they’re there. Nicely tucked away next to the address bar, which is big and visible. I simply hate the tiny one in Internet explorer. It takes away the importance of the URL, which is primarily the first identity of any web page. Well, bookmarks are not as jazzy as firefox, and the bookmarks tab isn’t the first thing you notice. Since it’s hidden, and needs to be brought down from the tools menu. And doing that, is the first thing that kills the minimalistic appearance of the browser. Cheers!

Facebook – opens well. Cheers again! And when needed, Adobe Flash Player installs too. The best part being, without requiring a restart of the browser which is incredible. What I hate losing are my links and tabs in Firefox when a plug-in such as Adobe Flash Player requires a restart. Session Saver! Yes, that the next thing I need.

So off I go, searching for a session saver in the tools > options section. And it is there. Lovely. This is something Apple has overlooked in their Safari browser, and I won’t need to mention, Microsoft is still betting upon people going back to “History” when really the button is History if you’re opening some 20 odd tabs while reading on the internet. Blah!

Application Shortcuts – that’s something new with the Chrome. Designed for stuff like Google Calendar, you can choose to send an application shortcut to the desktop for the page, and when clicked, will open the app in its own Google Chrome window. Cool! You can choose to place this shortcut, on the Desktop, Start Menu or the Quick Launch toolbar. Awesome! This means, Google Documents (, owing to a broadband connection are moving towards their independent application status. This is something I have been waiting for.

But RSS? Where’s that? I am sure there’s work to be done. And RSS is something we need for news and live bookmarks, which I am missing in Chrome. Hopefully, to have some of that in the near future. And much more.