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Google Enters the Web Browser War

Chrome

If you haven’t seen the buzz in the blogosphere yet, Google is releasing their own web-browser, dubbed Chrome, tomorrow. I just perused the info-comic (made by Scott McCloud of all people) explaining the ideas and architecture behind Chrome, and I must say that I’m curious.

Here is what stands out to me:

  • Multi-process *and* Multi-threaded – Each browser tab will be its own separate process with its own thread pool. If a website causes a crash, the whole browser won’t go down–only that one tab. There will also be a built-in task manager that will enable you to kill processes and threads and also identify exactly what is causing the crashes. This will require more memory up front, but could potentially save memory in the long run.
  • Process compartmentalization – Google reinforced process boundaries to an even higher degree to prevent malware attack and bad plugins from hosing the entire browser. The “sandbox” (as they call it) is completely user driven.
  • Compiled Javascript – Instead of being interpreted, Javascript will be read once and then compiled into machine code. Huge performance increase potential here. Chrome will be using multiple garbage collection strategies to further optimize memory usage (e.g. precise and incremental)
  • Using WebKit – The Webkit rendering engine is fast, light-weight and used in both conventional laptops/desktops and mobile devices. Potential iPhone app anyone?
  • Omnibar – This will be Chrome’s equivalent to Firefox’s “Awesome” bar, or what we traditionally refer to as the location bar.
  • Open Source – Google’s entry into the browser war can only help the internet as a whole. The entire Chrome project will be open sourced so I’m sure we’ll start to see some of these features absorbed into Firefox, Safari, IE (maybe), etc.
  • Stability – Google has an index of, I daresay, trillions of webpages. Apparently they are subjecting test builds of Chrome to millions of websites each day and are approaching asymptotically that “100% compatibility” mark.

UPDATE (9/2/08):
Google Chrome is available for download now for Windows users.

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September 2, 2008 - Posted by | Linux, Mac, Software, Windows

2 Comments

  1. Granted that I’ve only used it for about 3mins. I don’t see what the big deal is, aside that fact that Google is in the Browser business now.

    I’ll have to play around with it I guess. Unfortunately I’ll have to wait for the OSX version. Any word on when version OSX will be released.

    Comment by Bernie | September 2, 2008

  2. I would hate to see this negatively impact Firefox just because I love the entire idea of Firefox on a philosophical level… But, there’s a good chance this could kick the Firefox team in the right direction. The multi-processification (yes, it’s a word) of tabs sounds like a good idea, as does the javascript compiling.

    Look at me, getting all excited over nitty-gritty programmer’s jargon…

    Comment by radium226 | September 3, 2008


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