The rumors of Google building their own browser are true: Google Chrome is the project, and includes a number of interesting features, introduced in a comic by Scott McCloud. At the top of the list is running every tab in its own process, and also running each plug-in in its own process. That will definitely help with limiting the bleeding when web pages misbehave, as well as with diagnosing the bad component.

Interestingly, one of the lead developers is Ben Goodger, who was a big part of Firefox, but Chrome is based on Webkit rather than Gecko. Chrome claims a number of UI innovations, but they seem fairly simple things to me: where the tabs are, how the auto-complete works, and so on.

For web developers, there's a downside: it's one more browser to worry about. Yes, it's based on Webkit, so in theory it will behave like Safari in all the important ways.

The difference between theory and practice: in theory there is no difference, but in practice there is.

Another downside: this will likely only take market share from Firefox, and not help with the Internet Explorer problem at all...

tagged: ,   /   via: Simon Willison» 13 reactions

Comments

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Bill Mill 8:39 PM on 1 Sep 2008

> Another downside: this will likely only take market share from Firefox, and not help with the Internet Explorer problem at all...

Why do you think this?

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cory 9:40 PM on 1 Sep 2008

If it takes market share from Firefox, it will do so by being better than Firefox. If it is better than Firefox, then it will take more market share from IE than Firefox. :-) They will both have the same barrier to adoption: the ability to download and install a browser.

In practice of course this won't happen unless the addons API is better than Firefox's, and addon developers immediately start putting extensions on top of Chrome. ("Better" because if it's only "as good as", there is very little incentive for addon writers to target it.)

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Bob Congdon 12:26 AM on 2 Sep 2008

Most people don't switch browsers. They use what's already there. This isn't just true with IE on Windows; Safari is the dominant browser on OS X. Firefox users are switchers. If Google Chrome is "better" than Firefox, you can certainly imagine that a lot of these same people would switch to it. Google doesn't need Firefox. But Mozilla needs Google. 85 percent of their revenue comes from Google.

In addition to making life difficult for developers by adding "one more browser to worry about", Chrome raises some interesting questions: Why is Google doing their own browser rather than just contributing people to Mozilla to make Firefox better? Will Google services work better with Chrome than with other browsers? Will Google use its dominant position in search to heavily promote Chrome?

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George 1:03 AM on 2 Sep 2008

The only way Google can get awesome adoption is to try use the Justice Department to force a browser choice and/or multiple browsers onto Windows machines. Of course, before you do this you need to have your own browser.

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Charles Merriam 3:46 AM on 2 Sep 2008

I could see targeting users as a limited, more secure browser: "Here, run this full screen. Ignore weird plug-ins and incompatibilities. Have Google verifying DNS information. Use it to connect to your bank or intranet."

That would make sense.

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Justin Driscoll 7:58 AM on 2 Sep 2008

I think you're wrong about Chrome not taking market share from IE. Google has a huge visibility advantage and is MUCH better at marketing it's products to the average consumer than Mozilla. Look at Google Desktop, which ships with many new computers, or Picasa. The same people who have no idea what "a Mozilla" is use Google products and sites on a regular basis.

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Mark Mascolino 2:48 PM on 2 Sep 2008

While they will be more successful in marketing to current IE users, Firefox userbase will be the one most targeted because they are the people who have already switched once and will be the most open to switching again.

However this isn't a bad thing because if there are two different competitors to IE that are used by the cognoscenti, then the most popular web sites will be forced to produce HTML sites that are compliant with all major browsers rather than one off hacks that target one browser or another.

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Passive 2:54 PM on 2 Sep 2008

I think it probably will take mostly FF market share to start, but remember that one of the significant barriers to FF adoption is bank|intranet|etc websites that people need to use, but are still stuck to IE. This is much better than it used to be, but I imagine that Google has significantly more leverage than Mozilla in changing this. So getting rid of IE dependence is one thing that will hopefully improve with Google in the mix.
The other thing is that for GMail, the thing is fast! It's significantly faster than desktop Outlook. I'll be trying out some other web apps, but so far, so good.

Posted using Google Chrome!
http://www.google.com/chrome

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Jim 3:29 AM on 3 Sep 2008

Very light on resources love the browser

see review here
http://megawallpapers.info/?p=23

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F. Andy Seidl 3:52 PM on 3 Sep 2008

The interesting questions to me are not if Chrome (beta) is ready for prime time (it is not) or which established browser will suffer more (they all will.) What I find more interesting is that it appears to have all the trappings of a disruptive technology hiding in plain sight.

I wrote more about this idea here:

Google Chrome: Disruptive Technology
http://faseidl.com/public/blog/212172

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JosephR 5:44 PM on 7 Sep 2008

I just switched from Firefox to Chrome. Here's why: Firefox just recently upgraded to Version 3.0.1. Ever since, I've had trouble with Firefox freezing and sometimes just closing down. On several occasions I've had to go to IE to look at basic, legitimate web pages. Today, for example, I tried to click a link on Claritin.com and it froze. There's no simple way I could find to communicate my problem to Mozilla, so I downloaded Chrome.

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MarkD 7:39 AM on 11 Sep 2008

I switched from Firefox to Chrome as well. You see, Firefox needs a bit more resources than Chrome, you can observe it in how many seconds Chrome needs to launch( mine was just 1 second).Firefox needs at most 1 minute ,for the slowest computer that is, to start.I also liked it's simpleness, in ways that you can use it on the go and just close it anytime you want. Although no browser has matched Firefox features yet, specially with the very handy add - ons you can download, Chrome will just be a simple web browser if it's developers will take the challenge of improving it to the level of what Firefox has reached.

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F. Andy Seidl 11:29 AM on 11 Sep 2008

It's refreshing to see folks here being realistic about Chrome's place in the browser market. I continue to read in many places about how Google Chrome will never make it because it has so many problems. Such views are short sighted, as I have tried to explain here:

Unpolished (Google) Chrome May Yet Sparkle
http://faseidl.com/public/item/212515

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