Google Chrome Open Source Web Browser Released

As announced in their blog yes­ter­day, Google released its open source web brows­er today at 12pm PDT. It is called Google Chrome (Beta). It was built with the help of com­po­nents from Apple’s WebKit and Mozil­la’s Fire­fox, and some oth­ers. It is only cur­rent­ly avail­able on Win­dows; though they are work­ing on the Lin­ux and Mac ver­sions sup­pos­ed­ly.

I took it for a quick test run ear­li­er and I can say its fast and “min­i­mal” as to what they say. Although most of the key fea­tures are already in Fire­fox, I do like the “crash con­trol”. Here are the ones that have been high­light­ed:

  • One box for every­thing — Web search. Web his­to­ry. Address bar. Sug­ges­tions as you type. One uni­fied box serves all your brows­ing needs.
  • New tab page — Every time you open a new tab, you’ll see a visu­al sam­pling of your most vis­it­ed sites, most used search engines, and recent­ly book­marked pages and closed tabs.
  • Appli­ca­tion short­cuts — Use web apps with­out open­ing your brows­er. Appli­ca­tion short­cuts can direct­ly load your favorite online apps.
  • Dynam­ic tabs — You can drag tabs out of the brows­er to cre­ate new win­dows, gath­er mul­ti­ple tabs into one win­dow or arrange your tabs how­ev­er you wish — quick­ly and eas­i­ly.
  • Crash con­trol — Every tab you’re using is run inde­pen­dent­ly in the brows­er, so if one app crash­es it won’t take any­thing else down.
  • Incog­ni­to mode — Don’t want pages you vis­it to show up in your web his­to­ry? Choose incog­ni­to mode for pri­vate brows­ing.
  • Safe brows­ing — Google Chrome warns you if you’re about to vis­it a sus­pect­ed phish­ing, mal­ware or oth­er­wise unsafe web­site.
  • Instant book­marks — Want to book­mark a web page? Just click the star icon at the left edge of the address bar and you’re done.
  • Import­ing set­tings — When you switch to Google Chrome, you can pick up where you left off with all the book­marks and pass­words from your exist­ing brows­er.
  • Sim­pler down­loads — No intru­sive down­load man­ag­er; you see your down­load­’s sta­tus at the bot­tom of your cur­rent win­dow.

So after giv­ing it a spin, would I use it in my dai­ly work­flow? Not quite yet. As not­ed, it is still in Beta and only avail­able to the Win­dows-user demo­graph­ic. It will be inter­est­ing to see where it goes for sure, or how peo­ple react to it as it approach­es more and more to main­stream. That, and how Google would mar­ket it with their oth­er appli­ca­tions and ser­vices.

That being said, I over­heard through the grapevine that Google’s inten­tion for releas­ing this is due the fact that Mozil­la Fire­fox makes 85% of its rev­enue through Google Search. It does makes sense though. Whether that is total­ly true or only par­tial, its still a good idea if that’s the case. Why make some­one else mon­ey when you keep that mon­ey for yourself—right?

Anoth­er ques­tion that came to mind was: is it bad for every­one else, the every­day users? Not quite… yet. Unless every­one has been fol­low­ing Google’s blog, or are tech­ni­cal­ly savvy and keep track of Tech news, the reach of Google Chrome’s release would most like­ly be by word of mouth between those in the Tech indus­try (for now). But when it does make its stake in the brows­er mar­ket share, it can be bad and good at the same time. Bad, that there will be anoth­er brows­er to add to the list to sup­port and care for by web­sites. And good, that it can be the one true brows­er to rule them all1.

Kevin Pur­dy of recent­ly released some Beta Brows­er Speed Tests ear­li­er today com­par­ing IE 8b2, Fire­fox 3.1b and Google Chrome 0.2. There are 3 impor­tant find­ings from his tests:

  1. In terms of start­up time, Chrome wins. On a cold start2, Fire­fox leads the pack. How­ev­er, on a warm start where the brows­er has just been closed and reloaded, Chrome sur­pris­ing­ly takes the deci­sive lead.
  2. In load­ing JavaScript & CSS, both Fire­fox and Chrome are near half of that of IE’s.
  3. Last but not least, with regards to mem­o­ry use, Fire­fox is undoubt­ed­ly the win­ner. But this might be arguable as can be not­ed in Chrome’s fea­ture set. That is, its abil­i­ty of “crash con­trol” which makes each tab load its own process, rather than a sole Chrome process like that of IE and Fire­fox.
  1. Will there ever be one? I real­ly don’t think so. That’s what’s good and bad about Tech­nol­o­gy, there’s always improve­ment to be done and it is wide­ly open for every­one to inno­vate. []
  2. Refer­ring to a com­put­er that just has been turned on or restart­ed. []

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