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 Lifehacker.com 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. []

PicLens — Crazy Image/Video Visualization Plugin



Be sure to check this visu­al­iza­tion plu­g­in (for most “mod­ern” browsers). It gives a nice way to nav­i­gate through pho­tos (i.e. flickr, google image results, etc.) and videos (i.e. youtube). Not too shab­by indeed.

Thanks goes out to Mik for the link.

To-do List in Google Calendar

It seems that I am find­ing Google Cal­en­dar (cur­rent­ly being referred to as gCal by technopiles) an alter­na­tive to Out­look late­ly. Even though I wish that Google would fin­ish up imple­ment­ing some kind of sync­ing between gCal and Out­look already. But luck­i­ly, there’s a “hack” that helps out in that side of things. I guess its enough to hold me down for a bit till some­thing from Google comes about.

Any­ways, one of the oth­er things that I was hop­ing gCal to have was a sim­ple to-do list(s), aka. Tasks for those Out­look-ori­ent­ed peo­ple. As I was Blin­go-ing for an inte­gra­tion of some kind of to-do list with gCal, this arti­cle was on top of the list by Matias Pelenur. It does the job using JS, GM and Fire­Fox. Although at the moment, it only saves your to-do list per GM install; local­ly that is, per com­put­er. But there are a cou­ple of workarounds that can be done to make it store to ser­vices such as Ama­zon S3, gCal itself, etc. as not­ed by Matias.

Sup­pos­ed­ly, Google men­tioned the avail­abil­i­ty of an “Account Authen­ti­ca­tion Proxy for Web Appli­ca­tions” fea­ture that will be inter­grat­ed with their gCal API in late April… this past April in fact. I guess we’ll just have to wait for an update on Matias about that, or from Google regard­ing their own home-blend­ed to-do list inte­gra­tion with gCal.

Rehashing Firefox Extensions

I recent­ly updat­ed to Fire­fox 1.5 as read in my pre­vi­ous entry a cou­ple of days ago. Not to men­tion, I also post­ed about exten­sions that I think are a must-have for web developers/designers a month ago. With those in mind, I took some time this past week­end to do some house clean­ing.

With the hol­i­days steadi­ly truck­ing its way for the new year, one should keep their envi­ron­ment free. This also helps you out so you don’t catch a cold or flu, and be bed-rid­den when every­one is par­ty­ing it up. I know this is com­mon knowl­edge but peo­ple still forget—even me some­times. Take for exam­ple this past Sat­ur­day morn­ing while I was get­ting ready to play pick­up-soft­ball at Krusi Park.

I was on my way to my car when I just seem to for­get an essen­tial item, my shoes. I knew that I put it near the bar in the enter­tain­ment room area but I seem to not find it any­where. I recall that I just left it there last week­end. Then I remem­ber Big­gy’s mom clean­ing up and prob­a­bly grabbed it along with the oth­er shoes. To make a long sto­ry short, I found it lat­er but used my san­dals to go to the park and play. Les­son-learned, stay orga­nized as it might save you some time and ener­gy when you need it the most.

Mean­while, back to Fire­fox exten­sions. So I was clean­ing my room and stuff, and decid­ed to do some main­te­nance on my PC as well. Did the usu­al Ad-aware, Anti-virus and Defrag work­flow. Then, was enticed of upgrad­ing my brows­er to 1.5 there too but lat­er decid­ed that I should keep my home-PC at 1.0.7 at the moment.

I then tried to see which exten­sions have updates, which led me to go and learn more about new exten­sions. After an hour or two of opti­miz­ing which exten­sions to take out, add and update, here’s what I think are neces­si­ty:

I also have been using Tab­brows­er Exten­sion (TBE) but late­ly fig­ured out that I don’t need every­thing that comes with it. So I did some research and dis­cov­ered that there’s a cou­ple of exten­sions that can achieve the same func­tion­al­i­ty. Here they are:

I hope these exten­sions become use­ful to you as they were for me. They total­ly make the Fire­fox expe­ri­ence bet­ter; not to men­tion, the improve­ment of effi­cien­cy and pro­duc­tion in my work­flow. I also noticed a low­er CPU usage when I took out TBE and installed the four exten­sions above (TBP, Ses­sion Saver, Tab X and Last­Tab) instead.

So, there you go… Keep things orga­nized. Keep things clean.

Note: Thanks goes out to Petr for updat­ing me with the Fire­fox Site­Bar exten­sion update (Site­Bar Client).

The Journey to Update Firefox from 1.0.7 to 1.5

Just a few weeks ago, Mozil­la released Fire­fox 1.5 RC3. This seems to be the same as the final release. So, if you haven’t con­vert­ed yet (most­ly IE6 users) nor have tried out Fire­fox, now is the time.

Mozilla Firefox

I final­ly decid­ed to update my Fire­fox ver­sion from 1.0.7 to the newest 1.5. I will be imple­ment­ing this on my work PC as it has the most exten­sions installed. This should be inter­est­ing.

Here are the exten­sions:

  • Web Devel­op­er 0.9.4
  • Wizz RSS Read­er 1.1.0
  • gTrans­late 0.2.6 gTrans­late 0.2.7
  • ShowIP 0.7.11
  • Col­orZil­la 0.8.2 (New ver­sion: 0.8.3)
  • Grease­mon­key 0.5.3 Grease­mon­key 0.6.2
  • fireFTP 0.88.3
  • Site­bar Side­bar 1.02
  • Tab­brows­er Exten­sions 1.14.2005092501 (New ver­sion: 2.0.2005113001)
  • View Ren­dered Source Chart 1.2.03
  • Screen­Grab 0.6
  • HTML Val­ida­tor 0.7.6
  • Aut­ofill 0.2
  • IE Tab 1.0.5 (New ver­sion:

Here goes noth­ing, or some­thing. To be con­tin­ued

The striked-out exten­sions above were not­ed as incom­pat­i­ble with Fire­fox 1.5. Fire­fox Update auto­mat­i­cal­ly “dis­abled [them] until com­pat­i­ble ver­sions are installed.” I then not­ed the newest, avail­able ver­sion of the exten­sion that is com­pat­i­ble with Fire­fox 1.5, as stat­ed by Fire­fox Update.

Also to note, I need­ed to update my theme “Noia 2.0 (extreme)” as it was caus­ing a dis­play bug on the URL-address bar. This went from 2.88 to 2.991 and appar­ent­ly fixed the dis­play issue. This took a while to fig­ure out. Maybe in the future, Moz-dev team can have a note to check one’s theme if there are any dis­play issues being encoun­tered.

All in all, the update went quite well. It seems that Fire­fox 1.5 loads a tad faster than its pre­de­ces­sor. I’m just bummed about not hav­ing some exten­sions: Site­bar Side­bar (which is my links depos­i­to­ry) and Grease­mon­key (which is one of the best exten­sions to have for a Fire­fox user).

Note: Grease­mon­key 0.6.2 seems to be hav­ing bug issues at the moment. Peo­ple have been address­ing this issue, so there should be a fix soon. It’s prob­a­bly going to roll out with ver­sion 0.6.4 of the exten­sion.