Chrome: a new browser from Google. Or a new Web OS?

I’m very excited about the news breaking out today of Chrome: the new browser from Google. It will launch tomorrow and you can read all about it on Google’s blog and see their tech friendly comic book(that is brilliant by itself).

I have to admit that both the last release from Firefoxand especially the half baked lackluster IE8 beta from Microsoft were disappointing. While providing relatively minor improvements to most users, they failed to address the biggest challenge confronting the continuing growth of the web: inherent support for rich applications. All we want is to use our email, IM, Search and Facebook without it crashing every few hours taking all windows and tabs with it.

The browser had become the master application where most of our work and play on the computer is done these days. As Google had nicely put it in their blog post “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.” … “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”

So it seems that the smart guys at Google finally understood that if they base their entire business on ads presented while web browsing, they better make sure that browsing experience is fast, secure and continues to flourish. Counting on Microsoft to do that for you is not a smart business strategy.

The new Chrome browser was built from scratch not as a browser but as a platform. Most of the features and improvements are taken form the OS playbook for stability and security: process containment, sand boxing, efficient garbage collection, tight security model.

Here is a short list of some of the innovation the Chrome is introducing:

  • Process isolation for tabs and plugins within tabs. Awesome. No more will a single window force me to kill the browser with all 30 tabs I have open gone with the wind.
  • New Javascript virtual machine that will product compiled machine code. If Java script is to be the future of rich web interfaces (as opposed to the proprietary Flash or Silverlight) it needs to run fast and be more robust and that’s exactly what the new virtual machine is providing.
  • Gears Integration: with Gears support for persistency and OS level access, developers can build client level applications for the web with reasonable portability
  • Security: the new security model offers a strong foundation for ongoing security schema that can be used by application coders and plugin providers.

Google will also make the whole thing open source, allow plugins and invites everyone to add and extend.

That’s the kind of innovation we need in order to keep the web growing and becoming the robust platform for work and play.

I can’t wait to give it a full try tomorrow.

One thought on “Chrome: a new browser from Google. Or a new Web OS?

  1. Pingback: Chrome - a quick first look and review « Edgewater Technology Weblog

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