Google Chrome announced

Yesterday Google announced Chrome, their open-source web browser. At first I was a little nonplussed. It’s tough to imagine even Google going up against Firefox – I’m sure they could produce a popular browser, but Firefox is just too customisable. I’m currently running 24 extensions (yeah, startup is slow), all of which are genuinely useful. How could Google compete with that? Then I read their introductory comic1 and though ‘oooooh’. Highlights:

  • every tab runs in its own process. A broken process kills the tab, not the browser…
  • …and each process runs in the lower permission levels, so malware can’t get into anything important
  • its javascript engine was written – from scratch – to be fast, with modern applications in mind
  • the rendering engine is automatically(!) tested against google’s index, with more popular pages given priority
  • its plugin architecture tries to keep plugins from breaking the world, although they acknowledge this isn’t always possible
  • there’s a firefox-like ‘awesomebar’…
  • …and a revamped UI, with tabs at the top. Each can be dragged into its own window, and the address bar removed so it’s a stand-alone application (ie. gmail).
  • it will automatically download Google’s (open) phishing database
  • it’s fully open-source.

It all sounds pretty impressive, anyway. The beta will be released today, and should be available from here. Should stir things up…

  1. drawn by Scott McCloud, no less []