Tuesday, September 2, 2008

ZenTiger Google adds Chrome

Google enters the browser market with Google Chrome (beta).
I don't care if there's one fewer cool feature - I just want this product to be ROCK SOLID -- Google Adware

A new Browser in the market isn't going to turn heads, and Firefox is doing well in terms of innovation, growth in the user base and supporting open source and open standards.

No, Chrome isn't going to win out on that score, but I see bigger plans afoot!

I suspect this heralds a bigger push to host rich server based applications within browsers, as Google see this as a way to undercut Microsoft's huge control over the desktop. Chrome will not just be about browsing - it will try to be an operating system (OS) within the OS, or at the least, a rich application environment.

I suspect that's one of the reasons they have packed a JavaScript Virtual Machine called v8 under the hood. They've also designed it so that programs are sand-boxed so they don't take out core processes. I'm reminded here of other products on the market that virtualise browser windows (such as Force Field, produced by the Zone Alarm guys) to completely protect the underlying operating system from being tagged with trojans, key loggers and other malware. Those products were driven by security concerns. It looks like Google have realised the concept has a bigger market.

No surprise therefore that Chrome covers off the privacy issue. The privacy option allows the ability to browse the web incognito - at least as far as leaving tracks on your PC. IE7 also implemented something similar - called iPrivate to do the same thing, and it quickly became known as "porn mode".

Combine it with using proxy servers that mask your IP address and you are also kitted out to go blogging anonymously. An essential requirement if you live in China, North Korea and possibly New Zealand.

Chrome has a few other features, such as big fat tabs sitting over the top of the application, rather than as windows under the menu bar. This ties in with providing the look and feel (and capability) of many virtual (segregated) application PCs to reinforce the new wave of web apps with promises of stability.

Omnibox is another feature - which is all around using their full text search across your history and bookmarks, to make finding stuff easier than picking through menus - providing that relevance compensates for excessive hits. It's not particularly innovative, but does reinforce the increasing use of search technology across more than just content.

And speaking of which - more caching of web pages to help you search content offline, or add priority to content you've previously viewed. Maybe now I'll be able to return to the many comments I leave on other blog threads?

Chrome is open source, including the v8 JavaScript engine they've used - expect to see plugins adapted for Chrome as it moves out of beta, but it's the applications I'm waiting for; the web is becoming more ubiquitous and the connection speeds faster.

Google reason the web is already a different beast than a few years ago, and a rewrite of the browser was in order. I take that with a grain of marketing salt. However, the next killer apps may well be the kind that move us off the desktop and local networks; the niftiness (is that a word?) of mashups, RSS, IM and social networking plus the lure of content anywhere may make us rethink how we use the web.

We saw the first of this with the release of Google Gears - an open toolkit for building native applications on top of web technologies. It's not been the only innovation in this area either. The Mozilla Foundation have been working on similar thinks, and have collaborated with Google too.

If Google Gears was a wheel looking for a cart, then Chrome may prove to be cart with wheels. It just needs some horse power. Google know this - and this is why I hope they have planned far more than just another browser.

'Chrome' is the term used by developers to indicate how much pretty stuff surrounds the data one is presenting. Google naming their new browser "Chrome" could prove to be either iconic, or ironic.



-ZenTiger

Related Link: Google Chrome - Comic Book First Edition

2 comment(s):

David Gerard said...

"We are so, so happy with Google Chrome," mumbled Mozilla CEO John Lilly through gritted teeth. "That most of our income is from Google has no bearing on this statement." - http://notnews.today.com/?p=57

Patrick Roberts said...

should be interesting to see if Chrome works more efficiently than FireFox and IE... if it's faster than Firefox, since isn't IE, then i'll use it

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