09/23/08
‘Battle-browser Google-actica’ – Google Chrome

The Battle of the Browsers Turns Inter-net-stella

Browser Wars - Google Chrome

Browser Wars - Google Chrome

It’s been two weeks since the world’s biggest Internet company released its Beta version of a (debatably) brand-spanking-new web browser called Google Chrome. So, now that there’s a potential browser war hotting up like supernovae, we thought we’d have a look at what’s being said about it, and what relevance it might have for web users and web designers.

We’ll also get a little insight about how Google Chrome might affect the popularity of other browsers such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and particularly Mozilla’s Firefox.

First of all however, let’s find out what Google has to say about its minimalist web-browser:

“On the surface, we designed a browser window that is streamlined and simple. To most people, it isn’t the browser that matters. It’s only a tool to run the important stuff — the pages, sites and applications that make up the web. Like the classic Google homepage, Google Chrome is clean and fast. It gets out of your way and gets you where you want to go.”

Google Chrome – Minimalistic, Clean and Fresh

google chrome screenshots 300x244 Battle browser Google actica    Google Chrome

At first glance, it’s certainly very fresh and clean. Owing much to the interface of the Norwegian designed Opera browser, incorporating quick image links on opening which show the most frequently viewed websites as a visual web history, Google Chrome should appeal to those who want simplicity when browsing.

Will Firefox Get Its Fingers Burnt?

firefox 3 300x87 Battle browser Google actica    Google Chrome

However, being an open source product, Google Chrome is relying on users to generate additional ‘plugins’ or ‘applications’, similar to those much favoured by users of Mozilla’s Firefox. At this early stage, it’s difficult to imagine where these will sit on the new interface – it will be interesting to see how crisp the browser will look with the addition of such add-ons.

Google already supports Firefox substantially, but many are now wondering if Firefox might lose Google as a major supporter if Google Chrome’s intentions are to muscle in on its ground. Might the ubiquitous Google Toolbar be withdrawn from other browsers and incorporated into Google Chrome? Who knows, but at Landingnet, the feeling is that users who would choose Google Chrome as their default browser would already be using Firefox (happily too) and that for Google Chrome to succeed in its own right, it would need to reconsider its patronage of other browsers. Of course, it may make marketing sense to continue to give the Google Toolbar away – and no doubt the best course of action is or already has been heavily debated deep within Google’s barracks.

Process Per Tab

Perhaps what’s more important to web designers and programmers is the fact that each new tab in Google Chrome will generate its own process. Google wrote that:

“Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today’s complex web applications much better. By keeping each tab in an isolated “sandbox”, we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built a more powerful JavaScript engine, V8, to power the next generation of web applications that aren’t even possible in today’s browsers.”

The ‘Process Per Tab’ will allow greater stability to web users, due to its more efficient use of computer memory. There’s nothing more infuriating when browsers crash, and for Internet Marketing companies like Landingnet, our client’s websites are essential to their business – the last thing a web designer or programmer wants after hours of hard work, is for the end product to fail due to poor browsing power. Perhaps then, with Webkit as the rendering engine used to build Google Chrome, web developers can have more confidence that their products will work consistently.

Will Browsers Rise to the Challenge?

There may be some truth in stating that added competition will encourage the other browsers to ‘up their game’. Certainly from Firefox’s point of view, who were the first browser to really popularise tabbed browsing, the ‘Process Per Tab’ built into Google Chrome’s architecture will give it food for thought. What will quite happen over the next few months will no doubt give the industry a better idea of Google’s intentions – and perhaps then, when the first really useful usage figures are known, will the other players respond.

More About Google Chrome

Follow these links to interesting articles about Google Chrome:

PC ADVISER Google Chrome V Firefox & Internet Explorer – Should Microsoft and Mozilla be afraid?

GUARDIAN REVIEW Is there anything original in Google Chrome?

MARKET WATCH Google Chrome gets 2 million US visitors in one week!

GOOGLE BLOG Fresh Take on a Browser

GOOGLE CHROME COMIC BOOK Words by Google, comics adaptation by Scott McCloud

DOWNLOAD GOOGLE CHROME Try Google Chrome yourself – from the Official Google Website