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

07/31/08
Knol-velty? Google Knol: Knols have goals…

Google Knol…but what are they? On 23rd July, the long awaited Google Knol was made available to everyone, but as Landingnet has discovered, there’s been a mixed reception.

Google Knol is yet another addition to the Internet’s vast array of content depositories, such as About.com, Squidoo, Yahoo Answers and the infamous Wikipedia, but many web commentators are concerned that Google Knol will conflict with the search engine giant’s other interests.

GoogleGoogle Knol’s affect on SEO

One concern is whether the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) will favour Google hosted content through Knols, giving priority over non-Google web content. Google have categorically stated that this will not be the case, and that it already hosts content through tools such as YouTube and Blogger, which remain equally competitive amongst the millions of web-pages available on the Internet. But, if there are SEO advantages to be had by authoring content on Google Knol, it could send shockwaves through the search engine marketing world.

Google Knol and duplicated content

However, Aaron Wall from SEO book has found that by virtually duplicating one of his SEO guides into a Google Knol, the Knol now ranks higher in Google’s SERPS than the original guide elsewhere. Quite what the Internet marketing community should make of all this at this early stage is unclear, but it is certainly something that we’ll be watching closely over the coming months.

Google state that the purpose of Knol and the Knols (a unit of information) it contains are to generate content by providing a place for ‘authors’ to publish their knowledge. Unlike other online content tools, Knols can be published and remain ‘owned’ by the author. The author in turn can allow the level of editing that others can make to their Knol.

This way, Google believes that Knols will provide authority to every article and subject site.

Is Wikipedia left with Knol-where to go?

174px Wikipedia word Knol velty? Google Knol: Knols have goals...Others however, especially Wikipedia supporters, believe that the whole Knol exercise is a cynical move by Google to compete with its online user content generated encyclopedia.

Google again deny that this is the case, and have stated that Google Knol will compliment Wikipedia, which it recognises as a good resource. With Wikipedia having received some bad press in recent months due to the sometimes spurious accuracy of its content, the last thing the giant online encyclopedia needs is an aggressive competitor.

Knol-velty?

The most probable outcome however, is that Google Knol will become an accepted addition to the online community and will be used to its full advantage by businesses and aspiring professors alike, to showcase their services and knowledge. However, like everything that has user content generation as its founding principle, everyone should take special care before taking anything that’s written as gospel!

03/10/08
Loading…..”Hurry Up or Cough Up” says Google

Adding to the increasing complexity of the AdWords “Quality Score” algorithm, Google has announced that page loading times will soon become a key factor.

The intention is that sites runing advert-heavy pages will be penalised in an effort to improve the “user experience”. Google claims conversion rates are lower when page loading times are poor, as users abandon the site, a claim supported by many frustrated browsers.

Loading Please Wait

Losers

Flash Sites and Image-Heavy Websites – as Flash sites tend to require more image requests from the server than a typical html site, they may be penalised under the new calculations.

Poorly Hosted Websites – the jury is still out on whether cheaper hosting packages result in slower server responses, but inferior hardware undoubtedly takes its toll.

Winners

Text-Only Sites – we might see retailers using incredibly simple text-only landing pages (or maybe defaulting to the low-graphics accessibility pages?).

Google have not (and will not) release details of how much effect loading times will have on the quality score, for all we know it could be minimal, but Google are generally very commited to providing the best search results for their users. There are several conspiracy theories and there is no doubt that any changes will benefit Google’s profit margins but ultimately those who abide by the rules will be rewarded.