Google Shines Up Chrome Web Browser

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As America returns to work after the Labor Day holiday weekend, crusty eyes are abuzz about Google Chrome, the company’s own surprise open source Web browser in beta. Bloggers on the scene—European ones and those who apparently don’t take holidays—let the Chrome cat out of the bag a day early.

On the Google Blog, Sundar Pichai and Linus Upson acknowledge they pressed the “send” button a day early, tipping off Philipp Lenssen in Germany, who set the fuse on the worldwide blog bomb. At the same time, Google coined a new PR move: announcements in e-comic book form.

Microsoft’s dead

You can check that out for in-depth descriptions, explanations, and philosophy behind Google’s new browser—but fair warning it will take a while. Bloggers immediately labeled it an assault on Microsoft, both on the browser level and, in an interesting stretch, the OS level. They wonder, too, about how this will affect Google’s relationship with Mozilla.

It’ll launch at some point today at Google.com/chrome.

First the specs:


  • Like Android, Google Chrome is based on, built from the ground up with, open source application framework WebKit; it is intended to be next-generation built for handling Web applications rather than Web pages. It includes Google Gears built-in.
  • To that end, Google built its own JavaScript engine, V8, to power web applications with multi-threaded efficiency.
  • Browser tabs get their own process rather than tabs sharing processes to solve the ever-dreaded freeze-and-crash problem by freeing up memory and reducing memory fragmentation.
  • Each tab has its own URL box, effectively making each tab a browser window
  • No about:blank pages. Chrome defaults to a page featuring the four most used search engines and the user’s nine most visited Web pages.
  • Similar to IE 8, Chrome has an “Incognito” mode to erase browser history when the browser is closed—something Firefox 3 didn’t include.
  • Chrome can be “streamlined” so that the toolbar and URL box are hidden and only the webpage is shown on the screen.
  • Chrome features browser extensions allowing it to make hybrid apps similar to Adobe AIR
  • An Opera-like dashboard start page and auto-completion.
  • It’s pretty strong on the security front. Chrome sandboxes Webpages, preventing drive-by downloads and installations. It continuously makes contact with Google to update a list of known malware sites in order to warn the user.

No word yet on how much the browser actually communicates with Google. Given Google’s history of watching everything its product users do, it wouldn’t be surprising if Google would gather browsing information to use for its search and ad-serving algorithms.

The browser will launch in more than 100 countries today. The company says the launch will add value for the user while driving innovation on the Web. Available only for Windows for now, Google plans to release versions for Mac and Linux as well.

Bloggers jumped on the announcement like a boxer pup on a meatloaf. The obvious angle was the ongoing war between our favorite pair of corporate juggernauts. The launch certainly takes aim at Internet Explorer, which has lost market share since the advent of Firefox and holding at 75 percent.

Not everyone’s convinced yet it will be an IE-killer—though kind of premature to judge that far since it’s not even live yet—as the world appears relatively content with what they have. Blogger Hank Williams, opining from the pessimism-guaranteed WhyDoesEverytingSuck? blog, reminds readers 25 percent haven’t yet abandoned even 2001’s IE 6.
“The bottom line is Microsoft has been fighting the browser wars with spitballs and plastic knives and they are still beating Firefox handily,” writes Williams. “So Chrome, from a business perspective, for the forseeable [sic] future, is totally irrelevant.”

Other bloggers, to understate it, disagree, and peg this expected launch as a precursor to the fabled Google OS. “But what this really tells us is that Google is dead serious about the distribution business, for one, and dead serious about the operating system business, for another,” writes John Battelle. “Reading through the book, I am struck by how similar the language is to traditional operating system overviews. Multithreading, stable development platforms, etc. etc.”

Putting the hype in hyperbole, Michael Arrington is singing the Windows dirge song. That nifty new imported from Denmark JavaScript engine, he contends will make Ajax applications like Gmail and Google Docs “absolutely roar.” Combined with Google Gears, “Chrome is nothing less than a full on desktop operating system that will compete head on with Windows.” The crystal ball shows Arrington millions of Web and desktop devices to strip out the Windows layer altogether, making the browser itself the operating system.

Nicholas Carr concurs
by reminiscing about Apple’s addition of MultiFinder to Mac in 1988. Chrome is part of the coming shift to cloud computing. “[I]n this case I think Google is motivated by something much larger than its congenital hatred of Microsoft. It knows that its future, both as a business and as an idea (and Google’s always been both), hinges on the continued rapid expansion of the usefulness of the Internet, which in turn hinges on the continued rapid expansion of the capabilities of web apps, which in turn hinges on rapid improvements in the workings of web browsers.”

It will certainly be interesting to see if Microsoft is able to respond. Google has repeatedly dodged the idea of an operating system. Denials mean little at this point. Google CEO Eric Schmidt, as noted by Garett Rogers, denied plans for a Google browser back in 2006. Rogers expects that elusive G Drive online storage service any day now.

What It Means For Webmasters and SEO

Some have viewed Chrome as an answer to assuaging fears that Microsoft’s new MISE 8 browser has the capability of blocking the text ads Google relies on for revenues. It’s not that possible battle that has SEO experts buzzing; they took notice pretty quickly of a particular panel in the Chrome comic book regarding the OmniBox feature.

In it, the characters discuss how Chrome will test functionalities against webpages. The browser was built for apps, not pages, and with the billions or trillions of pages out there, not all can be tested directly. Google will test the top million or so instead. Google says OmniBox will bookmark sites for the user and remember them, but will also suggest searches and top pages the user hasn’t visited but are deemed popular. “If you found a good site for digital cameras yesterday,” reads the comic, “you don’t have to bookmark that page. Just type ‘digital camera’ and quickly get back to it.”

Or click on one of the popular destination suggestions in the drop-down menu. “If your site ranks for your keywords, Chrome will suggest it – IN the browser itself. No need to be using Google suggest [sic],” writes Christopher Penn.


Google Shines Up Chrome Web Browser
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  • http://www.veteranmeso.com/veterans_and_asbestos_exposure.html Veteran Asbestos Exposure

    Sounds really interesting and somewhat promising. I look forward to seeing just how much the "popular destination suggestions" play into return user traffic and seo.

    Mesothelioma in Navy Veterans

  • http://www.e-commercewebdesign.co.uk Adam – E-commerce Web Design

    I can’t wait to see what this looks like – I bet Mozilla are a bit annoyed as Google were pretty much right behind their Firefox cause… until now.

  • http://www.mundomatto.be FlipT

     I seem to be the first responder who actually tried the thing. I can tell you one thing for sure: i t    i s    f a a a a s t ! ! ! ! 

  • http://www.idahowebsitedesign.com/idahowebdesign-experience.html Idaho Falls Web Page Design

    Firefox should take offense to this as I’m sure a lot of the new chrome will be similar since G has been raving about it the past few years.

    IE, screw them, who cares what they think. They’re browser used percentage in our logs is getting worse every year.

    For the G, the article seems right on track where G will be rolling out the G drive and other tools; when put together they’ll all equal a new operating system by darth G.

    Looking forward to the release though.

  • http://www.spreadgooglechrome.com toma

    I am a mac user, i need more time to test it out, help spread google chrome

  • http://www.tallpoppieswebdesign.com Poppy

    Kind of overshadows IE8, and I like the sound of the V8 Javascript engine. Unfortunately many people just stick with IE as it is on their computer and a browser is a browser is a browser…and Corporate companies don’t like open source on their systems – so it will be interesting to see what impact Google Chrome has! I’m impressed (so far).

  • http://www.electricshowersdirect.com Guest

    The first thing I noticed is how quick it is, the second was the unfortunate fact that only one username/password combination can be saved for any one site, unlike IE and Firefox.

  • http://countryjoescollectibles.com country joe

     Downloaded it about an hour or so ago. Like it so far, just need to figure out a few things, Pretty fast and doesn’t seem to use a lot of memory.

    Country Joe


  • http://www.logodesignnext.com/blog/ logo design blog

    I am testing it as i write this message.

    Chrome’s javascript rendering is definitely superior than firefox’s. Also seems to have a much smaller memory footprint. However, I am not too sure about Google’s claim of faster html rendering than any of its competitors as I find Safari to easily be the quickest in that regards.

    My biggest gripe with chrome is the googleupdate.exe service sitting in my memory and i havent found any option to turn it off from inside the browser.

    Overall a solid intial entry. Browsers with lesser number users like opera and safari should definintely feel threatened by it.

  • http://www.photoforum.com.au Guest

    Very quick leaves explorer for dead

  • Hemant

     I like the speed and security features.

    But I also like to have a small but useful toolbar along.

    Another thing that irks old people like me islack of  DROP DOWN menu in address bar.

    Let me use this for a couple of days and I will get to know CHROME better.

    Still, I am kinda partial to AVANT.



  • http://donscycleware.com Don

    I’ll wait till it’s off Beta before I send much time with it.

    Precursor to the fabled Google OS? I hope so! Competition is a good thing!


  • http://www.jonathanboettcher.com Jonathan

    At first when I heard about this I was a bit sceptical, thinking… okay, Mozilla is better than IE, but how much better could Chrome be?

    My browser bar was fairly low. Still, after reading that e-comic, I’m impressed and installing as I type…

  • Guest

    It’s fast but needs a bit of tweaking. Would like a "Home Page" button and easier access to stored passwords. I like the options offered when opening a new page.

    It has a very lean look about it but seems to do most things quickly. was surprised at how few "options" were available compared to IE. Over all it seems like a strong contender but will have to use it a bit before reaching conclusions.

  • chris

    Not too impressed. We have 11 sites worldwide. All the same just different languages. Only the UK site appears properly. They are built exactly the same. The italian site’s top banner is cuts off half way through. On the Singapore site the product image banner is cut off 2/3 finished. On the US site the CSS for the product navigation doesn’t seem to be working and the text size is too big… but… the UK site is perfect? The US, UK and Singapore sites are all in english and are exactly the same. The only difference is the domain and server.

  • http://JPiCForum.info Jacquii Cooke

    Meh…  At 1st glance – looks a bit different than other browsers – but doesn’t seem like much of anything so special.  Granted I’ve yet to really test – but thus far – I have to say unimpressive.  As far as the "browser war" though – I think Opera is much better than both IE and FF!  It’s my browser of choice and has been for years.  It’s feature-rich without having to install tons of add-ons and extensions.  It doesn’t use so many system resources, etc…  Of course anything is better than IE though – IE is like a crippled dinosaur with excellent healthcare insurance to keep it alive LOL


  • http://www.freetutes.com Freetutes

    It does sound great. Sometime ago Google introduced Google OS and now a new web browser. May be a good movement. Have to wait and see.

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  • SSD

    After using it last night, I am most impressed by Chrome.

    I am looking forward to the final release. I do hope they put up a few buttons on the top of the browser though.

  • Mario

    Chrome aims IE, that’s fine. Everything is better than IE. I’m Firefox user  and the issue I see is that Chrome will probably not defeat IE, which still is very strong (even IE6). Microsoft holds huge market share and has tools to still do that in the future. Unfortunately for the market, Chrome may instead kick a non-Microsoft browsers, like FF and Opera… This might be a nightmare – fight in non-MS camp.

  • http://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/ Herbal Guy

    Oh my good I have been saying that google is taking over the world and now I am think that is actually starting to happen.

  • http://www.simplyclicks.com Simply Clicks

    I tried chrome this morning. I customised it with the addition of a home page button. However, it just didn’t feel as good as Firefox. So this afternoon I’ve reverted to the tried and trusted.

  • http://www.mobilemini.com portable storage

    I tested the new Google Chrome side-by-side with Opera, Firefox and the new IE 8 beta 2. Chrome isn’t faster and the location of the tabs bother me. Other than that Chrome is still a baby.

    The webmaster stuff was still JR. too. Basic Javascript debugging, but nothing more. If the way the tabs perform is Google chromes strong point I doubt this browser will gain ground.

  • http://www.saibharadwaj.com Sai Bharadwaj

    Whenever Google launches some product, it hurts the competitor. But, in this case…Google surely became a scape goat for their mini effort on browser. Chrome basically needs a lot of tweaks to make it user friendly…though its sleek, it is actually taking up lot of resources just like Firefox. IE on other side takes minimum amount of resources.


    I have tested out both the IE Beta 2 & Chrome. And I have to say IE Beta is more ‘Professional’ & lot more thought put in to make it. It is more User friendly & might surely make users quit firefox & opt for IE 8 in the coming days.


    Speaking about Google’s Chrome. This product won’t hurt the competitor instead it will make the competitor laugh at the product for such a basic product.


    Am unimpressed. People might still give a thumsup to this browser but, from my side…I rather stick to Firefox or stick to IE8. Am not very sure if there are going to be any major changes for this Chrome.




  • http://www.suround.com jhoni

    Google indeed not his two always launched the newest innovation and Google chrome was his proof. Reportedly this launching to compete with the internet explorer. Is it true that Google chrome finished many memories?

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  • http://YourBlueprintMentor.com Bob Billings Jr.

    Hey Everyone,

    What a great tool this is for me. I immediately went and downloaded Google Chrome yesterday and started testing it out with my autosurf traffic exchanges. Wow, Google Chrome is perfect for surfing my TE’s. Very few errors and fast. Thanks Google! This really helps out alot when it comes to getting traffic to my website. This, in turn, increases the amount of premium email leads I receive in my home based business.


    Bob Billings Jr.


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  • Guest

     Go Google go.I have tried it and it rocks!In my opinion, google has a way with the third world.The tool about converting any internet page into  an application on the desktop will surely be useful on phones.With just a single button touch ,for example, one could check any of the following email, the online newspapers etc.No need to open any browser!

    When open and free os android comes along , making cheaper touch phones, everybody will  appreciate the browser.And when that happens,  I will throw all my celphones and buy one with the following-cloud applications that work offline with google gears, the chrome browser, gmail…….this is very good work for a ten year old company that will go very far.

  • http://www.masenka.be Guest

    I downloaded Chrome the other day to check it out and I was pleasantly surprised at how fast it is!  It helps to build something from the ground up. Another funny thing. I told a friend of mine that Google has a browser now and he said: ""They already have one. Firefox!" ;-)

  • carl

    I enjoyed the comic book type of presentation. Although I didn’t understand all the technical aspects of it, it sounded to me like they’ve got a good thing going. I am definetely going to give it a try. ( I also use Open Office.org, so I know the concept behind it.) 

  • http://www.articleblip.com/article/product-reviews articleblip.com

    I agree, its super fast.  Has there been any data on the memory usage of the browser?

  • http://chrishornak.com Google Optimization

    haha I really liked that Google Chrom Comic… too bad it was so long and boring. But it’s a good thought. I’ve been noticing more and more companies using comics to explain a new product or service. Pretty cool trend.



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    after a month or so of using it i am ditching it and going back to firefox.

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    I love the Incognito mode!

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