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Google Explains Chrome

Google is launching it’s own browser – called Chrome (beta is now available), and they’ve also created a web comic to explain the thinking behind it. My first thoughts are at the end of this post, but here’s what Google itself says are the ideas behind the project:

Chrome Web Comic

It makes sense for Google to make it’s own browser, they are after all primarily a web company, and even though they’ve stated the Firefox partnership will continue there will obviously be a clash somewhere down the line. Unless, of course, both projects somehow merge. After all – both are open source.

With Firefox at around 20% market share, and Explorer anywhere from 75%-80% there’s a lot of work for Chrome to catch up.

But… and it’s a big but… Google does happen to own some of the worlds most popular websites and the web’s biggest advertising channel!

What to expect in Chrome? We’ll see later. So far it seems they aim to reduce memory wastage, introduce multi-threading (so the browser won’t hang if one element stalls), and overall make the browser stronger, faster, and more secure.

This is also  designed  with the web’s more modern features in mind and perhaps see a realisation of the web-as-application-platform or even the web-as-desktop. Google’s own Maps, YouTube, Apps and Mail are obvious candidates for integration. In fact, web applications can be dragged to the desktop and run from there!

Google’s Chrome Page (and download)

BBC News Report on Chrome (includes vid)

Wired Magazine on Chrome vs Microsoft IE

PC World: 7 Reasons For and 7 Against Chrome 

First Thoughts

Ok, I’m now using Chrome. In fact, I’m editing this post from within it. 

It’s certainly seems fast. And the interface is very clean. Helpfuly, everything was imported from Firefox on installation so all bookmarks etc are there, and even usernames/passwords are imported. Shortcuts remain similar, so Ctrl+T opens a new tab, etc. In short, you can feel right at home.

The address bar doubles as a search bar, with suggestions as you type. But it also does much more, including showing sites you’ve visited before, and even generating special searches on the fly. For example, you visit IMDB and search for something. Now, whenever you want to run an IMDB search, just type IMDB in the address bar and press tab. You can enter a new search term for that particular site. Because of the autocomplete entries showing other sites you’ve used you can even do away with bookmarking temporary pages. Just re-search for it and your previous sites show up.

A new empty tab defaults to showing screenshots of your most-visited pages and recent bookmarks, and those tabs themselves can be dragged to make new windows. You can even create a desktop application from a web application, so for example go to Google Mail and select “Create Application Shortcut” from the page menu.

Downloads appear in a footer bar, with a simple progress bar and can be launched from there. You don’t need complicated download managers to handle them.

There are many more neat features, to see some  please click here (includes videos).

I haven’t checked for compatibility but on this cursory examination it seems at least up there with Firefox. I’ve tried Gmail and Youtube, and Microsoft Live. They seem fine. I even tried NewGrounds, a flash portal, and that seems to run everything well so even Flash is included by default.

Now – if I could only get all those Firefox Plugins I love. That will come with time, but for now I’m impressed.

And did I say it’s fast?

Rating: 8.5/10 (only because of the plugins, but this is a beta. Still faster and cleaner than most.)

Verdict: Google is on to another winner and continues it’s takeover of the Web. But do you really want everything handled by one company? Do we need another Microsoft?