google chrome.jpg

Google kicked off Labor Day yesterday with a huge announcement. They gave everyone a heads up that sometime today the Google Chrome web browser would be launched for the first time. Needless to say there’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the pending release, but will it be able to live up to the hype?

The browser will include Google Gears and will be based on Webkit, which is the same rendering engine that powers the Safari web browser. That’s basically saying that if a website doesn’t work right in Safari there’s a good chance that it won’t work in Google Chrome either.

One of the most acclaimed features for Google Chrome is that it treats each individual tab as its own process on your computer. That way you’ll be able to see which tabs are eating up your memory, and when one of them crashes it won’t bring the entire browser down with it. That is definitely a welcomed feature.

Google’s browser has also taken a few cues from Opera. The more obvious example of this would be the “new tab” page that displays nine of your most visited sites (see screenshot above). It’s pretty clear that they took the idea of Opera’s Speed Dial, and then put their own little twist on it by displaying the user’s most visited sites instead of user-defined entries. They’ve also decided to place the tabs above the address bar, which is something very few browsers do besides Opera.

The question that’s burning in everyone’s mind is whether Google Chrome will be the browser that takes the world by storm. Personally, I don’t think so. I believe existing Firefox users will give it a shot, but probably won’t like not being able to customize it through the use of extensions. After all, Opera’s always criticized for not being extensible despite the fact that it ships with a robust amount of customization options. Google will probably have to target Internet Explorer users, and they’ll likely do that using a massive Adsense advertising campaign.

Google Chrome will be released for only Windows at first, but Google says Mac and Linux versions are on the way. Just hold on a little longer… today’s the day we get to see how Google envisions a browser.

Google Chrome Announcment
Screenshot Source
Thanks to everyone who sent in the tip!

There Are 31 Comments

  1. I suspect this is more aimed at browsers like Firefox and Opera and their add blocking capabilities. I suspect Google would be quite happy to make sure adds are not blockable. So I think that your statement saying it’s aimed at Internet Explorer users is right on. Very interesting; thanks.

  2. I’m going to download the hell out of this browser, but I’ll still (most likely) continue to use Firefox. You mentioned that “One of the most acclaimed features for Google Chrome is that it treats each individual tab as its own process on your computer.” Does that mean each tab shows up as a separate process in Task Manager? And if so, does that mean that if I want to just kill Google Chrome processes, I’ll have to do it 1 by 1? I’m looking forward to this release though.

  3. It means you won’t have to close the process, since each tab is an app in and of its own, the browser window itself should never EVER freeze, always allowing control via file edit etc.

    i didnt know until now its not extensible, but since it’s open source, i hope someone takes it, and forks it off like kubuntu or xubuntu, updating when the main does, but adding its own features, such as extensions.

    if this supported firefox extensions, i can say without a doubt i’d switch, since the tab process idea appeals to me greatly, since my firefox crashes all the time.

  4. Max wrote:
    Does that mean each tab shows up as a separate process in Task Manager? And if so, does that mean that if I want to just kill Google Chrome processes, I’ll have to do it 1 by 1? I’m looking forward to this release though.

    According to the screenshots, the browser comes with a built-in task manager, separate from Windows’ task manager. You won’t have to kill the process one by one, but you can kill a tab without killing the browser. You can also see how much RAM and CPU each tab uses, something I’ve been wanting to see in Firefox for ages! Really nice.

    Take a look at the cartoon here, it explains it really well (with some humor added to the mix): [google.com]

    Ryan, I’ve understood the browser is a combination of the Firefox source code and Webkit, where did you read it was just Webkit? (from the blog: “We’ve used components from Apple’s WebKit and Mozilla’s Firefox, among others — and in that spirit, we are making all of our code open source as well.”)

  5. @Change, Nick: Thanks for the explanations.

    By the way, the download is now live.

  6. I downloaded just now and writing from it.
    [google.com]

  7. installation did not go well for me. every time I try to launch it, and Application Error dialog pops up… “The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000005). Click on OK to terminate the application.”

  8. I downloaded and installed Chrome with no problems. Only I didn’t liked what I saw. The application is unattractive and confusing. I’m still having problems locating the “Home” icon.

    I have to admit it’s very fast. I perceive Chrome to be faster than Firefox and Flock. No scientific measurements were made, only raw vision.

    I’m very content with Flock and Firefox for the time being. In the future…..who knows? ;)

  9. Omar Upegui wrote:
    I’m still having problems locating the “Home” icon.

    You have to enable it in the settings.

  10. Max wrote:
    Omar Upegui wrote:
    I’m still having problems locating the “Home” icon.

    You have to enable it in the settings.

    After looking under the rocks, I finally found it. I expected the Home icon to be visible by default like in traditional browsers. I feel a lot better now. Thanks a lot Max.

  11. I really love how fast it is, but I’m missing some extensions I’m using in Firefox :( (most important is RoboForm, but also Grab-and-Drag, Drag-de-Go and UndoCloseTab) It’s using a lot less RAM than my Firefox install as well. I think I’m mainly gonna use it for quickly opening sites for now, with Firefox for more extended browsing sessions.

  12. Well, so far this is interesting. It does seem to render some pages faster and handle YouTube videos well. Seemed to trip up a bit when loading my Yahoo! Home page though.

    Okay so it uses a separate process for each tab then explain to me why I have 3 tabs and 5 PROCESSES for Chrome? Further there is no way to tell which process is associated which each tab (other than killing the process).

    Why the heck do they ‘hide’ the home button by default? But then again come to think of it, I never use the home button in Firefox because I always have my home page opened in a tab. But still by default it should be active.

    Bottom line, yes it is faster, but I do miss the additional functionality I’ve have with Firefox. Good browser for those who aren’t such heavy users of the Internet and better choice over Internet Exploiter.

  13. so i download chrome….i install chrome…i let it do it’s import from firefox thing…i click on ‘show more history’ and for the first time (and i’ve been on vista ultimate since beta 1) vista ultimate crashed to the BSOD i’d never ever seen in vista. i let the comp reboot, i fire up ff and post this. don’t know if i’ll fire up chrome again. probably will, i’m a masochist. but right now i have things to do and i don’t want to go through a reboot again.

    not impressed.

  14. I hate to ruin everyone’s excitement, but the comic was a lot of misleading explanations verging on straight out propaganda.

    Also, the process-per-tab is an old feature that has been in IE8 since the beginning ([blogs.msdn.com])

    Finally, the Google TOS scares me, especially since it is an open source browser (although they don’t show me how to download the source). Here’s a few quotes:
    “5.1 In order to access certain Services, you may be required to provide information about yourself (such as identification or contact details) as part of the registration process for the Service, or as part of your continued use of the Services…”

    “8.3 Google reserves the right (but shall have no obligation) to pre-screen, review, flag, filter, modify, refuse or remove any or all Content from any Service…”

    “9.1 You acknowledge and agree that Google (or Google’s licensors) own all legal right, title and interest in and to the Services, including any intellectual property rights which subsist in the Services (whether those rights happen to be registered or not, and wherever in the world those rights may exist). You further acknowledge that the Services may contain information which is designated confidential by Google and that you shall not disclose such information without Google’s prior written consent.”

    “9.2 Unless you have agreed otherwise in writing with Google, nothing in the Terms gives you a right to use any of Google’s trade names, trade marks, service marks, logos, domain names, and other distinctive brand features.”

  15. I agree 100% – how did Google launch Chrome without an extensions facility? It not only lacks extensibility and customization but is light on features as well.

    Google launched a browser which seems designed to garner respect from computer scientists, not appeal to consumers.

    I love its performance, but where’s the fun stuff?

  16. @El Guru

    In my version of Chrome it tells me exactly which tab is associated with each process. Perhaps you are opening the Windows process explorer? You know that Chrome has a process explorer built-in, different than the windows process explorer, right? 8O

  17. @Omar Upegui

    Ok, this is 2008, please tell me you’re still using a home button ???

  18. Cody wrote:
    @Omar Upegui

    Ok, this is 2008, please tell me you’re still using a home button ???

    Yep Cody. I’m still using the classic “Home Button”. Feel naked without it. 8)

  19. Very much a cross between Firefox and Opera – and not even a hint of IE! Which has to be a good thing. I’ve found a couple of minor bugs, but it is only 0.2 after all. I’m wondering if they ever plan to allow extensions, ad blockers would not be in their interest…

  20. Google is not focused on making Chrome the number one browser. They are more interested in developing and distributing the technologies that they need to support their other products without having to depend on Firefox or be subject to the (potentially hostile) whims of Microsoft. Chrome is perfect for that role.

  21. Change wrote:
    Ryan, I’ve understood the browser is a combination of the Firefox source code and Webkit, where did you read it was just Webkit? (from the blog: “We’ve used components from Apple’s WebKit and Mozilla’s Firefox, among others — and in that spirit, we are making all of our code open source as well.”)

    Yes, it is based on Firefox as well. My mention of Webkit above was focused on the rendering engine. The browser itself does use Firefox for some of the ground work as well.

    El Guru wrote:
    Bottom line, yes it is faster, but I do miss the additional functionality I’ve have with Firefox. Good browser for those who aren’t such heavy users of the Internet and better choice over Internet Exploiter.

    My sentiments exactly. It is faster, but I miss the features added by some of the extensions I use.

    natmaster wrote:
    Finally, the Google TOS scares me, especially since it is an open source browser (although they don’t show me how to download the source).

    Yes, the TOS has some rather frightening statements that would lead you to believe that they don’t care about your privacy.

    Toby In NY wrote:
    Google is not focused on making Chrome the number one browser.

    I disagree actually. If their goal wasn’t to dominate the browser arena I don’t think they would have created one in the first place. Everything Google does they try to become number 1, and while they may not always get the results they are looking for they definitely try to take the top spot.

  22. natmaster wrote:
    Also, the process-per-tab is an old feature that has been in IE8 since the beginning ([blogs.msdn.com])

    IE8 doesn’t put every tab and plugin in its own process, it uses 3-4 processes max afaik. They went for the middle ground: a bit more ram usages but not too much for a bit more stability. Several tabs can be within one process (usually the ones opened from the one parent tab). Plugins never open in a separate process, and they don’t have an internal task manager. The idea is definitely very similar though!

    I’ve heard Google is adjusting the EULA. It sounds like they mostly copied the EULA for their web services, of which a lot of things don’t (or shouldn’t) apply to the browser of course :)

  23. At first I was thinking “no big deal.” Then I saw how it takes a bold, menubar-less approach, much like I customized my Fx w/ addons to be like. Combining into 1 box for search and URL makes sense as well. The two seems redundant. I think for that reason I’ll try it out.

    There’s the compatibility fear (Fx more accepted than safari), but it seems like most sites (Y!Mail) are supporting Safari too. My next fear is it preventing other search engines (Yahoo!). We’ll see.

  24. Hey, just thought of something…

    Didn’t Google just recently get around to giving Gears Safari compatibility? Perhaps Chrome was part of the reason for getting that released.

  25. netster007x wrote:
    Didn’t Google just recently get around to giving Gears Safari compatibility? Perhaps Chrome was part of the reason for getting that released.

    I’m sure that played a big role in Google releasing Gears for Safari.

  26. REALLLLLy needs to support roboform if i’m going to use it.

  27. d wrote:
    REALLLLLy needs to support roboform if i’m going to use it.

    RF Support told me that they won’t be able to support Chrome because they chose for Safari. Safari is not extendable according to them :( I think they should rewrite RF so that you can connect the RF floating toolbar to any application (so also incl. Opera for instance). It should be possible..?

  28. Change wrote:
    d wrote:
    REALLLLLy needs to support roboform if i’m going to use it.

    RF Support told me that they won’t be able to support Chrome because they chose for Safari. Safari is not extendable according to them :( I think they should rewrite RF so that you can connect the RF floating toolbar to any application (so also incl. Opera for instance). It should be possible..?

    I would think that they could make some sort of JavaScript-based version of Roboform. That way it’d work in most browsers.

    Plus I’d have to imagine that it would be possible with Safari since 1Password on the Mac side of things is almost the same as Roboform.

  29. 3 cheers for Google chrome

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