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.