Google Chrome: the Google Browser

Google Chrome Logo

Google Chrome Logo

Google announced today that they will release their own browser tomorrow, code named Google Chrome. Beta version will be launched tomorrow morning only, initially available only for Windows.

[update].  Google Chrome beta is now live and can be downloaded here.

Google Chrome is open source and based on WebKit, which is the same engine used by Safari and Adobe AIR. This is really good news because just the thought of yet another browser with different JavaScript and CSS engines to test every site and web app is really unpleasant.

Why did Google re-invent the wheel?

Their story is that they want a better browser, and coming from Google, I have no doubt that it could be. Google Chrome features:

  • Open Source, based on WebKit, and includes Google Gears. For those of you not familiar with Gears, it’s a project that allows extending web apps and letting them interact naturally with the desktop, store data locally, and run JavaScript in the background to improve performance.
  • V8: JavaScript Virtual Machine. The browser includes an open source project JavaScript Virtual Machine called V8. I don’t know much about the project now, but by judging that Flash did with their VM, it can only be good.
  • The tabs will be on top of the address bar, not below. They will also be fully sandboxed, which means that all processed and memory will be managed separately for each tab. This immediately sounds as overhead or memory hog, but it totally makes sense. I usually have at least 50 open tabs and I have when I have to restart the entire browser because one of them crashed.
  • Address bar auto-complete: Google added auto-completion logic to the address bar and called it omnibox.
  • Homepage: a special homepage will feature a set of thumbnails, easy links, and searches that feature your most visited sites, recent bookmarks, and recently closed tabs.
  • New privacy mode: Google Chrome will allow setting a tab as anonymous or incognito, guarantying that nothing will get logged into the computer. Not to be confused with anonymous browsing using public anonymous proxy servers.

Why did Google re-invent the wheel: Another side of the coin?

We all know that Google supports the Mozilla foundation, so why would they launch their own browser? Well, why did they launch maps, analytics, gmail, it’s all about data. Google controls so much information, it’s scary.

Google is just the smartest company out there and follows a simple rule: information is money. Everyone knows that they make all their money is ads, and have like a thousand other services that do not make money; but the truth is that some of those services provide them insides to consumer information that allows them to better target their ads, and advertisers pay premium for better targeting. I blogged the other day about behavioral targeted advertising, and could it get any better than knowing your every move, link, click, time spent on a site, seconds you watch any video? Google already knows every search click, email, video you see, through analytics they know up and downstream clicks to most sites, and now they will truly have all the insides. Granted that your identity should still be private, but your actions and behavior is not.

Need to see it now? Check out all these screenshots.

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