Google Launches Chrome, a New Web Browser

September 3, 2008

The world has been speculating for years that Google would eventually release its own browser, one that would, of course, be finely tuned to run Google services and other rich Web apps. Well, the day has finally come: In a surprise Labor Day announcement, Google announced Chrome, its new browser project.

The Windows PC version of Chrome is set to become available for free download sometime today, with Mac and Linux versions forthcoming in the next few weeks.

Though Google used some of the code in both Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari to build its browser, it looks like Chrome is otherwise an entirely new beast. Google’s browser uses its own JavaScript engine, called V8, which the search giant claims is dramatically faster than other engines, and provides new features and abilities that will "power the next generation of Web applications that aren’t even possible in today’s browsers." In other words, Chrome should runs significantly smoother and faster than other modern Web browsers when running multiple Web applications at once (say, a chat program on one page, Internet radio on a second page, and a photo-editing app on another)

Google also puts security and stability at the forefront in Chrome. Each tab is run as a separate process, so that if one site you’re visiting crashes, it doesn’t bring down the entire browser. Each tab is "sandboxed" (cut off from other tabs and underlying system components), which promises to keep your computer safe(er) from malware.

From the screen shots that have been circulating, we can tell that Chrome’s tab bar will be at the top of the window, as opposed to under the location bar as it is in most other browsers (including Firefox and IE). We’ve also seen a start page that has thumb-nailed links to nine of your most visited Web pages for easy access.

Google is, as usual, making Chrome open-sourced so that others can borrow and modify Chrome’s code at will. Expect to see some of its innovations working their way into the next versions of Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. And therein lies Chrome’s true purpose, not to snatch large swaths of market share from IE or Firefox, but to make sure the groundwork is laid for Google’s next generation of Web apps. [From: Official Google Blog, TUAW and Download Squad]

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