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Google Launches Its Own Open Source Web Browser

Gordon Kelly


Google Launches Its Own Web Browser

Whether it's Opera, Firefox, Safari, or even – and I'm feeling unclean as I say this – Internet Explorer, we all have our favourite web browsers but could our choices soon be about to change...

Search king Google has announced it is at long last getting into the web browser game and from nowhere will be launching its first ever web browser today. Dubbed 'Chrome' it sticks true to the company's beliefs being an open source offering which Google describes as using components from Apple's WebKit and Mozilla's Firefox. It will also vitally integrate the brilliant Google Gears for offline working and a brand new JavaScript engine, 'V8', which it claims will "power the next generation of web applications that aren't even possible in today's browsers".

Interestingly, Google says – just like its standard Google homepage – Chrome will be very streamlined and simple with a clean UI and a primary focus of being the fastest browser available. From this base users will then be encouraged to build add-ons, Firefox style, to add features and functionality in virtually limitless ways.

Another extremely clever aspect of Chrome is every tabbed window will run in a sandbox – ie (pardon the phrase) in complete isolation – meaning a crash in one window will only affect it not cause the whole browser to go down in a ball of flames. This method should also provide greater protection from rogue sites.

Chrome beta 1 will appear at an unspecified time today so check back here for updates with links and screenshots. In the meantime Google has posted a comic book 'explaining' the browser - we kid you not. Smirks aside however this could be one of the biggest developments in the browser market for a number of years and I'm guessing will even make it onto Android handsets before too long.

We're psyched...

Update: Here's the official and quite optimistic take of Opera on Chrome:

"Regarding Google's entry into the browser market, we believe in offering free choice of browsers and we welcome competition because it helps drive the Web forward and offers more robust choices for consumers.

Google has a new responsibility to make sure all browsers are supported by all their Web services. This will help protect free competition.

Google remains a strong partner to Opera. Opera Mini, Opera Mobile and our desktop browser all include Google as the default search. We are also working with them to bring Gears into our desktop and mobile products.

'As a matter of fact, we see that Google Chrome borrows many ideas from Opera such as Speed Dial, the placement of tabs and our Quick Find feature in the address bar. We will continue to innovate the same as we always have by keeping a relentless focus on the user and giving them the tools to make browsing safer, faster, more productive and more personal.'"

As you would expect Opera doesn't credit the genuinely new features in Chrome such as the sandboxed tabs but it just suggest civility will remain for the time being.

Update: The comic is actually amusing and informative (whodda thunk it?) so check it out.

Update 2: Get it while it's hot!


Official Google Blog Announcement

The 'Comic Book'

Paul Nicolson

September 2, 2008, 7:48 am

Perhaps another way to **** Microsoft off, as Online applications will be the future.


September 2, 2008, 9:29 am

couldn't care less for online apps, i'm still pretty much old skool in that respect: but i like the "sandbox" thing, oh so many times firefox crashes, taking about 50 opened tabs with it, too. it does have a restore functionality, though...

Bob Zub

September 2, 2008, 11:47 am

I'm sure there's good arguments for extending functionality to fit the latest killer web apps. As a case in point, most people will agree online geographical mapping was truly shocking until Google Maps arrived, and that exploited existed technologies like Javascript. With improved functionality we can hope apps are even more impressive, faster and reduced CPU load! I'm just not so sure Google could resist advertising tie-ups or other branding if they developed a consumer base - with a browser suite Google have some control over your user experience on any site.

Most importantly though: why does the logo look like a Pok&#233 Ball??

TV 1

September 2, 2008, 12:36 pm

we are still waiting for a browser that can kill/close a tab or window instantly while it hangs 'forever' waiting for response from the 'other side'


September 2, 2008, 12:39 pm

If you ask me, looks like Big Brother just got bigger!


September 2, 2008, 12:54 pm

Agree completely. I'm not interested in online apps or 'cloud' computing - I want it on my PC. Looks like some interesting features though, timed to doubtless annoy Microsoft as their IE8 beta 2 goes more publically available (going to preview that one too TR?)

The Pope

September 2, 2008, 1:00 pm

I don't really like the name but I like the sound of the technology underneath. Sadly, rather than cannibalise Microsoft's market share for IE (which is likely to remain pretty solid in certain sectors) I can see a bunch of early adopter-types moving away from Firefox 3 to Chrome. Assuming it's any good (and that people can live without their plugins!)


September 2, 2008, 1:20 pm

google are gonna be watching you...


September 2, 2008, 2:10 pm

The logo looks like that old Simon Says game from the 80s :)


September 2, 2008, 2:15 pm

Well, I think a lot of you didn't really take a good look at the information available. First of all it's open source, so anyone can take it and make their own version of it and if there's any dodgy stuff, then it can be stripped out.

Secondly, you can kill tabs that crashes, it just won't be done automatically.

They've got a new JavaScript engine which is supposedly done from scratch which is meant to improve the performance of JavaScript based stuff by quite a noticeable margin and it's also meant to use less memory and it can be used with other browser if I read it right.

With regards to plugins, why wouldn't Google have had all the plugin makers do plugins for Chrome? If it can be done for Opera, why not for Chrome?

To me this sounds like really good news, as the stability of most browsers out there sucks, so I can't wait to get my hands on this and have a play.


September 2, 2008, 2:21 pm

Completely agree with The_Pope - I hope there's some way that they start to nag IE users through the Google toolbar to switch. Anything but IE, that's my attitiude!


September 2, 2008, 4:11 pm

Great news.. It's built using the best parts of the best open source browsers. Even if it's a complete failure, all the new and good technology in it can be cannibalised into Firefox. It probably will anyway.

Interesting what the firefox groups think of this though, they have a brand new super fast javascript engine for 3.1 so there's going to be a boat load of competition between these two.


September 2, 2008, 5:12 pm

Bring on the update, I want to try Chrome. Prob built to tie in with Android which sounds good, no doubt I will be getting a phone with that on it at some point as well.

Also I agree looks like a pokeball, or possibly the guyver unit.


September 2, 2008, 6:31 pm

The logo also looks like a more colourful version of one of GLaDOS' modules.

When I saw the announcement I thought this might finally be a browser with all the great features of the other browsers in the box to start with. Instead it seems to be a firefox clone.

I'll give it a try, but for me functionality matters more than the occasional crash.


September 2, 2008, 7:04 pm

Welcome to the Aperture Science Web Experience Enrichment Program. Your XML has been processed and we are now ready to begin the Internet proper.

I don't see why they moved the tabs above the addre... sorry, omnibar - I change tabs more often than I type new URLs.


September 2, 2008, 8:55 pm

With Google's quite frankly scary ability to get most things right I think Chrome will probably be a big hit.

gary gatter

September 3, 2008, 12:12 am

Have downloaded it from http://www.google.com/chrom...

gary gatter

September 3, 2008, 12:51 am

Chrome seems v fast, I like the most visited and quick bookmarks bar, I use the Opera browser at the moment because of its synchronisation so will keep trying chrome but don't think I would use it as my main browser untill it too had syncrhronisation.

gary gatter

September 3, 2008, 1:17 am

OMG have just looked at the option 'inspect element' on right mouse click menu!!!! It is fantastic. Have viewed my own site and examined the layout, 'inspect element' like feature will I am sure be included in all web wysiwyg development tools. Print seems to just print, nothing special there (yet).


September 3, 2008, 1:27 am

I love the 'stats for nerds' bit. This is the most excited I have got about a piece of software that wasn't a video game!

Opera is my main browser at the moment and Chrome does seem noticeably quicker but no less of a resource hog when it comes to flash. Still for a first release v impressive.


September 3, 2008, 1:31 am

anyone think that a mobile version of this will make it into android?


September 3, 2008, 3:53 am

the logo looks like the balls used to catch pokemons


September 3, 2008, 3:56 am

seems a bit faster at loading pages etc than firefox...definitely much better than IE!!


September 3, 2008, 4:10 pm

Having used it for most of the morning, my initial reaction is: meh.

Firefox may have a few issues, but it has a LOT more functionality currently.


September 3, 2008, 5:34 pm

My first reactions are it IS fast, particularly around Java/Ajax (the TR back-end whizzes around!) but the lack of drop down RSS feeds from its equivalent of a Bookmarks Toolbar folder is a biggie for me and yes, many of the Firefox third party apps I simply can't live without so I'll have to pass for now.

Very nice for a first beta though...

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