I just read all about Google Chrome, their new open-source browser, in the comic they put out. No download link at this time, but I’m sure it’s coming. My initial thoughts:
- The free API to download lists of malware or phishing sites is pretty nice.
- UI changes. Making each tab its own browser entity and putting controls in each tab? That’s it? So what!
- Some of the search enhancements are interesting, but I don’t think that anyone will care that much in the end.
- Showing most popular pages…meh
- Unclear on the plugin model. Will they have their own? Will they run ActiveX (they imply yes). How about Firefox plugin compatibility? All we need is yet another API for writing plugins.
- A new process for each tab? Are you serious? I understand that it’s (maybe)the only way to completely isolate web pages from each other, but given how many pages some people have running, that means an extra 50 processes on the system. That’s a lot of resources. I know their idea was to consider each web page an application, and of course each desktop application is its own process, but I don’t think we actually treat most web pages like applications. We create new browser tabs and switch pages with wild abandon. Most web sites are NOT applications–they’re reference. They’re just books open to 50 pages at once. (Was process isolation really a problem that needed solving? I almost NEVER have runaway tabs in IE7)
This Means War
- First front: SilverLight. Gears seems to be a direct assault on the concept of .Net and SilverLight. The technology and scope are different now, but I think ultimately they’re going after the same target: having the rich-client experience in your browser on multiple OSes/browsers.
- Second front: Firefox: the only people who are going to download Chrome or even understand what it is are the people who use Firefox. If Chrome succeeds, it will be at Firefox’s detriment. Thanks for playing.
Overall, I felt a big “meh” after reading the comic. While many of the ideas are interesting, overall, I don’t see a compelling reason to switch. I’ll try it out when it becomes available, and my opinions will probably change on some things, but Google is going to have to do a lot more to overthrow IE. Maybe their purpose really is to just throw ideas out there and see what sticks, what gets integrated into competing products, etc. We’ll just have to see what happens next. It’s going to be a fun couple of years!
(P.S. Also, please everyone, especially media, start mocking Chrome for it’s “p%%n mode” just liked you mocked IE.)