UPDATED: Google dives head-first into browser wars with Chrome

In its latest step toward complete world domination, Google plans to unleash its own web browser upon the unwashed masses. Dubbed Chrome, the new open-source browser is coming soon for Windows—and Google has releases for Mac OS and Linux in the pipeline.

Rather than put out a press release or make Chrome available for download straight away, Google has elected to drum up publicity through a 38-page web comic that goes into a surprising amount of detail about the browser’s design and features. Chrome apparently emphasizes tabbed browsing by placing tabs at the top of the window, and it makes each tab into a separate "process" in order to avoid memory leaks and improve stability.

At its core, Chrome will use render pages using the WebKit engine and handle JavaScript with a new engine called V8, which will "power the next generation of web applications that aren’t even possible in today’s browsers." Google says it has pilfered components from Mozilla Firefox, as well. Mac users should know WebKit also powers Apple’s Safari, so Chrome hopefully won’t break compatibility with existing sites (including TR).

According to the official Google blog, a Chrome beta for Windows should be out some time today. For a little preview, you can view a batch of screenshots over at TechCrunch.

Update: Google has released the Google Chrome beta for Windows Vista and Windows XP. You can grab it from this page.

Comments closed
    • sigher
    • 11 years ago

    So the idea is that google buys up companies and then makes their application only run if you install that chrome crap in the future I gather eh, that’s just great.

    • Forge
    • 11 years ago

    Day #2 update. I still get a raging manlove for Chrome. It’s still wickedly fast.

    Missing Foxmarks more. Wish Chrome had anything resembling RSS functionality.

    Would probably be my ideal browser if not for Foxmarks+RSS+Firefox’s more robust browser saving/resuming stuff that it does.

    • Hattig
    • 11 years ago

    I’ve been using it for a couple of hours or so now, and I must say that it is a very nice bit of software.

    Sure, there are a couple of areas that could be better, but it’s an early beta.

    One thing is for sure – it’s a hell of a lot better than Safari on Windows.

    • Fighterpilot
    • 11 years ago

    Sure is nice and fast…a bit spooky being so clutter free but probably won’t take long to get used to that.
    Copy and paste links from Imageshack into a forum post was a bit funky and wouldn’t work the first few times.
    I like the way the status bar just pops up down the bottom of the screen like that..very nice.

    • pedro
    • 11 years ago

    Hmmm… seems very nice for a beta.

    Running on XP x64 and guess what? No Flash support. But I reckon now Google’s in this game 64-bit Flash may finally become a reality.

      • provoko
      • 11 years ago

      Flash worked on vista 64 bit but java didn’t work (it’s not installed).

      Is anyone running with java working?

    • Hance
    • 11 years ago

    I like it more and more. Its fast and does the things I need a browser to do.

    • PerfectCr
    • 11 years ago

    No mac version 🙁

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 years ago

      It’s coming 🙂

    • Ashbringer
    • 11 years ago

    Stick a Google OS with this browser then I’ll be interested. Then I’ll just install Firefox on it and forget the browser ever existed.

    • 0g1
    • 11 years ago

    I don’t think multi-processing the tabs is a good idea because of many reasons including slower task switching, cluttering the processes, using more memory … the memory problem in multi-threading they describe is just a bad design. Their multi-processing solution is relatively easier, but it isn’t the best way of getting the results they want.

    They say that the browser launches ‘applications’ instead of ‘webpages’. I think a better phrase would be ‘sub-objects’ because Chrome is the application and it displays certain types of objects. Simply because they are ‘sub-objects’ they should not be spawned at the same level as the parent object (a process) but at a lower level (a thread).

    • DrDillyBar
    • 11 years ago

    Hey, this things pretty zippy, that’s for sure.
    After reading the whole comic, I think this may just be my new browser officially, once it leaves Beta status.
    tres cool

    • rekta
    • 11 years ago

    Seems to be working in my Vista 32bit Ultimate and my XP. So far it is nice and plain simple.

    I just hate the “Most Visited” page when you spawn it. It shows sites that shouldn’t be shown! If you know what I mean. lol

    The “incognito” feature is nice.

    Firefox is still the best though. But there is no harm in trying others.

      • 0g1
      • 11 years ago

      Lol, I was thinking that would happen and I was hoping they have some sort of user accounts thing … or maybe they just rely on Windows.

    • Maddog
    • 11 years ago

    Installs under Vista in C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application …

    No UAC intervention …

      • StashTheVampede
      • 11 years ago

      Very well behaved app.

    • Maddog
    • 11 years ago

    It would appear that Chrome does not like Symantec Endpoint … will have to wait until they are on better terms to try it out …

    • Tamale
    • 11 years ago

    Has anyone noticed how freaking fast and smooth google maps is in Chrome?

    Google’s not kidding around with this Web 2.0 stuff… with a browser like chrome web apps really do start to feel as snappy as full-blown OS apps..

    this is the beginning of something big, folks

    • Spotpuff
    • 11 years ago

    No adblock plus = lose

      • Meadows
      • 11 years ago

      I can ignore ads, can’t you?

        • Spotpuff
        • 11 years ago

        Yes, but I’d rather not.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 11 years ago

      A company that makes a VAST MAJORITY OF ITS REVENUE off ads would distribute a browser that has the default of blocking ads?

      Take the source and install your favorite ad blocker of choice.

        • Spotpuff
        • 11 years ago

        I tried to figure out where adblock plus is stored on my local machine, but am having some issues.

        Flash is the only thing I’ve gotten to work.

          • bthylafh
          • 11 years ago

          If you’re on Windows XP, extensions are normally stored in C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Firefox\

            • Spotpuff
            • 11 years ago

            Well, I found it and tried moving the folder into the chrome folder but it isn’t working (which is to be expected).

            Knowing the open source community, they’ll probably have a working version up very soon.

            After that and some other gmail and gesture addons I’ll be set.

            If someone has instructions on how to install ABP or other firefox addons in Chrome that’d be appreciated.

    • Battleglue
    • 11 years ago

    People please, read that silly little comic that Google put up, or at least the end of it. Chrome isn’t out to murder your precious Firefox, opera or anything.

    Anyways, I am testing it out right now. I like it, I find the UI on vista matches pretty well. I really like the feature when opening a tab.

    It’s fast, not that buggy and I don’t see it getting anything but better right fast.

      • poulpy
      • 11 years ago

      You have to love the comic 😉

      My €0.2c, I find it /[

        • titan
        • 11 years ago

        Uh, Chrome does have spell check on-the-fly. It even suggests the proper spelling.

        Did you not notice the red line under “Addon”?

          • poulpy
          • 11 years ago

          Err I must have been drunk because now at work I can see them fine..
          Will check at home if it’s broken but other than that err well my bad 🙂

    • derFunkenstein
    • 11 years ago

    fast loading, quick rendering pages…this ain’t too shabby. Plus it inherits a feature of safari that you can resize text input boxes (like the box where you type your comments). Kinda neat.

      • DreadCthulhu
      • 11 years ago

      Seems kind of pointless to me – how often does one run out of room in the comment box?

        • Mourmain
        • 11 years ago

        Well, personally I often find myself running out of sp

          • cygnus1
          • 11 years ago

          Isn’t that what the scroll bar is for?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 11 years ago

        think of it more when you’re writing a long post in a forum and want to be able to see more of it.

        • Toasty
        • 11 years ago

        I loled…

    • 5150
    • 11 years ago

    For some reason, when I try to install it, it shows up in Task Manager for a second and then disappears. I’ve even tried to reboot. Running Vista Ultimate 64-bit.

      • cygnus1
      • 11 years ago

      just installed on vista ultimate x64, no problems here, posting from it actually

        • 5150
        • 11 years ago

        I’ve tried running as an administrator and Windows XP Compatibility mode and non of it works. ARGHH!

          • ludi
          • 11 years ago

          So your computer eats Chrome? That’s bad news. It could be a baby T1000.

      • SNM
      • 11 years ago

      Hmm, no problem for me in Vista Business x64.

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 11 years ago

    Well, I am making this post using Chrome – the browser seems fast, and works just fine on some pages I commonly visit. Memory usage isn’t too bad – I opened up this page, a youtube video, hotmail, and my bank’s homepage, and it uses ~170 MiB of RAM, compared to 150 MiB for Firefox 3 with a ton of extensions.

    The UI, on the other hand, I really don’t like. The tabs over the address bar & the lack of a proper Windows menu bar (with a Bookmarks menu!) would get really annoying in extended use. That, and I really don’t like the whole bookmarks bar thing. Seems to me that Google could easily have kept the standard Windows menu, and just placed the books bar directly to the right of it. I also don’t like the single address bar/search bar. I prefer them separate, like Firefox, as it makes it much easier to switch search engines. I also don’t like the single refresh/stop button; I much prefer separate buttons.

    Between the crappy UI, and lack of any extensions (yet anyways) I doubt I will switch from Firefox. Chrome just doesn’t seem do anything better than Firefox, in my opinion, though I will play around with it some more.

    • stix
    • 11 years ago

    It seems fast on single tabs but when loading 10 tabs at once its slower than FF.

    FF loads my 10 tabs in 7 srconds where Chrome takes 18 seconds. Checked and triple checked same results.

    • mmp121
    • 11 years ago

    Someone needs to come up with an Adblock equivalent for Chrome. All the sites I normally visit on Firefox look different on Chrome, and I couldn’t figure out why @ first, then I realized its all the -[

    • z00100
    • 11 years ago

    Using it right now and so far it’s working great!

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 11 years ago

      I agree. It’s quite fast.

      • Krogoth
      • 11 years ago

      Because it runs on dead, overworked web developers. XD

    • radix
    • 11 years ago

    Maybe folks from the Internet Explorer team should read Google’s Chrome web comic, perhaps they will learn something useful (page 11 comes to mind).

      • sigher
      • 11 years ago

      nobody ‘read’ that ‘comic’ till page 11 except you, you are the only one on the planet, congrats.

    • Hance
    • 11 years ago

    I will probably grab it and take a look. I just dont see a .5 beta release beating opera in features or stability.

      • cygnus1
      • 11 years ago

      try 0.2.149.27

    • clone
    • 11 years ago

    happy with FireFox but interested in Chrome…… I’ll likely try it 6 months after it comes out, Firefox keeps getting better but the tabs on each page sounds nice.

    no I don’t find cntrl-t to be an issue but for point and click it’ll be nice.

      • sigher
      • 11 years ago

      Middlemousebutton.

    • Jon
    • 11 years ago

    They should have called it Ogle.

    Googles Ogle Browser

      • WaltC
      • 11 years ago

      Exactly right…! How on earth did they miss that one? Wow, it’s so much better than “Chrome”—which really sort of sucks…:D It’s reminiscent of the “That gal could suck the chrome right off a trailer hitch!”, if you know what I mean…;)

      I probably would have spelled it “Oogle,” though…;)

    • SonicSilicon
    • 11 years ago

    Chrome. A browser named Chrome.
    Not to be confused with a certain browser’s interface formatting named Chrome.
    Sure.

      • sigher
      • 11 years ago

      Well I’m sure google’s effort is named chrome for its outward shininess which attracts the braindead enough to click yes on their EULA.
      And their ‘retraction’ of the most insane part, which ‘accidentally’ was there after being reviewed and approved by hundreds of lawyers, doesn’t fix that much about the rest of it.

    • alsoRun
    • 11 years ago

    Right now, I am using a browser with 20% market share. I do not want to use it when Firefox’s market share goes down to 10% or less with this Google attack.

    I follow the masses.

      • indeego
      • 11 years ago

      No you don’tg{<.<}g

    • Prototyped
    • 11 years ago

    I hope the V8 engine’s source code is released under a permissive enough license that even proprietary browsers like Opera and IE can co-opt it. It is the single most compelling thing from Chrome (for me at least), and I’d like to see Opera not get left behind as Firefox 3.1 builds TraceMonkey (which seems to me to use a similar scheme as V8) and Chrome gets V8.

    • PRIME1
    • 11 years ago

    Those of us who have used Konqueror have been ahead of both Google and Safari.

    KDE FTW

    • fpsduck
    • 11 years ago

    This will make some hardware company happy.

    Google Chrome … works great with S3 Chrome.

    • Philldoe
    • 11 years ago

    As long as Opera isn’t hurt by this I’m happy.

    • eitje
    • 11 years ago

    apparently, there are no fat people that worked on the chrome browser. 😛

      • eitje
      • 11 years ago

      also, i wonder if the android sketch on page 12 is an accurate facsimile.

      in fact, there may be more detail in this comic than i originally assumed!

    • alsoRun
    • 11 years ago

    I will have to go back to IE if there are too many alternatives. Currently a Firefox user.

      • nagashi
      • 11 years ago

      how the hell does the # of alternatives cause you to go back to IE? A new browser doesn’t somehow magically make firefox 3 lose any features or advantages over IE. It’s still far far better, and if this browser is better still, then that doesn’t change.

      • jstern
      • 11 years ago

      I’ve been using FireFox exclusively for that last 6 years, but if 2 more new browsers come out, that’s it, I’m going back to IE. I’m warning you. I’ll chop my arm off. And if more companies start making oled hdtvs I’m going to throw out my hdtv, and stick with my sd. They better not come out with a faster internet.

        • redavni
        • 11 years ago

        I’m getting seriously tired of all the people switching from Firefox to IE these days. If people keep it up, I am switching back to Lynx and altering the user-agent to make it look like IE. Take THAT Web 2.0!

      • CasbahBoy
      • 11 years ago

      this post doesn’t make any sense at all

      • Krazeee
      • 11 years ago

      There are too many Core 2 Duo models out! I can’t stand it! I’m going to buy a Sempron!

        • derFunkenstein
        • 11 years ago

        If anybody makes another joke about this thread, that’s it, I’m going to start posting in the forums at TomsHardware!

          • bhtooefr
          • 11 years ago

          If you start posting over in Tom’s Hardware, I’m going to switch to an Apple IIGS, and use Telnet to make HTTP requests!

      • A_Pickle
      • 11 years ago

      Oh no! I guess Google will have to stop coding this browser because one user *cough*idiot*cough* will switch back to Internet Explorer…

        • sigher
        • 11 years ago

        Glad I’m not a comic with this crowd as audience..

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 11 years ago

    I’m sure all web UI developers around the world will rejoice. Yet another stupid browser to test your html/css on.

      • DreadCthulhu
      • 11 years ago

      Since they are using Webkit rendering engine, it shouldn’t be any more difficult than now, assuming they test it in Safari. Still, from the screen shots, I don’t like the look of the UI – it has way too much of a WEB 2.0 thing going for it, and I like my tabs under the address bar.

        • UberGerbil
        • 11 years ago

        They’re using webkit plus “pieces of Firefox” and their own javascript engine — can you say with confidence that every modern, AJAX-enhanced web page will render exactly the same on Chrome as it will on Safari? I certainly wouldn’t assume that.

      • adisor19
      • 11 years ago

      They will rejoice, but not for those reasons. Being a Webkit based browser, it already has one of the most standards compliant rendering engine. It it will gain market share away from MS, it will be a good day for any webdev out there.

      Adi

        • Ricardo Dawkins
        • 11 years ago

        This will hurt more Safari and Firefox than IE.

        • packfan_dave
        • 11 years ago

        Err… when we web devs are writing code instead of idealistic rants, we’d really prefer to code for just one browser, whether it’s standards-compliant or not.

          • ew
          • 11 years ago

          It would be easier to only have to develop for one web browser but over all I think a browser monopoly would be much worse for the web.

            • packfan_dave
            • 11 years ago

            Would it? Didn’t practical web apps pretty much explode during the second browser monopoly era (i.e. between the launch of IE4 and FireFox 1)? And didn’t the web become something everyone knew about during the first (i.e. from the launch of Netscape to the launch of IE3)?

    • Meadows
    • 11 years ago

    I’m starting to wonder whether Google stole Microsoft’s idea, or vice versa, with the process separation thing. Doesn’t matter I guess, end users benefit either way.

      • ludi
      • 11 years ago

      If they’re making noise about “the next generation of web applications”, they would pretty much have to do this. The last thing you want is a bug or crash affecting one browser or tab instance to wipe out the rest of your tasks at hand like a row of dominoes.

      • SNM
      • 11 years ago

      I’m sure this wasn’t stolen from either browser; it’s a fairly intuitive idea and was probably first proposed in some casual conversation by a college student somewhere.

        • sigher
        • 11 years ago

        To run things in separate processes is old, and pre-dates windows.
        And yes it is very obvious, and always a design choice, separate just also means you need to use separate everything, which increases the resource footprint.
        Mind you I hope this puts the fire under mozilla’s ass to at least make the JAVA stuff run more separate in firefox, although removing that ‘awfulbar’ is more urgent obviously 🙂

    • Tamale
    • 11 years ago

    As much as I love google, I really don’t want this to kill firefox…

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