Chrome – wondering why we need a new browser?

When I saw Google’s announcement of their new browser, via the neat marketing trick of a comic book, I wondered what the point of it was. I was struggling to think of what it is that they could offer than Firefox 3 doesn’t have already.

The answer – to run applications. From Nick Carr on RoughType:

Chrome – if we can trust the comic book – promises a similar leap in the capacity of the cloud to run applications speedily, securely, and simultaneously. Indeed, it is the first browser built from the ground up with the idea of running applications rather than displaying pages. It takes the browser’s file-tab metaphor, a metaphor reflecting the old idea of the web as a collection of pages, and repurposes it for application multitasking. Chrome is the first cloud browser.

As Nick also points out this ultimately is a threat to the position of the operating system.

Note also that this is an open source initiative from Google. This is not principally about trying to lock in value by controlling the platform on which applications run – it is more concerned with making the apps themselves better, and by product other people’s apps as well. Umair would have this as the new strategic orthodoxy.

  • Long term it’s a great move – any initiative that enables web apps to run more smoothly can only only a good thing. In the short term it’s a royal pain in the ass, though – yet another browser to cross-platform test against. Oh well – maybe one day soon we can think about stopping support for IE6.

  • Long term it’s a great move – any initiative that enables web apps to run more smoothly can only only a good thing. In the short term it’s a royal pain in the ass, though – yet another browser to cross-platform test against. Oh well – maybe one day soon we can think about stopping support for IE6.

  • I’d also add that Chrome is built on Webkit – the same as Safari. This means that it will run far faster than Firefox, whilst allowing the flexibility of plug-ins – kind of a mash up of Safari and Firefox, with a new AJAX system that makes it EVEN faster, built to work perfectly with gears and web apps generally.

    So even before the huge jump forward in the operating system capacity, as a pure web browser this should rock.

  • I’d also add that Chrome is built on Webkit – the same as Safari. This means that it will run far faster than Firefox, whilst allowing the flexibility of plug-ins – kind of a mash up of Safari and Firefox, with a new AJAX system that makes it EVEN faster, built to work perfectly with gears and web apps generally.

    So even before the huge jump forward in the operating system capacity, as a pure web browser this should rock.

  • After a quick first test, it’s pretty fast, and what you’d expect from Google – simple and does the job. Gmail and google maps are fast, though not a hugly noticeable difference from IE or FF.

    Be interesting to see if they can convince large numbers of people that they need another browser, but if they make their own services easier and better by using Chrome – that’s a pretty powerful starting point. Meanwhile, I hope they keep it open source and easy to develop third party plug-ins, which does seem to be the idea.

  • After a quick first test, it’s pretty fast, and what you’d expect from Google – simple and does the job. Gmail and google maps are fast, though not a hugly noticeable difference from IE or FF.

    Be interesting to see if they can convince large numbers of people that they need another browser, but if they make their own services easier and better by using Chrome – that’s a pretty powerful starting point. Meanwhile, I hope they keep it open source and easy to develop third party plug-ins, which does seem to be the idea.

  • There is an amusing irony surrounding all these debates and gatekeeper jostlings in that the real consumer paradise is to me, glaringly obvious. A whole generation of PC/ Mac users have more or less educated themselves mostly on operating systems and programs supplied by two companies. The subsequent online revolution and the battles in between amongst the old guard and new pretenders are merely foreplay to an opportunity for people to connect personally and professionally in one place and all on a hosted basis without the need for millions of tons of future landfill waste.

    Personally I look forward to being able to work, connect, socialise, enjoy and stream my choice of content in one place and within one browser wherever I happen to be in the world and of course securely and without risk of invasion of privacy. I also hope that I may be able to extend my technical education from where it is now rather than take huge leaps backwards, never again suffer the hair-pulling irritation of migrating all my old data and software from one system to another and most of all not feel that in order to secure all the above I am trapped in an advertising nightmare bombarded with unsolicited messages I never asked for.

    In my opinion none of the obvious companies individually can possibly provide me with this ‘ideal’ scenario, so until they can collectively deliver the best of each, I guess I just have to put up with the sad fact that corporate competition and greed isn’t always in the interest of the consumer or the environment! In my humble opinion, whilst these handful of companies continue to battle against each other for gatekeeper domination and in doing so duplicate each others’ best assets again and again instead of jointly improving them, billions of dollars are being squandered and the consumer’s jouney to nirvana is infinitely longer than it need be.

    Jan at FAMEBOOK – the celebrity amalgamator! Access All Areas – Your backstage pass to the famous?…coming very soon!

  • There is an amusing irony surrounding all these debates and gatekeeper jostlings in that the real consumer paradise is to me, glaringly obvious. A whole generation of PC/ Mac users have more or less educated themselves mostly on operating systems and programs supplied by two companies. The subsequent online revolution and the battles in between amongst the old guard and new pretenders are merely foreplay to an opportunity for people to connect personally and professionally in one place and all on a hosted basis without the need for millions of tons of future landfill waste.

    Personally I look forward to being able to work, connect, socialise, enjoy and stream my choice of content in one place and within one browser wherever I happen to be in the world and of course securely and without risk of invasion of privacy. I also hope that I may be able to extend my technical education from where it is now rather than take huge leaps backwards, never again suffer the hair-pulling irritation of migrating all my old data and software from one system to another and most of all not feel that in order to secure all the above I am trapped in an advertising nightmare bombarded with unsolicited messages I never asked for.

    In my opinion none of the obvious companies individually can possibly provide me with this ‘ideal’ scenario, so until they can collectively deliver the best of each, I guess I just have to put up with the sad fact that corporate competition and greed isn’t always in the interest of the consumer or the environment! In my humble opinion, whilst these handful of companies continue to battle against each other for gatekeeper domination and in doing so duplicate each others’ best assets again and again instead of jointly improving them, billions of dollars are being squandered and the consumer’s jouney to nirvana is infinitely longer than it need be.

    Jan at FAMEBOOK – the celebrity amalgamator! Access All Areas – Your backstage pass to the famous?…coming very soon!

  • nic

    Thanks for the comments guys.

    Having had a chance to play with it a bit myself it is greasy quick for ajaxy sites – if all my FF plugins would work (which I guess they might soon) then I would seriously consider moving.

    Jan – competitive destruction is part of the capitalist game – wasteful I know, but somehow it seems to be the least wasteful system anyone has managed to come up with!

  • nic

    Thanks for the comments guys.

    Having had a chance to play with it a bit myself it is greasy quick for ajaxy sites – if all my FF plugins would work (which I guess they might soon) then I would seriously consider moving.

    Jan – competitive destruction is part of the capitalist game – wasteful I know, but somehow it seems to be the least wasteful system anyone has managed to come up with!

  • Nic – Agree completely…and the net end result is usually progress I guess. Who knows what sworn enemies could arise as friends moving forwards though, if one were to venture to raise the possibility. “If the kids are united, they can never be divided” Sham 69 – Jan

  • Nic – Agree completely…and the net end result is usually progress I guess. Who knows what sworn enemies could arise as friends moving forwards though, if one were to venture to raise the possibility. “If the kids are united, they can never be divided” Sham 69 – Jan