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Google Chrome and the new era of the browser OS

Posted by Kunal on September 2, 2008

Unless you are living under a rock (narrowly defined as someone who doesn’t obsessively follow the blogosphere/social news :)), you would know that Google is releasing an open source browser called Chrome today. Since I am twittering a lot* about it, I thought I might as well type more than 140 characters for this topic.

I have played with Chrome when I was interning in Google during the summer and was quite impressed by the software. As you will notice after using Chrome, it is fast, sleek and more reliable than Firefox Lately, FF seems to crash a lot on me; most of the times due to some flash website or something similar. Chrome’s ‘one process per tab’ architecture will mitigate this problem. Firefox’s traditional strength has been its community and the plethora of addons that make it so useful. It would be interesting to see how the community reacts to another open source browser. When I first used Chrome, I was very excited about the new thoughtful features in the browser, but a lot of it is now implemented in Firefox 3 as well. Infact, Mozilla just announced that they further improved the speed of their javascript engine, a fact that removes some shine off V8, Chrome’s javascript engine (when it was first implemented, it was waay faster than the state of the art at that time. 20x or so). Lots of excitement notwithstanding, I had to keep my mouth shut till the official release :)

With the recent release of Mozilla Ubiquity and now Chrome, there will be a paradigm shift in terms of how browsers are viewed. To rehash what many people have been saying, the browser is the new OS. Not Operating System as in the classical definition of something that manages resources, but OS as a software platform. Think of Ubiquity as the new command line and now Chrome brings separate processes and integrated offline experience (through Gears), and you get something that starts resembling a good platform to build your applications on. This is clearly an exciting phase for browsers!

Chrome is currently being released only for Windows and so I won’t be able to use it much. I will wait till I can get my hands on the beta release for my favorite real Operating System ;)

* I hate Twitter, but I love micro blogging. 140 characters seems too limiting, but it is quite useful for people like me who are lazy to write big blog posts :)

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