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Mozilla's Thoughts On Google's Chrome 604

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the waxing-philosophical dept.
tandiond writes to tell us that in a recent blog posting, Mozilla CEO John Lily shared his thoughts on Google's new browser project, Chrome, and what that means for Mozilla. "It should come as no real surprise that Google has done something here — their business is the web, and they've got clear opinions on how things should be, and smart people thinking about how to make things better. Chrome will be a browser optimized for the things that they see as important, and it'll be interesting to see how it evolves." Mozilla's Europe president, Tristan Nitot also chimed in during an interview with PCPro, stating that they don't view this as a direct attack on Firefox, even if it did catch them by surprise. "I'll take another example: just before Microsoft launched Vista, it invited us [to work with it] so that Firefox works better on Windows Vista. Because for it, Firefox being a top-tier application that was very successful - we now have 200 million users around the world - it could not afford to have Firefox run slowly on Vista. Therefore, it helped us improve Firefox for Vista. That's just the same for Google. It wants Firefox to perform well with its applications, that's for sure. Indeed, it even wants IE to perform well with Gmail and the rest. It's just that it has very limited control over this. That's why Google's been frustrated and it is launching this Chrome browser."
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Mozilla's Thoughts On Google's Chrome

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  • Can I call 'em? (Score:5, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:31PM (#24846295) Homepage Journal

    Indeed, it even wants IE to perform well with Gmail and the rest. It's just that it has very limited control over this. That's why Google's been frustrated and it is launching this Chrome browser.

    Did I call it [slashdot.org], or what? ;-)

    For those of you who are interested, Chrome is supposed to be launching later today [blogspot.com]. Apparently around 11 AM PDT [i4u.com] to coincide with the press conference. (Any moment now...) For those of you who can't wait, PCWorld seems to have figured out how to finagle screenshots [pcworld.com] out of Google's 404 page.

    For those of you who didn't get to see it, the comic book [google.com] is now available for viewing.

    • Re:Can I call 'em? (Score:4, Informative)

      by physman_wiu (933339) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:39PM (#24846435)
      Doing a search on Google for Google Chrome download gives this

      Google Chrome - Download a new browser
      Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.
      gears.google.com/chrome/?hl=en - 7k - 18 hours ago - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

      download link at gears it seems
      • Re:Can I call 'em? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Robotech_Master (14247) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:53PM (#24846719) Homepage Journal

        Apparently the download page accidentally went live very briefly at midnight Pacific last nightâ"long enough to get into Google's cache. (They quickly purged it, however.)

        • Re:Can I call 'em? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Martin Blank (154261) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @03:15PM (#24848131) Journal

          Well, it's live now. In fact, I'm entering this on it.

          It's simple, elegant, and blazingly fast. That said, I miss several of my add-ons on Firefox.

          Hmm... I think this is unique to Chrome. I can resize the text box in which I'm typing. I don't see that on Firefox, so I presume that it's application-specific. Neat.

          • Re:Can I call 'em? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Snover (469130) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @03:21PM (#24848263) Homepage

            That is a WebKit feature. It is present in Safari too. (For developers who care, it can be customised in CSS using min/max-width and min/max-height.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Endareth (684446)
            Safari does this too, it's a very cool feature! (Posted from Chrome too!)
        • Re:Can I call 'em? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Jorophose (1062218) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @04:34PM (#24849543)

          It's seems to be back now, but there does not appear to be a download link, and it's windows-only right now, so not interested. Sorry google.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ShieldW0lf (601553)

        That's just what I always wanted... for the company that tracks every page I view where they can and owns the DoubleClick network to build my browser.

        No thanks. Somehow, I don't think the extensions I use to block Google will be supported by this fork.

        • Open Source Search (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Nerdposeur (910128) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:14PM (#24847069) Journal

          It may be old news, but I just listened to a podcast interview with Jimmy Wales today. He has started Wikia Search, meant to be a free-as-in-speech search engine, with publicly-available web crawls generated by distributed computing using Grub. The algorithms, he said, should be open too.

          I have to admit that I'm practically a Google fanboi, but since owning search pretty much means owning the internet, I really like this idea. If you're uncomfortable with Google's power, why not try to help Wikia Search?

        • Re:Can I call 'em? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by abigor (540274) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:27PM (#24847289)

          It's all open source, so at least the browser itself won't be up to any nastiness. I don't see how they'll be able to track you beyond what they're doing now. The whole thing really does seem like a way to build a proper platform for delivering web apps - I guess Google is tired of being held back by the relative lameness of the current crop of browsers, which is understandable. Why Mozilla or Apple didn't go with a multiprocessing model for tabbed browsing in the first place is beyond me.

          • Re:Can I call 'em? (Score:4, Informative)

            by 2nd Post! (213333) <gundbear@pa c b e ll.net> on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @04:10PM (#24849071) Homepage

            Apple wanted a single codebase for the PowerPC, Intel, and now Arm processors. They wanted something simple and easy to develop and easy to test.

            They also needed it to be low resouce for both the original PowerPC systems (G4) and now the Arm systems (both at 400+ MHz). So it makes sense they didn't go with multiprocessing out of the bat.

    • Re:Can I call 'em? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Qzukk (229616) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:48PM (#24846609) Journal

      (Any moment now...)

      Hopefully soon, the "hype misfire" has caused all sorts of people to be spamming blogs with all sorts of links to God knows what as "secret chrome download here!"

    • Re:Can I call 'em? (Score:5, Informative)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:50PM (#24847643) Homepage Journal

      FYI, the browser is now available. Feel free to promote the Firehose story:

      http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&id=1142843 [slashdot.org]

      • First Crash (Score:5, Informative)

        by escay (923320) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @04:30PM (#24849461) Journal
        Bug # 1: Chrome crashes when trying to open Tools>Options.
        This behavior is repeatable, and Chrome prompts to restore previous session.

        Other thoughts:

        • clean UI, quick and smooth.
        • search-based address bar.
        • no home button, default opens to history snapshots.
        • incognito window (private browsing in a specific window).
        • renders other-worldly fonts legibly.
        • can't load java applets by default (says no plugin available, doesn't prompt for downloading one).
  • by fprintf (82740) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:35PM (#24846351) Journal

    I read that support for Linux will be coming out later. I can only hope the schedule is more aggressive that the one they used for Google Earth. It seemed ages before I was able to get that running.

  • Open source mojo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stanistani (808333) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:35PM (#24846365) Homepage Journal

    I will be interested to see how much Firefox code is in Chrome... and down the line, how much Chrome code will be pulled into future versions of Firefox.

    The ability to improve your codebase is one of the strengths of open source. This is a great opportunity to display that strength.

  • by Pengo (28814) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:38PM (#24846419) Journal

    Really, Firefox's competitor isn't Chrome, it's diluting standards based browser compatibility. If Google can come in and hammer out some market share and re-establish even further the importance for developers to stick to standards, it might be all that FF/Safari/Opera needs to really muscle over the 30-50% market share, and just enough credibility to keep Microsoft at bay.

    This is not a close source browser that Google is shipping (According to their blogs/information), anyone can fork it and run with what they like/dislike.

    I for one am very excited at what this means to alternative (to Internet Explorer) browsers.

    This isn't a shot fired at Firefox, it's aimed squarely at Redmond.

    • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld@gmai l . c om> on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:00PM (#24846831)

      As long as they don't cannibalize the installed Firefox base to build their own, it's not an attack. On the other hand, if 90% of the people who install Chrome are the ones who would have gone Firefox anyway, and the rest still mope around with IE, then it's an attack. Intended or not.

      • by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:22PM (#24847201)

        Chrome will certainly get tried by some people who would have tried Firefox.

        But what exactly do you think will happen when everyone using IE visits www.google.com and finds out about a replacement for IE brought to them by the same people who make that awesome search engine and web mail they use all the time?

        If all Google really wants out of the deal is beating IE, then they just make sure that you get a nice advertisment when you go to google to search with IE, and leave the firefox/safari/opera people alone.

        There ARE ways for Google to directly target Microsoft only and leave everyone else alone. The question is, do they want to?

        I fail to see how Google making their own browser is any different than IE 1.0. The goals are the same from this chair. Get people away from using the market leader in order to benifit our own profits.

        I like what Google has done with themselves to date, but I've seen a big company like this make a web browser before and I'm still feeling the effects of that 10 years later. I'm more concerned with what Google does in the long term than who they are targeting. Who they are targetting is irrelavent really, what they intend to do if they succeed is what matters.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I fail to see how Google making their own browser is any different than IE 1.0. The goals are the same from this chair. Get people away from using the market leader in order to benifit our own profits.

          Google are not Microsoft - they don't make money by locking people in and destroying the competition (in the case of IE, the competition was the web). They make money by encouraging use of the web.

          This is an entirely different situation and their motives are completely different. They just want a viable delivery platform for cloud apps, and current browsers aren't quite there yet. I imagine they'll start saying to people who complain that IE doesn't support things like their off-line mode for email - oh, wh

    • by ericspinder (146776) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:09PM (#24846981) Journal

      Firefox's competitor isn't Chrome

      And Android isn't a competitor of the iPhone. Please, of course it is, but having another fair (I hope), well known participant in the market will be a really good thing. Maybe they'll even start being able to bully IE into more complete standards.

      At least at first Mozilla should expect to see Firefox number drop consistently over the next couple of months. As a good number of the same people who use Firefox are exactly the same people who will be trying this new browser. If it's a good product, eventually it may start poaching off of MSIE, but clearly most of Chrome's first adapters will be converts from my (our current) favorite browser.

    • by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:16PM (#24847111) Homepage Journal

      This is not a close source browser that Google is shipping (According to their blogs/information), anyone can fork it and run with what they like/dislike.

      It's worth mentioning that this is exactly how Chrome's Webkit engine got invented in the first place. It started out as a revision, then a fork, of KDE's KHTML engine. A lot of us were pretty hard on Apple when it became obvious that they weren't interested in participating in KHTML's ongoing development. But now that they've created a successful, portable, fork that's popular on a number of platforms (including KDE!) you have to admit that they made the right call.

      Even so, forks are usually not a good thing. When you decide to fork an OS project, you're opting out of the original community, and basically telling them you don't care for where they're taking the project. It's like getting a divorce. Just as partners shouldn't break up their family the first time they get pissed at each other, it's dumb to pull out of a community just because they don't agree with all your priorities.

      This is hard for many software people to understand, since they tend to have big opinions about little things. Which is why the Pidgin IM project got forked in a totally unnecessary squabble over a minor GUI feature that easily could have been made optional. Speaking of which, does anybody actually use the fork [sourceforge.net]?

  • Indeed. Nobody saw that coming. Google launching its own browser. Who would have thought that!
  • "It"? (Score:5, Funny)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:41PM (#24846469) Journal

    Because for it, Firefox being a top-tier application that was very successful - we now have 200 million users around the world - it could not afford to have Firefox run slowly on Vista.

    I like that pronoun for Microsoft.

    Not "them", or "they", and certainly not "he" or "she", but "it".

  • by davejenkins (99111) <slashdot&davejenkins,com> on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:41PM (#24846471) Homepage

    It profits Google nothing to "kill" Firefox. I don't think that is their intended target. Besides, with both chrome and firefox being open source, there's nothing to stop Firefox from incorporating bits and pieces from Chrome wherever it makes sense.

    IMHO, the real target is MS Office. Google makes their money from advertising, which means eyeballs and correlated data. Unfortunately for them, many people spend a majority of their day inside MS Word and MS Excel and other apps. Google would love to have those eyeballs and all that data to better shape their profiles and thus better deliver advertising. What better way than to get all those different apps to "occur" inside the browser?

  • by Millennium (2451) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:43PM (#24846515) Homepage

    For all that the Mozilla team isn't worried, they've got a long history of developers rejecting Gecko for other engines: first AOL rejected it in preference for IE (and then again on the Mac in preference for WebKit), then Apple (again for WebKit), and now Google (once again for WebKit). In the mobile space it isn't doing all that much better, with developers rejecting it in favor of Opera. In quite a few cases, including AOL and Google, we've even seen this rejection when the company previously had a history of active support for, and even paying developers to work on, the Gecko engine.

    I use many browsers, though Firefox is currently my preferred one. But I can't help but pause at things like this. One after another, we've seen companies looking to developing their own browsers, but rejecting Gecko in favor of other engines, sometimes open-source and sometimes not, even when there was every reason to go with Gecko.

    Why is this? I'm honestly curious. And what might Mozilla be able to do to counter whatever reasons there are for developers to often not just reject Gecko, but dump it flat after years of strong relationships? Why does Mozilla continue on as though nothing is wrong when the developers are voting with their products that something clearly is?

    • by Pengo (28814) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:49PM (#24846637) Journal

      This is an interesting observation. :)

      My $.02 is everyone sees the real oppurtunity for growth is in the mobile market. It's not hard to see what apple has done with the iphone and Safari, it's simply peerless on the mobile space, as far as browsers go.

      I'm sure this is the base for their work on their Android Platform, and establishing more development and market share for Webkit based browsers.

      If it was only about the desktop, I'd be scratching my head wondering why they didn't go with Gecko, but it seems clear that Gecko is just too heavy for current generation of handhelds.

      I was really wondering the same thing when Apple announced that they were using Webkit over Gecko when they first launch Safari, but now that their vision for the iphone has come to reality, it makes a lot more sense why they chose the platform they did. I just can't help but think that's exactly why google made a similar decision.

      • by Arkham (10779) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:11PM (#24847011)

        If you read the "comic [google.com]" that describes Chrome, you see that they plan to create a separate PROCESS per tab in the browser. Not a thread, an actual process. Gecko is quite heavy and likely would fare poorly in this space. Webkit by comparision is small enough to be used on the iPhone, Nokia S60 devices, and Android devices of various sizes. It's very compact, and its code base is easy to integrate and work with.

    • Mainly the OO model (Score:5, Interesting)

      by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@nOsPAm.keirstead.org> on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:51PM (#24846673) Homepage

      If you have ever worked with the two engines you would not ask this question. Gecko is a huge mess of "OO in C" object model spaghetti. It is very hard for a new developer to get up to speed on or for development on individual areas to be compartmentalized.

      Webkit, due to it's Qt/KDE origins, is very well designed from the ground up to be as API-clean OO as possible. It is therefore much lower barrier of entry for new developers to start up on, which is exactly what you are looking for when you are a company looking to roll out a browser.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by solafide (845228)
      I've heard Firefox 4 will move to Webkit also. Gecko is dying. Netcraft confirms it.
    • by CODiNE (27417) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:23PM (#24847221) Homepage

      Google and Apple both explained why they went with Webkit instead of Gecko.

      Sorry I can't find the links at the moment but basically Apple said Konquerer as a base was much smaller and cleaner, easier to get started with and to work with than Gecko.

      Google said the same thing, they went with Webkit for it's speed and ability to run well on low end computers, easy to hack.

    • by GarfBond (565331) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:39PM (#24847467)

      For all that the Mozilla team isn't worried, they've got a long history of developers rejecting Gecko for other engines: first AOL rejected it in preference for IE (and then again on the Mac in preference for WebKit), then Apple (again for WebKit), and now Google (once again for WebKit). In the mobile space it isn't doing all that much better, with developers rejecting it in favor of Opera. In quite a few cases, including AOL and Google, we've even seen this rejection when the company previously had a history of active support for, and even paying developers to work on, the Gecko engine.

      AOL is an interesting case. On the Windows side, I doubt AOL was ever really interested in using Gecko other than a bargaining chip against Microsoft to get preferential desktop placement in XP. I suppose if they were ever really interested in doing Gecko in AOL Win, they could have as it was pretty well known that they had internal builds running that way.

      As for AOL Mac, I'd say the issue there is that development stagnated in general on their Mac client side. Seriously, the version of Gecko they had shipping for the longest while was something like 0.9.8, meaning pre-Mozilla 1.0 and pre-Firefox 1.0 by a long shot! Somewhere in between that version and their newer version, they fired all of their Netscape employees and shut that division down. At that point, it only makes sense to use Webkit because you don't have any resources capable of leveraging Gecko any more.

      As for Google, that'll be an interesting question for the time being. It's worth noting that Android uses WebKit, so it could simply be a case of leveraging the work already done there to understand the platform. It's well known that Gecko needs to lose a lot of fat around the edges to make it from Desktop to Mobile platforms, so that's a good reasoning for that choice there.

      It could simply be a case that Firefox is too much of a beast for third-parties to jump in and start hacking on the code. Remember that it was borne out of 1998-era Netscape code, and while they had to restart at least once in there, you're probably going to get some crud that makes it complicated.

      As for clients that embed Gecko, here you go: http://www.mozilla.org/projects/mozilla-based.html [mozilla.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There is already a well known web browser technology called "chrome". It's an integral part of Mozilla web browsing technology. Confusion in the marketplace anyone?

  • [Google] wants Firefox to perform well with its applications, that's for sure. Indeed, it even wants IE to perform well with Gmail and the rest. It's just that it has very limited control over this.

    Why doesn't Google just contribute code to Mozilla for Firefox that works well with Google's apps? It's not "control", but it's how open source projects work instead of control: leadership by coding. Since Google has 200M users who Mozilla's org is supporting rather than at Google's expense, why doesn't Google gi

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:55PM (#24846757)

      Because it will expose the dirty little secret of FOSS & GPL.

      Making Open source software using the default team organization isn't all that its cracked up to be. Open source needs "leads" or managers or in general people in command without whoom, nothing moves. Yes you can fork, but its effectively useless because nobody wants your branch. Mozilla already has them, the kernel has Linus. Without a little bit of the cathedral the bazaar will create only crappy products.

      Google needs control so they can actually build a test team, drive quality up (seriously, even if you LOVE firefox to death, aren't you fed up with the crashes? I know I am, an I don't care whose fault it is)

      -ex FF fan...

  • The web already has four "major" browsers firefox, IE, safari and opera. Do we really need a new browser? Moreover, do we really need yet another partial implementation of the web standards?

    I for one, do not want to code and test for another browser.

    Not to mention that by using google's browser, you will give them unadulterated access to your every movement on the web.

    • by Kelson (129150) * on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:51PM (#24846671) Homepage Journal

      The web already has four "major" browsers firefox, IE, safari and opera.

      More precisely, the web already has four major rendering engines: Gecko (used in Firefox), Trident (used in IE), WebKit (used in Safari), and Presto (used in Opera). Chrome is using WebKit, so it can leverage WebKit's existing standards support and all the pages that already work with Safari.

      Scripting is going to be different, but HTML/CSS should (in theory) be pretty similar to Safari.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by escay (923320)

      we don't want another browser, if it's more of the same.

      Chrome is not.

      It is developed from scratch with a completely new approach on how a browser should be. This doesn't necessarily mean that Chrome will be better than Firefox/Opera/Safari - it just means that it will be entirely different. Chrome could be a total disaster, or maybe google gets it right this time and we see Chrome being widely adopted.

      Either way, i'm just plain happy that people still believe innovation is worth some effort and risk,

    • The web already has four "major" browsers firefox, IE, safari and opera. Do we really need a new browser? Moreover, do we really need yet another partial implementation of the web standards?

      I for one, do not want to code and test for another browser.

      I feel your pain regarding multi-browser testing. But it seems like implementing standards - and having them clarified where needed - will only become more important as the number of browsers increases.

      Also, the more open source browsers we have, the more trans

  • by oldhack (1037484) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:47PM (#24846597)
    How's Mozilla's finance? What sources of fund for them other than Google? How much does this nudge the relationship balance between Mozilla and Google?
  • by jackspenn (682188) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:48PM (#24846619)
    I have used FireFox almost exclusively for about 2 years. What got me started on FireFox was I wanted the same browser feel despite what OS I was on (Windows or Linux). So it was the cross OS support that got me into FireFox, but what has kept me using it is the vast plugin support. One of my favorite being Foxmarks. (but Foxmarks is coming out for IE eventually, I am now alpha testing on IE). Anyway, so I look at Chrome and wonder will it met these two key needs and if it is as good as FireFox will that be any reason to switch? So I can see that it will be cross OS, but to be better the FireFox, but the next question is will it take it a step further, will it work on my Blackberry or other mobile PDAs? That would be the motivator to get me looking, but to solidify a change, I would need the plugin options the FireFox currently has and others like IE are lacking. Can Google do it? I think they have a great shot.
  • by GeekDork (194851) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @01:59PM (#24846817)

    Perhaps a team that isn't forced to respect ass-backwards coding guidelines [mozilla.org] can attempt to produce something fast and reasonably safe, instead of spending all their time optimizing code for Visual C++ 1.5.

    Seriously, Mozilla has their heads so far up the ass that is an ancient codebase, and is extremely slow at fixing the numerous bugs that have shown up over the ages, that I see little chance for them to be a significant competitor in the future, unless they manage to clean up their act in a major way instead of shoving out incremental updates as major versions.

  • Wrong layer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:02PM (#24846857) Homepage Journal

    Some of the ideas for Chrome are good ones. But a lot of them seem to be reinventing the operating system. From Google's perspective the browser is the operating system, but that's not the real world. We used to joke about Linux being a boot loader for Emacs, but soon we're going to have to joke about Linux being a boot loader for Google!

    Here's a big shocker: not everything is a web app! No really. There are problems operating systems solved decades ago that Chrome is just now gettng around to fixing, just because some people want their apps to be on the web. You can have distributed apps and ubiquitous data *without* HTML/CSS/ECMA/Ajax/Flash. Back when computers were so expensive no one could afford their own, everything was distributed. Now that computers are cheap enough that everyone has two or three, the industry is wondering how to distribute stuff.

    • Re:Wrong layer (Score:4, Insightful)

      by shelterpaw (959576) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:24PM (#24847225)
      You're right. Not everything is a web application. But to google it is. Chrome will allow them to make sure they have browser support for all of their enterprise applications. This includes offline and mobile applications. It would certainly suck to be a large web platform company, but have to wait for others to support your innovative technology. This way they can implement what they want and allow others to catch-up.
    • Re:Wrong layer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kostya (1146) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:55PM (#24847709) Homepage Journal

      Here's a big shocker: not everything is a web app! No really.

      Yep, you're right. But the reality is that the web app is the greatest advancement in maintenance since the mainframe/dumb-terminal. Right now, web apps are a complete PITA to develop in terms of simple things like storage, persistence, etc. But in terms of compatibility, deployment, and upgrades, they have the local app beat.

      So while not everything is a web app, the web app is the *first* approach considered by 90% of people putting out customer facing apps, maybe even closer to 99%. Can web apps do everything? No. But they do answer issues of maintenance, upgrades, and control a lot better than locally installed apps.

      I'm still not sure I buy all this cloud stuff, and I think a lot of it is hype. But we are going somewhere like that in one degree or another, and a lot of the apps you use in the future for day to day work are going to be web apps. So Chrome is aimed at that. Will it replace things like Adobe Photoshop? Doubt it. Will it make your online banking experience not suck? Oh, I sure hope so :-)

      None of that will happen by magic. But then if Google gets behind web standards hard and shows IE that yes, you can make a browser that doesn't suck--well, the future of web apps might be a little brighter.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bcrowell (177657)

        But in terms of compatibility, deployment, and upgrades, they have the local app beat. [...] But they do answer issues of maintenance, upgrades, and control a lot better than locally installed apps.

        I was with you for that whole first list, but you lost me when you got to "control." Control for whom?

        But the reality is that the web app is the greatest advancement in maintenance since the mainframe/dumb-terminal.

        In a way, web apps are a reversion to the mainframe/dumb-terminal model. You don't control what

  • by Dan100 (1003855) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:20PM (#24847185) Homepage

    Reading through the comic it's pretty obvious what Chrome is about. Google clearly feel that web apps have hit something of a wall running on existing browsers, and that they need to take the drastic action of releasing a new browser with a new architecture to move things on. The V8 javascript engine is clearly to enable larger and more complex applications, and the thread-per-tab architecture means larger and more complex apps can be run without risking the whole browser.

    Microsoft either got wind of what Google were planning or came to the same conclusions, thus the new architecture in IE8 (and the IE javascript engine is not as bad as it's made out to be, it just underperforms badly with string processing [codinghorror.com]).

    Mozilla (and maybe Opera) may well struggle to compete with Microsoft and Google here. Opera have shown that they do have the resources to develop new rendering and javascript engines, but Mozilla are still using a Gecko that has changed little in years apart from tweaking. It may well be the case that in a year or two we'll be seeing much more advanced web apps which Mozilla browsers handle poorly.

  • by melted (227442) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:22PM (#24847213) Homepage

    Here's a crucial thing this browser should have: Mozilla-like extensibility, so that I could install the things without which I can't imagine a browser anymore:

    1. Ad blocker (AdBlock Plus)
    2. Developer extensions
    3. Debugger (Firebug)
    4. FTP (FireFTP)
    5. Javascript extensibility (Greasemonkey)

    Of course they'll be called something else, but without this set (and particularly #1), they might as well forget about it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by martinw89 (1229324)

      1. Ad blocker (AdBlock Plus)

      That's interesting to think about. Most of Google's revenue comes from advertising. In fact, I'm sure Chrome is a play towards that end. If (when?) someone designs and ad blocker plugin, what is Google going to do?

    • This will be an interesting test case for Google. Will they do as they have done thus far, delivering the best product they can, or will they do as every other company and specifically cripple their product where a given feature might hurt other (or, for that matter, actual) streams of revenue?

      I use gmail, for example, and I don't worry too much about the ads--they're not invasive or distracting. But dedicated adspace in a browser would be a problem, and refusing to include adblocking capabilities in a

  • by cryfreedomlove (929828) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:36PM (#24847401)
    It looks to me like the attitude within Google is that internal engineering resources are infinite and therefore they should work on their own version of anything they think they can improve.

    What comes next from a world like that? I predict that they'll announce a project to release Google's own general purpose programming language. I've seen it before. Objective-C anyone? C#? Eiffel?
  • "We are so, so happy [today.com] with Google Chrome," mumbled Mozilla CEO John Lilly through gritted teeth.

  • by theBike45 (1006073) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:43PM (#24847535)
    Paul Thurrott's coverage of the Google Chrome leak/announcement ends with the remark that "what we've really got here is an example of Google pulling a Microsoft: Creating an unnecessary me-too product that they can use for product tie-ins. All of the features here are present in existing browsers, all of them. So what does Google really bring to the table?" The idea of opening tabs in separate processes has been part of Internet Explorer 8 since March, at least. Web-apps in windows that don't have an address bar or toolbar are not just a decade old in Internet Explorer, they've been a pain in the backside for a decade. Malware writers love them. I used to use Proxomitron to force them to have obvious controls. The thumbnail home-page is basically Opera's Speed Dial, and IE7 has had a thumbnail view for a couple of years (albeit it only shows current tabs). Putting tabs over the address bar is the standard Opera view, and utterly pointless for most people. Chrome's InCognito is already in IE8 as InPrivate Browsing, and was in Safari 3 before that. Omnibar is Firefox's Awesome bar. Auto-completion, anti-phishing and sandboxing features are all pretty old hat by now. Google can't even think up a new name: Microsoft Chrome was an old tool that allowed "Web developers to add multimedia features to HTML using Microsoft's DirectX technology". Additions and corrections are, of course, welcome ;-) As with Gmail, Chrome may be a big hit if it's brilliantly executed, especially given Firefox's general crashiness and bad memory leaks (which, to be fair, used to be part of IE too). But if it's more like Google Base, Knol, Orkut, Froogle and similar rubbish, it may not catch on....
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by badboy_tw2002 (524611)

      You mentioned half a dozen features from three different browsers. If they're all good ideas, whats wrong with the evolutionary step of putting them in the same browser? You brush over the sandboxing as if its all been done before, when in fact the model they're using is different from what's been tried before. The fact is most of the improvements are "under-the-hood" so it will be interesting to see if it catches on. Firefox had tabbed browsing as a killer feature people switched to because they wanted

  • by sorak (246725) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:49PM (#24847631)

    They could implement it using iframes and AJAX.

  • Chrome now released! (Score:4, Informative)

    by nmg196 (184961) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:50PM (#24847635)

    Google Chrome has now been released [google.com]

    Hot off the press - page changed in the last couple of minutes.

    • by lbbros (900904) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:59PM (#24847785) Homepage
      And the download is Windows-only, with generic promises of a Linux version soon. That pretty much rules Chrome out for me, now and in the future: there's no guarantee it will get equal treatment.
  • by SpectreBlofeld (886224) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:56PM (#24847743)

    Screenshot [googlepages.com] (new window)

      So far I can't get it to load a page. I am running this on a machine with user restrictions (I'm at work), but I did install it with adminstrator priveledges (I'm the admin).

      We'll see how this goes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Okay... I switched to the Administrator user account, re-installed, and now it's running fine. I'm posting this from Chrome as we speak.

      Looks like the installer doesn't play nice with user account levels...

      To any of those having problems, make sure you're logged in with administrator rights, and not just running the program as administrator.

  • Initial impressions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ballwall (629887) * on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @03:04PM (#24847893)

    It definitely feels different, but DOM performance seems pretty poor (testing on DOM heavy internal apps). Poor to the point that an operation that isn't specifically laggy in IE/FF pops up an unresponsive notice in Chrome (though it eventually finishes).

    Anecdotal for sure, but to me it doesn't really help to speed up JS if DOM is the bottleneck in the first place (as it is in other browsers as well).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ballwall (629887) *

      The incognito mode isn't really useful either.

      It doesn't work by using totally throw away data, only *new* data is thrown away. For example, going to google in incognito mode sends my real google tracking cookie to google (and the same for other sites).

      This is probably to keep ads working, but totally nerfs the feature. I don't really care if my local computer keeps track of what I've browsed, I want to ensure that nefarious sites aren't getting my session cookies.

  • by kriston (7886) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @03:13PM (#24848103) Homepage Journal

    Am I the only one whose Windows computer is now running a service called "Google Update" which I was not asked to have installed?

  • by Sark666 (756464) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @03:44PM (#24848653)

    A lot of people complain about where's a linux version when talking about photoshop or something, and in those cases I understand why it's not on linux or at least why the company has no current interest, but of all companies, you'd think google would get, market share of the OS be damned.

    How does mozilla release cross-platform the same day, when their codebase is supposedly a huge mess?

    Ya I know it's in beta, but FF is released for all platforms, beta or not.

    I would just think (or I guess hope) google would 'get it' and release cross-platform, and not 5 months down the line get a feature lacking version, that forever will be behind the windows version.

  • by PietjeJantje (917584) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @04:03PM (#24848967)
    Would you run a browser built by DoubleClick?

    Same thing. What's in a name? Apparently enough for an entire collective of product for advertisers/Slashdot users to use a browser by an ad broker who sells that product to clients. Sirs, Madams, I'm calling you nuts. Get a grip.

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