Google finally releases its own open source browser


From the “what took you so long?” files:

Google is taking the wraps off its Chrome open source web browser today in a new attempt to help redefine the web.  For years Google has backed the open source Mozilla Firefox effort and is (arguably) Mozilla’s principal source of revenue.

The term ‘Chrome’ is not a new one in the browser world either – in fact ‘Chrome’ is the core UI layer in Mozilla. Chrome is the core of Mozilla and now Chrome is Google’s Browser – go figure.

The general idea behind Chrome is a user friendly simplified/quick web browser and it will undoubtedly steal share from Mozilla as well as Apple Safari and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

Mozilla CEO John Lilly however doesn’t seem too worried (though he should be)

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,” Lilly blogged. “Chrome will be a
browser optimized for the things that they see as important, and it’ll
be interesting to see how it evolves.

Interesting indeed.

Google Chrome from what I can tell at this early juncture focusses on the stuff that all sane and rational people should see as important – namely security and speed.

The new V8 JavaScript engine is Google’s attempt to best Apple and Mozilla’s efforts at making JavaScript faster and more efficient. The Sandboxing approach is also something that improves dramatically on what other vendors currently offer.

In the comic that Google is using to explain Chrome, Google notes that, “...with Sandboxing, our goal is to prevent malware from
installing itself on your computer or using what happens in one tab to affect
what happens in another…something bad could be running in one tab but as soon as
it’s closed it’s gone

That truly is an astounding feature if it works. Think about it, all Cross Site Scripting and Cross Site Request Forgery type attacks rely on pulling from one tab into another. With the fully sandboxed approach XSS and CSRF could be history.

Google admits that plugins could still be a risk – but meanwhile they have a huge surface area reduction in vulnerability.

The UI itself also take an approach that literally inverts that model that all modern browsers have for tabs, with tabs at the bottom of the nav bar. With Chrome the Tabs are on the top.

Then there is the OmniBox – which is Google’s version of the Firefox Awesome bar (the main nav bar). But OmniBox promises to be more awesome and the segregation of tabs in the UI will make a mountain of difference.

Most of what Google Chrome is doing just makes a lot of sense and frankly I think that’s the way it should have been all along. What Google is doing with Chrome is rethinking the browser and taking the best bits from others.

Though Mozilla’s John Lilly currently claims he’s not worried – he likely should be. Google’s Chrome could well turn on to be the biggest threat to  Mozilla and Microsoft yet.

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