Google to launch Chrome Web browser Tue Sept 2

September 1st, 2008

Google Chrome logo

Updated below: (a).

Google has announced that they will launch a new Web browser, built partly from scratch and partly form other open source projects. The Google Chrome browser uses the WebKit open source rendering engine and an open sourced Javascript virtual machine named V8.

“On the surface, we designed a browser window that is streamlined and simple. To most people, it isn’t the browser that matters. It’s only a tool to run the important stuff — the pages, sites and applications that make up the web. Like the classic Google homepage, Google Chrome is clean and fast. It gets out of your way and gets you where you want to go.

Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today’s complex web applications much better. By keeping each tab in an isolated “sandbox”, we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built a more powerful JavaScript engine, V8, to power the next generation of web applications that aren’t even possible in today’s browsers.”

As part of their roll out, they have released a 40 page Google Chrome comic book created by none other than Scott McCloud.

It’s always significant when Google releases new software, but not all of their projects have been successful. The technical details on Chrome sound promising. Having another good be open source browser might spur competition, experimentation with new ideas, and lead to better web tools for everyone. But, of course, we hope that it does not kill off any of the other good browsers, open sourced or not.

I scanned the comic quickly and saw no mention of the Semantic Web or direct support for noticing or capturing data encoded by sites. Chrome looks like it is mostly trying to do rework a conventional browser to make it cleaner, faster and safer. That’s a good goal, but an incremental one.

Google blogscoped has a good summary of Chrome’s features if you don’t want to read the comic.

UPDATE (a): The New York Times has a story, Microsoft Faces New Browser Foe in Google , that focused on the Google vs. Microsoft angle.