Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google's new Browser

Google has introduced a new Web browser called Chrome says the Wall Street Journal.Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.

Chrome's interface has some bold changes from the standard browser design. These new features enhance the web experience, but they will require some adjustment on the part of users. For instance, Chrome does away with most menus and toolbar icons to give maximum screen space for the Web pages themselves. Also, Google has merged the address bar, where you type in web addresses, with the search box, where you type in search terms. This unified feature is called the Omnibox.

One striking difference in Chrome is how it handles tabs, which display a single Web page. In Chrome, each tab behaves as a separate browser. The bookmarks bar, Omnibox, menus and toolbar icons are located inside the tab, rather than atop the entire browser. The tabs appear at the top of the computer screen. Chrome also groups related tabs. If you open a new tab from a link in a page that's already open, that new tab appears next to the originating page, rather than at the end of the row of tabs.

Windows is the only operating system on which Chrome currently runs.

Why is Google igniting a new browser war? There are two main reasons, and both involve competing with Microsoft. First, the search giant fears that because its search engine and other major products depend on the browser, Microsoft—with its rival online products—might be able to gain an advantage by altering the design of IE, which has roughly a 75% market share.
Second, and more important, Google sees the Web as a platform for the software programs, or applications, that currently run directly on computer operating systems, notably Microsoft's Windows. It says current browsers lack the underlying architecture to enable future, more powerful Web applications that will rely more heavily on a common Web programming language called JavaScript. Chrome was designed to be the world's speediest browser at handling JavaScript.

Google claims that future, more sophisticated Web applications relying more heavily on JavaScript than today's sites do would run faster on Chrome. However, Google doesn't claim users would see much difference on current Web application sites.

Chrome is built on three core design principles. The first is its spare user interface. There are only two menus and a handful of toolbar icons.The second big principle behind Chrome is that a user can type anything he or she wishes into a single place, the Omnibox, and instantly receive suggestions on where to go, gleaned from the user's own browsing history and Google's rankings of popular sites. Whether you type in a Web address or a search term, the Omnibox is very smart. The third big principle behind Chrome is that each tab runs, under the hood, as a separate browser. Tabs can be dragged off the main browser and turned into separate windows. If one tab crashes, the rest of the browser keeps running. But this doesn't work perfectly.

Like other browsers, Chrome puts up a warning when you try to visit a malicious or phony Web site, and it has a private browsing mode, called Incognito, which allows you to browse without leaving any history on your computer—a feature popularized in Safari.Chrome also has a pop-up blocker, but it's annoying, because it flashes a notice that a pop-up has been blocked. IE also does this, but unlike in Chrome, it allows the warnings to be made much less intrusive.