Chrome

Wanderer
Blogosphere is buzzing with talks about Chrome, Google's new browser. What is so special about this browser?

StoryTeller
Browser is an indespensible tool. An average user meets the internet through browser interface. In fact, his browsing defines his internet experience. Google with its search service has redefined the browsing experience. Furthering its vision to organize knowledge on the net, Google developed services like Gmail, Calendar and now Google apps. However, this is all on the server side. Client side has traditionally not been a strong hold of Google. With release of Google desktop, Google declared its presence on the client side. Technologies like Google Gears are already in place to be used by the developers to develop offline applications, that automatically synchronize themselves online.
To create a strong presence on the client side, Google needed its own browser. Chrome has finally emerged after gestation period of two years. As you know, Internet Explorer and Firefox have been instrumental in defining the browsing experience. Today, you have several options, when selecting your browsing tool. Browsers like Opera, Flock, Safari carry their own distinctive personalities and do have huge fan following. Google Chrome is dubbed to unleash next generation browsing experience.
Amidst a constantly evolving eco-system on the Internet. Browsers need to adapt quickly to new realities. Browsers have been keeping pace with and even defining the direction of Internet's evolution. Early day browsers had a simple goal of rendering HTML pages, but now they have grown into a full-fledged platform capable of accessing variety of services and information scattered on the net. The existing browser architectures are buckling under the pressure of these new demands. Chrome is an effort to redefine the browser architecture in ways that will eliminate known bottlenecks and make browser ready for cutting edge web applications.

Wanderer
What is the major architectural change?

StoryTeller
They have changed the process model. Browsers like Firefox run in a single process. Tabs in Firefox share the same process space. In Chrome, each tab gets its own process Each process has its own independent address space. Applications running in one tab are isolated from applications running in the other tab at the process boundaries. If one application misbehaves then it can crash it's own tab, but not the whole browser.

Wanderer
Have they really written in from scratch?

StoryTeller
No, they have used several existing open source libraries. They have used "WebKit" which is a layout engine responsible for rendering HTML content. They selected webkit because of its simplicity. Other option could have been "gecko", a layout engine used by Firefox. However they wrote V8 from scratch. V8 is a high performance javascript engine that uses concepts like hidden classes to enhance performance. They have also used sandbox model to keep the tabs isolated and secure.

Wanderer
What is a minimalist design?

StoryTeller
This means, that Chrome must not come in the way of browsing experience. Browsers show the web contents in their client area. All the other elements like menus, toolbars etc taken together forms the chrome of the browser. Goggle wanted Chromes's chrome to be minimalist. If you see the browser's UI , it is very simple, useful and intelligent. For example you have a universal box. The same box can be used for searching and pointing to a URL. The box displays contextual intelligence and remembers the history. It offers options and narrows them down as it gets more details. Opening a new tab gets you fast dial service, which means that the new tab will display the thumbnails of most recently visited sites. You can go to the desired site , just by clicking on the relevant thumbnail.

Wanderer
What are the central design goals of Chrome?

StoryTeller
The central design goals are
  • Simplicity
  • Speed
  • Stability
  • Security

Wanderer
Do you think people will now stop using Firefox and start using Chrome?

StoryTeller
Firefox is a matured product. One of the reason why people use Firefox is the variety of plugins available for Firefox. Google has not declared any plugin architecture for Chrome. So Chrome will be what Google wants it to be. Developers cannot extend it. I think ,Firefox power users will still continue using Firefox, till Google really comes up with compelling plugin architecture and a lots of plugins.

Wanderer
What do you think of flock?

StoryTeller
Flock is an interesting browser. It is a browser with a social focus. It has solid inbuilt support for socializing. Its integrated with blogging tools, mailing tools and sites like digg, twitter etc. It has quite a few plugins and its community is active and thriving.

Wanderer
How do you compare flock with Chrome?

StoryTeller
Flock is about turning a simple browser into a socializing specialist. You get many socializing features inbuilt. In Firefox these features would need plugins. In Chrome, these features are simply not available. Chrome is not trying to specialize in any domain. Its trying to rethink and revamp the browser architecture. So both these products have separate goals. For those heavily in socializing can try flock . Those who are early adopters, looking for complex and cutting edge web application development, can think on Chrome. Chrome can easily integrate with google gears.

Wanderer
Is Chrome Open Source?

StoryTeller
Yes it is.

Comments

Olly said…
Simply Fantastic!!
This is my first visit to this blog and I loved the tales of the Storyteller.
The concept of the Wanderer/Storyteller is amazing seems to take you to fantasy land and is also partly mystical...
I remember my parents telling me stories to put me to sleep while I was a kid however these Technological Tales will surely keep me awake for a long time to come!
Hooray!!
Kunal Modi said…
very true, its simple and answers all the questions that arise.

Will keep watching for more of these!
Really simple language! I found your blog very interesting.It unwinds the complex concepts so easily that even a layman will understand!
Thanks for such nice blog!

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