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2 Sep 2008

by Noel

Google’s Chrome Browser

Google is releasing a browser, called Chrome and based on the WebKit engine (same engine as Safari). To introduce the browser Google has published a series of photographs of the Chrome developers at work, and got them to explain in their own words what went into the browser. This does a good job of showing that working at Google really is one sun-shine filled cartoon day after another, but good gracious does it make for tedious reading. Next time just give the technical details as a bunch of text, ok?

Anyway, here are my thoughts on Chrome:

  • First, it has to be said: WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER BROWSER! Working around bugs in existing browsers takes enough time as it is. Google would have to create a truly exceptional product to gain enough market share to make developing from Chrome worthwhile. The only hope for Chrome, at least in the short term, is that it is attractive enough to developers that they use it as their main browser, and so are motivated to make their web apps support it.
  • Perhaps Chrome is going to be Google’s development platform forAndroid, it’s mobile phone platform. As we’ve said before there are squillions of web developers and harnessing them is the easiest way to get developers for your platform. Offer extended APIs (e.g. saving data to the local machine) using this familiar technology and you might be onto a winner.
  • If Google’s follows the route suggested above I could see Chrome getting some use for developing client-side applications. In theory Firefox is a compelling environment for cross-platform development. In practice the horrors of XUL and friends mean you have to be slighlty insane to go down that route. If Chrome does a better job of enabling client-side development I can it gaining some traction.

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