The Mixed Blessing of Google Chrome

Having been on vacation, I just read that Google is planning to release their own browser, Google Chrome, into the already crowded market. Although I’m a huge fan of Google’s existing products, I have to admit to some mixed emotions about this one.

On the one hand, Chrome offers multiple processes. Each tab would be anchored by its own process so no single tab would be able to crash the entire browser application. The benefits of this are obvious and huge in today’s world of increasingly complex, resource consuming web applications.

On the other hand, it’s yet another browser.

On the one hand, Chrome is based on the WebKit engine, the engine that powers Safari. WebKit is a very capable engine that, judging from my limited experience with Safari, seems very fast. It’s also open and standards-compliant.

On the other hand, it’s yet another browser.

On the one hand, Chrome includes some significant Javascript innovations including isolation through a virtual machine, performance and precision garbage collection. This, of course, in addition to the multi-process capability mentioned above.

On the other hand, it’s yet another browser.

On the one hand, it borrows some of the best of what others have to offer. Tabs (of course) – now as the primary metaphor rather than the secondary, an intelligent address bar, etc.

On the other hand, it’s yet another browser.

If their online book is to be believed (and I have no reason to think it shouldn’t), they’ll be introducing some very welcome innovations on both the back- and front-ends, but at the same time it’s another browser in a market that’s already too crowded and, more accurately, too diverse. I can’t decide whether I’m excited about the innovations or dreading the additional testing I may have to do as a developer of web applications.

Subscribe4 Comments on The Mixed Blessing of Google...

  1. Jung Mour said...

    It may be just another browser, but that’s the beauty in it.

    If you’re happy with what you have, stick with it. Developer’s everywhere will welcome this browser with open arms.

  2. Rob Wilkerson said...

    Understand that I’m not talking about my browsing experience. Or, for that matter, the brower itself. I love what Chrome is bringing to the table. The mixed blessing is in the fact that, assuming Chrome’s user base becomes significant, myself and other web developers will have yet another platform on which to test.

  3. Chris Shaul said...

    It is not just another browser. It is Google’s further move against Microsoft. In the comic book, it talks about operating system features.

    It seems that to Google, that the web is the operating system. With Google apps, gmail, etc, and now Chrome, you are seeing Google providing the tools and now the infrastructure that the common user needs to be productive. I have written more about this on my site.

  4. Rob Wilkerson said...

    Understood. I get all of the underlying significance – the “bigger picture”, if you’d rather. This post simply chronicled my reaction to the news. What I liked, what I didn’t like. My gut response involved an element of, “Crap, another browser to deal with.” The nuances aren’t lost on me. I promise.