Google is again on the roll! The latest product from Google named Chrome is a very fast and compact web browser. From the first impressions, it seems that Chrome may attract a sizeable pie of the browser market in the coming months. Needless to say, this is surely will heat up the browser wars and Internet Explorer is going to feel most of it!
The Google Chrome initial installer is under 500kb and rest of the installation is done by downloading other components from the initial installer. On my 2mbps broadband line it took under 5 minutes for complete installation. The configuration took just the following step,
The Chrome user interface is simple, elegant and extremely fast. It is very unobtrusive, just what an ideal browser should look like.
Google Chrome is built from ground up and hence is able to address a lot of issues plaguing current browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera. Here is a summary of major Chrome features,
1. Single text field for URL and Search – Type in the URL if you know it, else search the Web. The default search engine obviously is Google, but you can easily change it.
2. Browser tabs as separate processes – Instead of threads, Google Chrome uses separate processes and hence provides greater control of each tab and preventing possible crash of the entire browser due to a problem in a Web page in a single tab.
Why is Google going after the Browser market?
The majority of Google revenue comes from search and there is a risk that browsers such as Internet Explorer will try to divert users from it. Already IE sets Windows live as default search engine. The best way to fight this is to fight Internet Explorer itself!
Secondly an advanced browser provides an ability to roll out advanced features to Google products. Google can provide a degraded behavior to other browser users for their advanced product features. This enables Google spreadsheet and document editor applications to compete with Microsoft Office etc. Hence Microsoft can expect intense competition in this area.
I think it is too early to say how Google Chrome will evolve. But one thing is sure, it will soon take up a substantial pie of the browser market. Also I think in the long run, Chrome has the potential to host complex Web applications taking over a lot functionality currently provided by operating system and desktop applications. And for the Web developers, it may become a very good development tool for advanced Ajax based applications.