03 SEP

Google Chrome

Google have released their very own web browser called “Chrome”, which was announced just a couple of days ago on the Google Blog. The new browser isn't quite finished yet and has the inevitable Beta label, but it's now available for download. Only a Windows version is available at the moment, but Mac OS X and Linux versions are in development.

The browser is open source and contains components from both Mozilla Firefox and Webkit (the foundation of Apple's Safari browser), both of which are also open source.

The browser has been specifically designed to handle modern web-based applications well. Of course, Google knows a thing or two about web applications, so it was just a matter of time before they released their own browser. As you would expect, it also integrates Gears.

Some interesting ideas have gone into making Chrome. They have produced a lengthy comic strip detailing its features. Here are a few of them:

Process Isolation

Each tab or browser window runs in its own isolated process so that a problem in one tab will not crash the whole browser. They have even built a task manager that operates much like what you find in modern operating systems.

All these concurrent processes increase memory usage, so Google have implemented some advanced Garbage collection to try to offset that.

New “V8” JavaScript Virtual Machine

The efficiency of JavaScript execution is becoming more and more important with the prevalence of web-based applications, and because of this, Google have developed a JavaScript virtual machine called “V8”. JavaScript is traditionally executed by an interpreter, which can be slow for complex tasks. The new "V8" virtual machine compiles JavaScript source code into machine code on the fly. This should significantly boost efficiency and performance.

Minimal Interface

The interface is very minimal, featuring just the basics needed to get by. There is no traditional application menu, bookmark toolbar or internet search field.

The tab system is interesting because it is positioned above the address bar and navigation buttons. This is arguably more logical than what is found in most other browsers as the tab encapsulates everything associated with it.

Chrome certainly looks promising, and I look forward to putting it through its paces.