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Chrome: Shiny New Browser

by Archives September 16, 2008

Google celebrated its 10th anniversary last week and for the occasion treated itself to a brand new web browser named Chrome.
The Internet search and advertising leader released a beta version of its web browser, a product that is set to compete with the likes of Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.
Chrome is optimized to run interactive web pages with high efficiency. Web applications running on Chrome don’t interfere with each other, greatly reducing the chances of experiencing your browser crash. In fact, it makes it possible to force quit a single tab if something goes wrong rather than having to close down the whole browser.
Apart from touting stability, Google is also promoting the speed of its new pet. The company claims its browser is faster than any other when it comes to running applications written in the JavaScript programming language. Various tests suggest it’s already beating Internet Explorer in terms of speed and remains in fierce competition with the latest versions of Firefox and Safari.
Javascript has become an important component of the Internet. Users of Google’s online suite including Gmail and Google Docs, Facebook, Youtube and online games all depend on JavaScript to work properly.
For years now, animosity has been building up between software-giant Microsoft and Google. Rumour has it Google will build an operating system to compete with Microsoft Windows. The browser is distributed as open-source, meaning any developer can work on improving it and write applications for it. There is mileage to the notion that Chrome is a Windows-killer.
Successful open-source programs benefit from the backing of a community; as the community grows larger, the more features and the faster those features can be implemented in the programs increase.
Chrome is revolutionary because it brings forth a new model for web browsers. It positions the web application as a replacement to traditional desktop applications.
Google wants to introduce a plug-in called Gears that will allow web applications to run offline. The potential is enormous if applications such as Google Docs benefit from Gears. Not only will it represent a menace to Microsoft’s own Office Suite, but since web applications are not specific to operating systems, Windows itself will not be a necessity, and could lose ground to competitors such as the Mac OS and Linux systems.
There are criticisms that have fallen against Google for its terms of services. The contract stated the software could automatically update itself, without warning. Furthermore, Google claimed ownership to “any content which you submit, post or display on or through” using the browser.
The company has since updated its terms of services to fend off accusations it is not respecting user’s privacy. Still the browser can store information on its users to display relevant ads.
Chrome currently has a market share of around one per cent. It will be a long time before it becomes the browser of choice for users and overtakes the Internet Explorer juggernaut, dominant at 72 per cent.

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