In the news today, Google have announced the imminent release of their browser, Chrome. From the sounds of it, they’ve taken ideas from Firefox, IE 8 and other browsers, and added their own special sauce.
Interestingly, they got Scott McCloud to create a comic explaining what it’s all about. McCloud is the author of Understanding Comics, and while perhaps not the most exciting artist visually, is probably the best technically to tell this tale. Check out some of his early online comics. It’s not often you hear phrases like ‘cryptographic hash’, ‘sandbox security’ and ‘garbage collection’ in a comic; that’s probably a good thing!
The default new tab, with the 9 most-visited sites as thumbnails, plus list of recent searches, recent bookmarks and recently closed tabs, sounds great. Probably the sort of thing that could easily be done in a Firefox extension, if there isn’t already one.
Like the upcoming IE 8, Chrome has a private ‘incognito’ window option, that won’t store any information in history, cookies, etc. Just like Microsoft, they’re claiming this will be ideal for, er, gift shopping. As The Register rightly points out, this is obviously ideal for the internet’s #1 application, pr0n.
How does this affect the existing browsers? Firefox currently holds about 20% of the market. The most likely initial users for Chrome will be the early adopters who’re probably already on Firefox, or Flock or whatever (but not IE). Probably Google will eventually achieve high market penetration just like they have with Gmail and many of their other applications, but will they ever challenge IE’s continued dominance of the market? For many people, the internet is still synonymous with the big blue e on their desktop.