Google Joins the Browser Wars

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard about Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser and its biggest foray into the browser wars. I’ve been using it for a few days, and I’m really impressed.

The main thing to like about Google Chrome is its architecture (see the Chrome comic Google put out for lots of details). Most of this stuff - tabs, popup blockers, etc. - we’ve seen before. It’s the underlying architecture that’s the realy cool part. Google made a lot of really smart moves when they constructed this thing. By sandboxing each tab as its own process, the whole browser is much more robust and stable. There’s a little controversy over whether the Chrome V8 JavaScript VM is faster than Mozilla’s new engine they’re putting in 3.1, but needless to say it’s pretty darn fast, and even more needless to say everything beats the snot out of the latest IE8 beta (Microsoft doesn’t want you using JavaScript - they want you using Silverlight). Everything from the popup blocker to the URL bar shows some really good architectural ideas.

Of course, the most important test of any browser is this:

Does it break any of my sites?

So far that’s a big no - everything seems to work perfectly.

Being that there’s no working Linux release yet and the extension API isn’t there, Chrome won’t be replacing Firefox for me for a while. But I could see that happening down the road. Fortunately Google Chrome is open source, so other browsers can take advantage of their innovations.

Don’t let the beta thing throw you off - everything Google does other than search is beta. Gmail is still beta. If you’re on XP or Vista, I’d give it a shot.

Editor’s note: If you find surfing without Firefox’s ad-block extension as jarring and retina-burning as I do, check out Privoxy.