Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Google Chrome, Chromium, Gears, V8 & Blob API

Google Chrome is the freshest new browser to challenge Firefox and IE as it is completely open-source. Google Chrome This new browser promises to cut out the memory hogging trait associated with opening multiple tabs in previous browsers. Chrome allocates memory to individual processes, instead of allocating a huge chunk of your system memory to one application. It is very simple for anyone to understand the major feature by checking out this cartoon. The processes in a simple breakdown:

  1. Browser – Chrome, and other older browsers
  2. Tabs – Each tab uses memory as a separate process and frees up memory when ended.
  3. Plugins – Adobe Flash Player is most prominent, what else?

The advantages that most users would want, and those Chrome promises, is stability, minimal clutter and for me... efficiency!

Guess what else is so great about Chrome? Chrome uses V8, the Google Code Open Source JavaScript Engine, instead of native JavaScript. To see what the speeds look like for JavaScript vs. V8, checkout this browser comparison test found on Digg. IE FAIL! Mozilla FTW! Along with Google Gears (of War) and the ‘Blob’ API, Chrome looks like it will be king of open source web services very soon, if not already. Here are a few of the new and tweaked features that makes this browser an IE killer!

  • Tabs are super-sleek and have all the functionality we’ve become accustomed to when using Firefox. The effect of the sliding tabs is cool!
  • A brilliant new ability of tabs is that you can drag it out of its window into an Incognito window. You can then drag it back into another chrome window of your choice. Have fun drag-dropping!
  • Yellow highlighted text-areas make it easier for us to recognize login/signup forms.
  • Resizable Text-Areas - You can drag open editable text-areas. Notice the bottom-right notch where available. Unnecessary, it messes with the layouts!
  • Status Bar – Hidden when inactive but very sleek when it makes its appearance.
  • Task Manager – Provides a simple rundown of processes but does not report other browser stats unless we go to the About: Memory page (aka ‘stats for nerds’).
  • Importing Bookmarks and Settings from Firefox is nearly perfect. Only requires that you end Firefox.exe to begin importing. Note: The links I received from friends, via the StumbleUpon toolbar, has also been imported. SU, you rock!
  • History is a good one to import if you managed to keep a browser filled with fragments of your past browsing.
  • Create desktop shortcuts to stand-alone web-pages. i.e. When at a certain page e.g. http://www.mydl.co.za/, you can choose to create a new launcher for the very page in an incognito window. Anyone else see the similarity between Google Chrome and Mozilla Prism, as well as the Adobe Dreamweaver AIR extension?
  • View Source code has numbered lines and color-coded elements.
  • JavaScript console tag inspector cuts out the need for any tag inspector add-on, and allows you to view the html, css and scripts of any page, with mere clicks.

Setbacks

  • No plugins/add-ons yet!
  • Does not even prompt you to set Chrome as your default browser, you need to go into the options to do it.
  • OnRelease.FAIL! When closing a tab using middle-click or the close button, you cannot cancel your accidental click, even if you try dragging the focus off the tab. It still closes.
  • The old version of the Apple Webkit was used, so there is a possibility that you might get exploited by the major security flaw. Google better be working overtime, users would really appreciate it.
  • Privacy concerns

Remember that by using the browser, you are automatically agreeing to have read the fine print, which had just been amended a few hours ago. Hope Google has touched you in your open-source and speed sweet-spots! I think Chrome rocks and I cannot wait for next update! If anyone wants to expand on the Chrome browser, you can head on over to the Chromium Open Source project, which was released simultaneously with the Chrome browser. PS: I wonder if Google beat the Firefox download count, and I wonder what Bill thinks about this! BOO!

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