Google launches its own browser called “Chrome.”

Having four browsers to choose from (IE, Firefox, Safari, and Opera) not enough for you? Then you’re in luck as Google will be launching one as well:

The free browser, called “Chrome,” is supposed to be available for downloading Tuesday in more than 100 countries for computers running on Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Google said it’s still working on versions compatible with Apple Inc.‘s Mac computer and the Linux operating system.

Google’s browser is expected to hit the market a week after Microsoft’s unveiling of a test version of its latest browser update, Internet Explorer 8. The tweaks include more tools for Web surfers to cloak their online preferences, creating a shield that could make it more difficult for Google and other marketing networks to figure out which ads are most likely to appeal to which individuals.

[…] Until now, Google had been trying to undermine Internet Explorer by supporting Firefox, a Web browser developed by the open-source Mozilla Foundation. Bolstered by an advertising partnership with Google’s search engine, Firefox ranks as the second most popular browser, with a market share of more than 10 percent. Google recently extended its advertising alliance with Firefox through 2011.

[…] “The Web gets better with more options and innovation,” Sundar Pichai, Google’s vice president of product management, and Linus Upson, Google’s engineering director, wrote in the posting. “Google Chrome is another option, and we hope it contributes to making the Web even better.”

Microsoft brushed aside the threat in a statement Monday from Dean Hachamovitch, Internet Explorer’s general manager.

“The browser landscape is highly competitive, but people will choose Internet Explorer 8 for the way it puts the services they want right at their fingertips … and, more than any other browsing technology, puts them in control of their personal data online,” Hachamovitch said.

I was offline for most of the weekend so I didn’t see the news when it first leaked yesterday, though DOF was on the ball with a link to the online manual that uses a comic book format to explain why Google feels its new browser is different and better than the competition. Word has it that the news resulted in some network congestion for the folks at Google as parts of their network were overwhelmed by people looking for information on the browser.

I’ll probably download it later tonight to try it out after I get home from class. Yep, I start back to college tonight so I won’t get a chance to play with it until much later this evening.

22 thoughts on “Google launches its own browser called “Chrome.”

  1. Yeah, interesting note concerning searching on google for ‘google web browser download’.  [This] used to come up as the #2 search result, but now I can’t find it on the first 5 pages or so.  Guess Google wanted an April Fool’s prank out of the way when people came looking for Chrome.  That’s some pretty spiffy control.
    And yeah, will be downloading and trying it out later today.  Could be an okay alternative.
    Good luck with school.
    – Matt

  2. I’m with Matt: good luck with school, man! Hopefully things will stay in order easily enough (god knows it never does on my end, and I’m obsessively organized).

  3. I start back to college tonight

    Sweet! Me too! What are you taking Les? I’m majoring in Chemistry myself. I haven’t hit “Holy shit I’m working full time and going to school full time!” wall yet, but I’m sure my extremely small amount of free-time will learn me about that quite well.

  4. I’m definitely going to try it out as soon as I get my hands on it. Didn’t bother through the whole comic, but one thing caught my eye: Each tab is in it’s own process. That means that when a web page crashes the browser, as they are wont to do, it won’t take down the other tabs. That’s one of the small improvements I’ve been wanting to see in web browsers for years.

  5. BB, I’m looking at Network Administration at the moment. I’m starting off small with just a single class spread over two nights (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and I’m beginning with PC Networking Essentials, which means I’ll probable know most of what’s taught in the first few classes.

    Still, it’s a start and it’s enough that I can get my past college credits considered once I’m done with it. I did manage a small Pell grant to get me going.

  6. PC Networking Essentials

    If it’s anything like the Network+ classes I took, you should have no problem.  Good luck.

  7. I’m back in school too, and I’ve heard a lot of people say they’re doing the same. I wonder what the numbers are on Gen-X college enrollment for the last 4-6 years compared to prior years. People going back for career changes after the economic bottom drops out from under them and all that…

  8. In case anybody cares, Chrome identifies itself in the server logs as:

    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/0.2.149.27 Safari/525.13

    I don’t see any plugin functionality. Unless there’s at least the equivalent of NoScript available, there’s not a chance I’d use Chrome for anything other than checking that it renders my sites properly.

  9. By the way, Chrome seems a fraction faster than Firefox, but I still don’t see a compelling reason to use for anything but the GoogleNet—or was it InterGoogle?

  10. Here’s another tweet from the same guy. It’s not looking good:

    dear chrome. if i’m logged into google and you know i have a google reader acct, why the f*ck can’t i subscribe to an rss feed?

  11. I hear that IE8 is over 500mb.  Chrome is around 500kb.  My ‘source’ at Google sez much of it hand-coded in assembler.  I like the memory architecture, and it should work great on low-resource devices. 

    We experimented with it this afternoon; it isn’t perfect but there’s a lot to like.

    Can hardly wait for the Linux version…

  12. Elwed, that’s not surprising. The anti-phishing and malware system in Chrome downloads info on dangerous URLs on a regular basis.

    I’ve only had a little time to dick around with it so far, but I’m impressed with the speed. It’s supposedly open source so I don’t see why the AdBlock+ guys couldn’t develop a plugin for it in short order. In the meantime there’s this suggestion from the Chrome Forums:

    A solution to this for now is http://www.privoxy.org/

    Took about 2 minutes to configure.

    1.) Install Privoxy
    2) Click on the Wrench icon in Chrome in the upper right corner
    3.) Choose options>Under The Hood>Change proxy settings
    4.) A windows box pops up, choose LAN settings (at least this is what it’s called in Vista)
    5.) Check off “Proxy settings” and in the address setting add127.0.0.1 and in the port 8118
    6.) If you have the option, you can also check off “Bypass proxy for local settings”
    7.) Click “Ok”, close chrome and restart it. I’ve had ZERO ads.

    Tada. Enjoy.

    So there’s one option.

  13. Chrome is pretty fast and awesome. I like it a lot so far.

    The only thing holding me back is plugins. But Google mentioned something on their blog about this. Not quite sure how their plugin system will work, but when they come out with the full fledged release of Chrome it better have a plugin system comparable to Firefox.

  14. I can’t copy and paste into Word, but it works into Wordpad. Other than that, it is a little faster and I like the tab feature.

  15. Les, thanks for the privoxy hint. There is that option, but it only does a subset of what the FF plugins do. With regards to open source, I’m not sure if Chrome is simply the binary version of the open source Chromium or if there’s more to it.

    For the time being, I don’t see a compelling reason to make it my primary browser. I do have trust issues with Google and I’d like to know exactly what information Chrome leaks back to Google (as opposed to what they say in their privacy statement) and the unique browser ID that has been mentioned elsewhere is a bit of a turn-off. Perhaps I’ll make the time and sniff Chrome’s network traffic…

  16. Iron looks good, elwed.  I’ll try it out on our Windows machine at home.  They don’t say if they’re planning versions for Apple or Linux, though.

  17. Update: got Iron.  Works nicely, and does seem to load a bit faster than Firefox.  Nice simple appearance and controls, too.

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