Update: A blog post on the official Google blog entitled A fresh take on the browser states that the comic book went out early. It was supposed to show up tomorrow in tandem with the launch of the beta of Google Chrome which will be available in over 100 countries.

Phillipp Lessen was sent an announcement in the form of a comic book which gives the details on an upcoming Open Source browser project from Google. He gives the details and links to scanned images of the comic in his post Google Chrome, Google’s Browser Project. His site seems to have been running slow so he took down links to the scans. I managed to grab them and have uploaded them to a folder on Windows Live SkyDrive. The link is embedded below and the comic can be accessed directly from here.

The key features of Chrome according to the comic are

  • Based on WebKit
  • Each browser tab gets it's own process and Javascript execution is actually multithreaded instead of single threaded as it is in most modern browsers. This actually solves lots of memory problems with modern browsers since it reduces memory fragmentation and mitigates the impact of memory leaks since all memory is reclaimed when the bad Website's browser tab is closed.
  • Task manager shows how much resources each tab is using so you can tie resource usage to individual Web pages.
  • Created Javascript VM from scratch which has clever optimizations like just-in-time compilation and incremental garbage collection.
  • Each tab has it's own URL box and can effectively be considered it's own browser Window.
  • OmniBox URL bar is similar to AwesomeBar in Firefox 3 and the smart address bar in IE 8.
  • Instead of "about:blank" the default homepage shows our nine most visited Web pages and four most used search engines
  • Has an incognito mode where no browser history is saved and cookies are wiped out when the browser is closed. Some people have affectionately dubbed such features pr0n mode. Amusingly, the comic uses the same "planning a surprise birthday party" scenario that the Internet Explorer team used when describing a similar feature in IE 8. 
  • Pop ups are not modal and scoped to the tab which they were spawned from. However they can be promoted to becoming their own tab.
  • There is a "streamlined" mode where the URL box and browser toolbar are hidden so only the Web page is visible.
  • Web pages are sandboxed so that if the user hits a malware site it cannot access the user's computer and perform drive-by downloads or installations.
  • The sandbox model is broken by browser plugins (e.g. Flash) but this is mitigated by having the plugin execute in it's own separate process that is different from that of the browser's rendering engine.
  • The browser will continuously phone home to Google to get a list of known malware sites so that the user is warned when they are visited.
  • Will ship with Google Gears built-in

My initial thoughts on this are that this is a smart move on Google's part. Google depends on the usage and advancement of the Web for its success. However how quickly the Web is advanced is in the hands of browser vendors which probably doesn't sit well with them which is why they created Gears in the first place and hired the guy driving HTML 5. Chrome now gives them an even larger say in which way the Web goes.

As for their relationship with Firefox, it may be mutually beneficial financially since Mozilla gets paid while Google gets to be the search default in a popular browser but it doesn't mean Google can dictate their technical direction. With Chrome, has a way to force browser vendors to move the Web forward on their terms even if it is just by getting users to demand the features that exist in Chrome.

PS: Am I the only one that thinks that Google is beginning to fight too many wars on too many fronts. Android (Apple), OpenSocial (Facebook), Knol (Wikipedia), Lively (IMVU/SecondLife), Chrome (IE/Firefox) and that's just in the past year.

Now Playing: Boys Like Girls - Thunder


Tuesday, September 2, 2008 12:47:37 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
"Am I the only one that thinks that Google is beginning to fight too many wars on too many fronts. "

I half have this feeling. To me, the most interesting question about Google today is whether, through their 20% time, and their ready engagement of open internet culture, and having pots of money to spare, they've created a genuinely new, decentralized type of company structure, one which is capable of innovating more products and fighting on more fronts at the same time, than a traditional, more top-down, organization.

I'm not wholly convinced they have. But then I'm not wholly convinced they haven't, either. I'm keeping an open mind. But if we see a few more of these bets become successful and profitable, that may signal a Google which is almost unbeatable by more conventional software companies.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008 2:03:08 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Am I the only one that thinks that Google is beginning to fight too many wars on too many fronts.
Of course they are. Every institution marches onward to its own obsolescence and demise. Corporate entities are a fiction that give legal coverage to the individual human failings to which they mask.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008 4:28:58 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Am I the only one that thinks that Google is beginning to fight too many wars on too many fronts.

Pot, this is Kettle. Kettle, this is Pot.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008 5:20:16 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
This Chrome thing means Google is serious about making browser a platform. Not good news for Windows and Apple folks. The next big move is to overhaul HTML/JAVASCRIPT, making them a quality framework for web apps. I'm not gonna be surprised if they are working on some plans already.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008 5:38:05 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Are they getting into to many things? May be. Are they managing the various efforts well? I dont think so.

Google have been very fortunate that their search/ad sense business has continued to grow so well. When the search industry moves into a more mature growth phase they are going to struggle.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008 8:41:04 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
History has thought us well. Every great empire falls at some point. We have a great one now that is struggle to keep Google at bay. If Google becomes the new empire "someday", they will be hailed as the next evil empire because they will have all the money. Next comes revolution, a group of bandits calling themselves the believers of open-source will spring up and upset the balance. Then the cycle starts again. Google wont be the first and they defiantly wont be the last.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008 10:29:38 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
"Am I the only one that thinks that Google is beginning to fight too many wars on too many fronts."

On the contrary. For Google to grow, it is enough for one or two of these projects succeed. Most Google services are not very impressive, but the ones that are often dominate the market. The more projects, the better chances for Google to make another breakthrough.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008 2:47:25 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
For me it's less that they're opening too many fronts but more that they dilute their brand. As a search brand, currently, Google are unstoppable and even if another search engine started giving better results it would probably take some time for users to consider changing even when given a good reason.

But everytime Google releases a product that does not live up to those high standards it weakens the perception of the company as a whole. Gmail is a good example of a product that achieved those standards (even if it's market share may not be as high as it's competitors). Whereas competant but lackluster products like Chat detrement that untouchable quality Google has. The additional danger here is that it creates confusion for the end user; especially when you recieve messages that you should using Firefox not that Google product here but Google is ok over there in that search box in the corner. To a customer the brand and associated perception can be the same. A browserof course is bound to be more contraversial within the community if only due to due to Firefox's "champion of open source" status.
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