Google Chrome to launch tomorrow. The end of Firefox is nigh?

Edit (03/09/2008): We’ve just published a full review of Google Chrome. The article includes installation steps, features, and some speed benchmarks. Check it out!

The rumors that Google has been secretly working on an industry-changing browser have been circulating for years – I made similar comments about this on this very blog just a month or two ago – and now it appears that the legend was true, as Google has announced that their new browser, titled Chrome, will be released tomorrow (September 2, 2008).

They’ve even made a comic book explaining how it all works.

The software is packed with new features:

  • It’s entirely open-source
  • It will have a built-in JavaScript virtual machine, called V8, which will radically speed up JavaScript performance in the browser
  • The address bar has an auto-complete feature called Omnibox. Omnibox will offer search suggestions, pages you have recently visited, as well as others you have not but are popular around the Internet
  • Anything that runs in a tabbed window will be sandboxed, meaning that it won’t affect your machine
  • The default home page will show your last nine visited websites as thumbnails, as well as your recent searches and bookmarks
  • Has a special privacy mode, called ‘Incognito’, which is a window where nothing that occurs in there will ever be logged on your computer

The latter function alone is weight its worth in gold, as I’m sure my fellow geeks will publicly deny, but secretly be completely rabid about (i.e., agree).

Until Chrome is actually ‘out there’ and we can all put it through its paces, it’s unclear yet just how radical this software is going to be (and I mean that in the less-hippy sense). But the question we should all ask ourselves is, will this new browser have a negative effect on the skyrocketting popularity of Firefox? And what about Google’s current relationship with Mozilla? Will The search giant stop recommending Mozilla’s browser to its users?

Google have promised to release download details on their blog as soon as Chrome is available.

So, is this the end of the line for Firefox? Can we entertain the unlikely scenario that, after all of these years and rumours, Google Chrome might be, well, rubbish? Or are about to usher in the beginning of a new digital age? Or is it, as some of my less-techy friends keep telling me, ‘just a browser’?

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