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

  1. That comic book was on par with the one that the National Center for State Courts distributed about how bad piracy is. And i don't mean that it's full of crap, just that it alienates the reader. In the case of the NCSC comic, it was rubbish, the writing was terrible, and half of the main points simply werent true. In this comic, the reader (unless they are a supreme techie) are alienated by the techspeak that is so prevalent.

  2. That comic book was on par with the one that the National Center for State Courts distributed about how bad piracy is. And i don’t mean that it’s full of crap, just that it alienates the reader. In the case of the NCSC comic, it was rubbish, the writing was terrible, and half of the main points simply werent true. In this comic, the reader (unless they are a supreme techie) are alienated by the techspeak that is so prevalent.

  3. Three really good things in this new browser:

    – the sandbox mode,

    – the JavaScript engine enhancements,

    – a new OpenSource browser valuable for the Web dynamism.

    For the rest of described functionnalities, there are all already in existing browsers (Firefox has all of them with extensions).

    But Chrome seems appealing. Some of its improvments may inspire other browsers …

    I don't think Firefox is endangered by Chrome. Two years ago, maybe, but now the sharemarket of Firefox is big enough to ensure a long life. Personnaly, I have so customized my browser, it will be hard for me to adopt a new one.

  4. Three really good things in this new browser:
    – the sandbox mode,
    – the JavaScript engine enhancements,
    – a new OpenSource browser valuable for the Web dynamism.

    For the rest of described functionnalities, there are all already in existing browsers (Firefox has all of them with extensions).

    But Chrome seems appealing. Some of its improvments may inspire other browsers …

    I don’t think Firefox is endangered by Chrome. Two years ago, maybe, but now the sharemarket of Firefox is big enough to ensure a long life. Personnaly, I have so customized my browser, it will be hard for me to adopt a new one.

  5. I don't think Firefox has much to worry about. They've been around for ages and they have their huge fan base. People love the extensions and they're not going to drop all of that overnight just because Google tells them to.

    Not everything that Google does works. This browser may end up crashing in flames. Personally I'll install it and try it out but I won't give up Firefox for it.

  6. I don’t think Firefox has much to worry about. They’ve been around for ages and they have their huge fan base. People love the extensions and they’re not going to drop all of that overnight just because Google tells them to.

    Not everything that Google does works. This browser may end up crashing in flames. Personally I’ll install it and try it out but I won’t give up Firefox for it.

  7. I wouldn't touch this thing with a 10-foot poll.

    Seriously, the amount of information that Google has about its user base is frightening, and despite their "don't be evil" rhetoric and ballsy stance against the Bush Regime when Yahoo! and Microsoft rolled-over, the fact is that they're still a for-profit company.

    Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day Google will want – or worse yet, need – to really capitalize on all that user data. Or capitulate to the next group of neocon thugs to seize power in Washington, DC. Or both. And when that day comes, the last thing I want is to have spent that past several years using what is little more than a report-writing tool of my Web browsing habits running unrestricted on my PC.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

    • I'm using Chrome right now.. and it's fast.. A LOT FASTER than everything I've ever seen before.

      As far as my privacy is concerned, I don't think that google, as a profit-seeking company, would do anything different than what Microsoft does… Don't forget that Chrome is *Entirely* open source.. so if there's something bad about the browser, people will find about it quickly enough.

  8. I wouldn’t touch this thing with a 10-foot poll.

    Seriously, the amount of information that Google has about its user base is frightening, and despite their “don’t be evil” rhetoric and ballsy stance against the Bush Regime when Yahoo! and Microsoft rolled-over, the fact is that they’re still a for-profit company.

    Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day Google will want – or worse yet, need – to really capitalize on all that user data. Or capitulate to the next group of neocon thugs to seize power in Washington, DC. Or both. And when that day comes, the last thing I want is to have spent that past several years using what is little more than a report-writing tool of my Web browsing habits running unrestricted on my PC.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

    • I’m using Chrome right now.. and it’s fast.. A LOT FASTER than everything I’ve ever seen before.

      As far as my privacy is concerned, I don’t think that google, as a profit-seeking company, would do anything different than what Microsoft does… Don’t forget that Chrome is *Entirely* open source.. so if there’s something bad about the browser, people will find about it quickly enough.

  9. I downloaded it this morning to try on my XP box. It loads a lot faster than my IE7 did, and yeah, I wouldn't use it without the stealth mode being possible. After all, I might be looking for birthday gifts or something, like Google says… ;-)

  10. I downloaded it this morning to try on my XP box. It loads a lot faster than my IE7 did, and yeah, I wouldn’t use it without the stealth mode being possible. After all, I might be looking for birthday gifts or something, like Google says… ;-)

  11. The speed difference certainly is amazing, but as it is I think that many people who really use the internet will stick with Firefox, simply for the extensions and the flexibility it lends. Chrome is certainly nice for a basic hop-on, check e-mail/blog browser though!

  12. The speed difference certainly is amazing, but as it is I think that many people who really use the internet will stick with Firefox, simply for the extensions and the flexibility it lends. Chrome is certainly nice for a basic hop-on, check e-mail/blog browser though!

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