A Compendium of Google’s Chrome Browser

by Stephen Pitts on September 6, 2008

Google Chrome beta
What a whirlwind of activity that has surrounded the launch of a new browser. I don’t remember any browser getting this amount of buzz than Google has with Chrome. I really wanted to start posting information on Monday afternoon when the info leaked out and the firestorm got started. But I wanted to see how it all played out and has it been a ride!

There have been a lot of rumors that Google would develop their own operating system (OS) and their very own browser. The rumors about a Google OS turned into Google Docs and Spreadsheets and now the rumors of a Google browser are coming to light. The rumors continued, but largely went unnoticed.

Two years ago, CEO Eric Schmidt went as far as to say:

“The industry is obsessed with this browser question… It looks like people have some good browsers choices already,” Schmidt said.

“The way Google operates, we would not build a browser for the fun of building a browser and creating another choice… We would only do something along the lines you’re describing if there was a real end-user benefit. So far, we’ve seen the end-user benefit has been to augment or expand both AJAX and JavaScript, which is available on all the browsers. We’re working closely with Firefox, we have a good partnership with Safari and with Opera and a couple of others as well. That seems like a good answer for us right now, strategically,” Schmidt added.

But, Monday, Labor Day 2008, the information was out, Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped released leaked information about the new browser and the comic book, by Scott McCloud, that was to present Chrome to the world. Quite a different way to market an online product by a company that predominately works online, isn’t it?

So, this started the firestorm:
Search Engine Journal
Search Engine Watch
Search Engine Land
Marketing Pilgrim

Which led Google and Matt Cutts to respond to the firestorm that was generated:
Official Google Blog:

At Google, we have a saying: “launch early and iterate.” While this approach is usually limited to our engineers, it apparently applies to our mailroom as well! As you may have read in the blogosphere, we hit “send” a bit early on a comic book introducing our new open source browser, Google Chrome. As we believe in access to information for everyone, we’ve now made the comic publicly available — you can find it here. We will be launching the beta version of Google Chrome tomorrow in more than 100 countries.

Matt Cutts:

I can’t wait to talk more about Google Chrome, but I’ll hold off until it officially launches. Once people can download Google Chrome, I plan to talk about my experiences using Google Chrome, to lay some truth on you about questions you might ask about Google Chrome, and to give some tips for power browsers.

This was quickly followed by additional scrutiny:
Chrome: This Is Web OS, Make No Mistake
Meet Chrome, Google’s Windows Killer
Google takes aim at Microsoft with new Web browser

Tuesday, Google launched a webcast to officially announce the release of the browser. Which was live-blogged by Matt Cutts (webcast video). The responses on Twitter alone were amazing. I watched and listened to the webcast and much of it was the same information that was released in the comic, but the biggest take-away was the “speed” of the new engine under the browser’s hood. There were live comparisons to Internet Explorer, the twitter buzz wanted to see it up against FireFox and I really wanted to see it challenge Opera, but no dice.

Not much time passed and Google responded to the fact that Apple users will have to wait for the new browser, Matt Cutts addresses concerns with the new browser’s interaction with big brother Google and common objections.

It didn’t take long for reactions to start flooding in:
Can Google Win The Browser Wars With Google Chrome?
Which was answered with – 44% of SEO/SEMs Say Google’s Chrome Won’t Win the Browser War
Google Browser Anti-Competitive [By Google's Standards]
Firefox counters Google’s browser speed test
Google’s Omnibox could be Pandora’s box – Privacy concerns
Does Chrome Signal The Removal of Google’s PageRank Indicator?
Google’s brand is pure gold, but its tech edge is unproven in the browser sweepstakes
Google’s Chrome Kills the Lucrative Toolbar Business

Then security exploits were found:
Exploit #1 – Google’s new Web browser (Chrome) allows files (e.g., executables) to be automatically downloaded to the user’s computer without any user prompt.
Exploit #2 – The vulnerability is caused due to a boundary error when handling the “SaveAs” function. On saving a malicious page with an overly long title (<title> tag in HTML), the program causes a stack-based overflow and makes it possible for attackers to execute arbitrary code on users’ systems.

My thoughts:
Google Chrome is a nice browser, however, it doesn’t have the functionality of FireFox. If I am going to use a browser for fun, I will stick with Opera, at least for now. The average user might want to stick with their normal browser until Chrome is out of beta.

I think Google allowed the “leak” to happen, after all, they know the value of a viral campaign, now don’t they?

Google Chrome Logo - All Seeing Eye?
I wonder, does the Chrome logo (above) appear to be an all seeing eye?

What do you think?
Have you used Chrome?
How has your experience been?

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