Friday, September 05, 2008

Google Chrome - First Impressions

As many of you have already heard about it, Google has finally released its own web browser. Google Chrome is a free and open source web browser developed by Google. A Beta version of Chrome was released 3 days ago i.e. on 2nd September 2008. Download It From Here

The Android team of Goggle played a significant role in the development of Chrome. Chrome fared well in Acid1 and Acid2 tests but couldn't clear the Acid3 test and scored an overall rating of 78/100 which is far higher than Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 3.

Chrome uses the WebKit rendering engine and it was primarily assembled from 26 different code libraries from Google and other third parties such as Netscape.

Well let us see a few important features of Chrome in the following sections

Security

Chrome primarily maintains security in the form of two blacklists - one for phishing and the other for malware. Further each tab in Chrome is sandboxed into its own process to avoid offensive activities of one tab on another, such as a malware in one tab accessing the credit card number in another tab.

A private web browsing feature call Incognito mode is provided as well. This mode prevents the browser from storing any history information or cookies from the websites visited.

Speed

Main focus on speed was made in the JavaScript Virtual Machine. A new engine named the V8 JavaScript Engine was developed with features such as Hidden Class Transitions, Dynamic Code Generation and Precise Garbage Collection.

Tests have shown that with the help of V8 JavaScript Engine Chrome performs faster than all its other competitors.

Stability

Following a lot of study, Chrome was implemented as a multithreaded browser with a multiprocessing architecture. It should be noted that all the existing web browser implementations are inherently single-threaded.

A separate process is allocated for each tab and for each plug-in, so that even if an attacker gains access to one tab, he won’t be able to access the others at once, causing failure to his motives.

However the pop-ups are restricted to their tab scope, they won’t appear outside the tab unless dragged by the user. And a separate process isn't allocated for the popup.

Further Chrome features a process management utility called the Task Manager which allows people to see which websites are using the most memory and identify the plug-ins which are exploiting the system resources. And terminate them if necessary.

User Interface

The main UI consists of the traditional buttons like the back, forward, bookmark, go, refresh and cancel buttons. The Minimize, Maximize and Close buttons look similar to Vista.

The entire UI is based on the WebKit rendering engine with features such as auto complete for the URL box.

Besides these Chrome concentrates on the developer too, with features such as

  • Show Source - A common utility to show the HTML code of the web page
  • JavaScript Debugger - Used to debug the JavaScript if any bugs are present
  • JavaScript Console - A JavaScript console where commands can be written and executed
  • Task Manager - Shows the allocation of resources

Further movement of tabs between different instances of Chrome is also possible. Of course relative positioning of the tabs is also possible.

Inspect Element

Well this is a feature in Chrome which I found useful being a web developer. Right click any part of the screen and select inspect element, a screen pop-ups called the Inspector with the page layout.

You can explore the CSS, DOM and HTML and other stuffs here. Also, on the lower left corner, there's an icon named Show Console. Click on this and it brings up a console where you can type commands and the DOM elements and nodes and other stuff.

Besides these you can edit the web page offline using the Inspector with a little knowledge of HTML and DOM. Here is a small example where I could change the web page offline using the Inspector.

Chrome has a hidden feature which actually invokes the pipes screensaver present in Windows XP in the web browser. Check it out yourselves by entering about:internets at the URL Box.

Well that’s it. I recommend you to download Chrome and do try it out. It might make an impression on you. And before I end here is the comic book released by Google on its Chrome release.

Will Google Chrome affect the usage of Microsoft Internet Explorer? That's a question we all have to wait and see!!!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent Summary. I liked it. Thanks.

Naviya Nair said...

I have read your blog its very attractive and impressive. I like it your blog.

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