By - Spacelab Research Staff
The ultra-ambitious Google has set the bar high once again with their newest idea ... Google Chrome. Knowing that most browsers are built on ideas and foundations of the 1990's, with lots of band aids on top, Google has decided to start from right now and make a browser based on today's needs ... web apps like banking, gaming, media playback, etc. The kind of things that put other browsers into overdrive.
The first thing I have to say is ... wow. When they said fast, I thought, yeah, right. Knowing that most of the delay in rendering a web page comes from the slow response time of a web server (or its more often invoked culprit, the advertising server), I though that there was little that a browser could do to make things faster. I was wrong.
After an initial test drive, I have to say that Google Chrome really did render web pages Noticeably faster than my current fave Firefox, as well as Safari and Internet Explorer. This is based on something Google calls WebKit. If you're not shocked (shocked!) by the speed, then I'll eat my Chrome.
If you want to know more about the ideas and features behind Google Chrome, you can check out the comic (some would call it a graphic novel) that explains the new ideas in both a complex and simple way, at the same time. This makes everybody happy.
So let's road test this puppy -- a visit to the New York Times loads noticeably faster than Firefox. The text is almost immediate, the rest of the page fills in a second later. I should mention that I'm on a broadband connection through a cable provider. But there's a definite speediness here that I usually don't get.
Next stop - Sub Pop. A quick visit to the web site and a click on the "Media" section, and a look at the newest Chad Van Gaalen video. The media page loads ultra quick (there's a quick second where it looks like nothing is happening, then suddenly everything is there ... no partial page loads while other components finish up). The hefty video downloads in a reasonable amount of time, and is being viewed through QuickTime on my browser. No QT install needed, Chrome picked it up because it was already installed. This works well.
Then it's over to the Hype Machine for a random test of the blog circuit. I found a post that was 20 minutes old for the Times New Viking MP3, Call and Respond. It's on a post from the blog The Needle Drop. The Needle Drop has posted the track (already available freely from Matador Records) on FileDen, a site for posting free downloads. This downloads quickly.
The basic premise at work with Google Chrome is twofold: minimize the browser chrome, i.e. the area outside of the web page. This would be all of the buttons and borders and options in the browser that clutter what you're looking at. This lets the user focus on the stuff that's in the web page / web app / web video / game that they're using.
The other idea is separating each tab into what Google calls a separate sandbox. This is the revolutionary part of Google Chrome. In other browsers, tabs are used inefficiently, meaning that the 12 videos you just watched in one tab will slow down your computer when you're checking email in another tab. Memory used in the one tab lingers in other ones, creating the kind of crossover that slows down everything you're doing. With Chrome, each tab is like a different browser, all open at the same time. No memory crossover, no hang ups, no delays. Sorry if I'm gushing, this is just such a simple and effective idea that you have to wonder why the other browsers haven't chased this idea down yet.
So will Chrome usher in an era of world peace? Probably not. It does provide a healthy push in the browser market to get everyone to re-up on browsers, though. Hopefully this will make Firefox, Microsoft and Apple incorporate these ideas into their next versions. Then again, maybe that's what Google is trying to do with Chrome anyway.