September « 2008 « Matt’s Blog

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google chrome thoughts

Everyone with a keyboard has been talking about Google Chrome. After reading so much about it, it's just inevitable that I start pondering my own opinion about the browser. Here is my two cents.

First and foremost, the trend in the next generation of browsers in an unsurprising increase in memory and CPU consumption. For one reason or another, people seem to be very protective over these precious resources. Though, as I developer, I understand that there is a trade off between performance and a memory footprint and unless the software is poorly developed we should see an increase in performance. Furthermore, it's actually nice being able to take advantage of the systems people are buying these days (e.g. multi-core) with gigabytes of ram. With my workload which consists of running a browser with a bunch of tabs (20+), a music player, and couple of terminal windows I don't come close to crippling my dual-core 4Gb of ram system and would enjoy a boost in performance because software is taking advantage of my hardware. I doubt many would argue that for most people, the most used interface is a browser where it's performance should not be neglected and resource limitations should not be spared. Just to add, my browser has recently been transformed into my music player.

Google Chrome hasn't done anything revolutionary to the browser market that competitors cannot incorporate into their products. The most important such feature is the fast JavaScript engine. Though, I don't understand why the benefits of Chrome cannot be implemented into Firefox. Google cannot expect that _every_ Google user is going to be using Chrome and thus, I would imagine they actually want all browsers to implement a fast JavaScript engine in order to support the next generation of web applications. Google's goal here is not to gain browser market share, but to set a higher bar for browser competition which they've successfully accomplished.

I also don't understand statements such as, "Google Chrome are still in the beta stages of development." -- Randall C. Kennedy. I'm not sure if you've noticed, pretty much every Google app is 'beta' why would Chrome be any different? Once again, their marketing department is on the ball because reviewers seem to be giving Google slack in areas the product is lacking. Of course performance is going to improve whether the product is in beta or not.The fact is, Google has decided that Chrome is ready to be released to the general public and we should be free to demean it in every way possible. Unlike a traditional definition of beta, Google has defined beta as an insurance policy.

So, Google Chrome is pretty neat. I'm glad there is another major player in the browser market to increase competition. This is very healthy and we should all be looking forward to a better browsing experience. I'm all for the increase in stability due to each tab running in a separate process space. Though, it appears that people are solving the wrong problems. On my 64-bit Linux system, Flash does not run nativly and though a misbehaving Flash application won't crash the browser--it will require a restart. I'd rathor see Google implement a Flash competitor. Nonetheless, until AdBlock is implemented for Google Chrome I'm sticking with Firefox. This is the browser-app-killer and I don't care how high the performance is I tend to higher precedence to usability of the web. Also, let's no forget that disabling Flash-ads actually increases performance!

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