Welcome Chrome, the Google Operating System

Google Chrome Logo Top news item at TechMeme today -- Google has revealed its own browser -- Google Chrome, via a comic adoption by the artist Scott McCloud (ain't that presentation brilliant!)

By browsing the 5-chapter comic book you basically learnt that

  • Chrome is a new Open Source web browser developed by Google.
  • Google Chrome Screenshot WebKit is used as the rendering engine.
  • Super-fast JIT Javascript VM "V8" was developed in Denmark and will be used to power the next generation web applications.
  • Each browser tab will be in its process (just like IE 8) so (1) memory gets properly cleaned by the OS after you close the tab (2) a crashed web page won't bring down the entire browser.
  • OmniBox will be more awesome than Firefox 3's AwesomeBar, with full Google integration.
  • New fast-opening home page with all the history tracking and favourite search terms, will hopefully replace about:blank.
  • Sandboxing each tab into individual processes not only provides stability, but also enhance security.
  • It's developer centric -- open source, open standard, HTML5, local storage via Gear.

This comes as a surprise especially after Google has just renewed their deal with Mozilla until 2011. If Chrome is so much better (and indeed it would be, if what has been described is true), then why bother? Buying time before Chrome can take over the world?

From my understanding Chrome is indeed more than just a browser competing against IE, Firefox, Opera or Safari. With its own process management and client-side enhancement like V8, Gear and HTML5, it is aiming to be the GUI of Google Operating System, the platform of future applications.

It is also a major win for WebKit -- which is now the rendering engine for Apple Safari, iPhone, Adobe AIR, KDE Unity, Google Android and now Google Chrome. I am pretty sure there are more projects using WebKit which is arguably having a much better C++ code base than Gecko. And it's fast -- really really fast.

Can't wait to download it tomorrow.