Google Chrome, it's not worth the Buzz

Sep 3, 2008

News surfaced the web on Sep 1 that Google was releasing its own browser code-named Chrome the next day. It seemed Google was imitating the secrecy culture of Apple. Certainly this news surprised everyone with a great amount of excitement that ensued. It didn't take long for the release to make it to the front page on and at the same time cost bloggers tons of letters to write about it.

Since Mozilla rolled out its Netscape-based Firefox in 2004, the browser war has become one of the most heated debate over the Internet, even more than the Linux vs Windows bloody one. People were given a choice, and so much more.

Then suddenly Google jumped into the game with Chrome and stole the spotlight of the day?

Why Chrome?

Having a browser of your own looks cool, doesn't it? But what it means for Google is about saving the millions that they are paying for third parties (Mozilla, Apple) to draw traffic from these browsers to their search page. You can check it out here

So far I've heard Chrome rendered Javascripts extremely well and this means so much for the Web 2.0 movement. This will give Ajax developers more room to expand their creativity and push the boundary of technology to another high.

Including Google. As a big supporter Ajax technologies (Gmail, Apps), certainly Google is doing this out of its intersest. If you look it a bit differently, Google might embed those little cool apps directly into the browser toolbars and make it all a bit monopolistic. Sorry Google, but I'm afraid this is to be true.

So, my conviction is that Google does this out of its pure interest and at the same time to contribute its technology to the community (that's why it's open source). While the latter is a good cause without a doubt, don't be overexcited.

TaiTran argues Chrome is gonna be an OS for Google Apps. This maybe true. If Chrome can become the leader in the browswer. If it fails to do so, and it seems to me it will fail to do so, then this leaves much to be desired.

Why not Chrome?

If you look at how IE is dominating the game, it's not because it is the most advanced browser (in fact, it is the least one), but because it is a built-in feature of MS Windows and this gives people the impression that IE is the Internet.

So far Firefox is gaining momentum (approximately 20% market share) but the wall is too big to be demolished because many applications are still strictly dependent on IE.

I can be pretty sure that FF will make it because eventually the shift from IE to more viable alternatives is unavoidable.

So this leaves Firefox and Chrome (I don't think Safari will make it, sorry Apple), in the table.

It is natural for me to think that if Chrome is to make progress and gain market share, it will eat that of IE, not Firefox.

Let me give a bit more in-depth analysis to Firefox:
- It is community-driven and possesses a trememdous amount of enthusiasm from its users. Most of the success Firefox is enjoying today comes from its community.
- It is at the same time developed by this very community.
- It has a great number of astounding addons.
- It's constantly improving. How many of you have forgotten about TraceMonkey? It can run Javascript that fast, people.

What does Chrome have?
- Google, quite big a name. Look at IE and Microsoft, they are fading away.
- Outstanding slew of engineers. Do you think they are smarter than the collective brain of the Firefox community? And if they are to build a community around Chrome, do they think they can gather the same amount of enthusiam that Firefox 's already had? Did you feel yourself apart of some community when you downloaded and installed Chrome? Do you think you are supporting a cause? Do you think you are doing this because you want to spread out Chrome to the world?
- Addons. While I think these will eventually make it to the Chrome platform, I can assure you not every good addon will do. This is a competition between Firefox and Chrome and I guyss Chrome won't be based on the same community as that of Firefox, if it is to be the case.
- It's still in Beta. When Google tells you something is in Beta, it's not a joke. Take a look at this.

And how many months, years to come before Chrome can get mature enough to go out of beta?

Look, Firefox is not Beta. And it can render Javascript as well as V8. And Firefox developers are constantly trying to improve its memory usage.

On top of that, Chrome has not been released to Linux, and I can guarantee you many are disappointed bearing in mind how much Google has benefited from the work of this community.

All in all, this looks great. But writing about Chrome on an Ubuntu machine is a bit bizzare. But hey Google, you forced me to do so. It's not my fault. If a faster (renfering) and faster (resources usage) are what Chrome's worth the try, Firefox wins.

E-learning Platform 2.0

I was considering using Chrome as the browser of choice for our upcoming Platform. But it looks like it may take forever. Firefox is still a good choice, and perhaps a better on.

Enjoy Chrome, everyone :)

Update: Sergey Brin on the launch of Chrome: