Friday, 5 September 2008

Why Google Chrome?

The release of Google Chrome beta is indead exciting news. Chrome is going to be bigger than iPhone! What makes it exciting is not the GUI - in fact, it looks and behaves pretty much just like any other browser. It is what's under the hood that make people (OK, developers) pumped about the new browser.

Google made it very clear on why they built a browser: "What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that's what we set out to build." So it is clear that Google intends to make Chrome to host and run next generation rich internet applications (RIA). Google's RIA platform is the Google Web Toolkit (GWT), which just had version 1.5 released a few days ago (Developer's Guide here). JavaFX folks are also excited about Chrome as shown in this article.

Google is a big proponent of Javascript. GWT 'compiles' Java code into Javascript and uses Javascript in runtime. A sophisticated GWT application can result in a large Javascript file, which poses a performance problem for the initial download of the application (a similar problem faced by Java Applets, which Java 6 Update 10 solves by allowing downloading relevant JARs only, without having to download the whole JRE libraries). Google Gears is another component that Google pushes to increase performance of Javascript applications. Yet, users have to download and install it separately if they want to take advantage of it. Therefore, it is natural for Google to come up with a browser as a unified platform for great support of Javascript. From Chrome web site, Google stated: "We also built V8, a more powerful JavaScript engine, to power the next generation of web applications that aren't even possible in today's browsers." Here we can see a glimpse of what to expect from Google on the Chrome, Gears and GWT fronts. GWT applications will run faster on Chrome than any other browser, thanks to Javascript optimisation on Chrome.

No wonder people are speculating that Microsoft is contemplating on suing Google for antitrust!

Related posts: Why Not Chrome?

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