BANGALORE: Reacting to the surprise announcement by Google last week of its own browser offering, named Chrome, the authoritative ‘Information Week’ wrote: “The desktop is dying. Long live the browser.” And it is right on target.
The web’s search leader offers GMail, a web-based email service; GoogleTalk, a web voice call and chat client; GoogleDocs, virtually an office suite on the web; Orkut, a web social networking site, and GoogleMaps, the ultimate tool to understand where on earth you stand (literally!).
With Chrome, Google has virtually carpeted the average Internet user’s entire span of experience and, more importantly, shifted everything to the ‘Cloud’, a fashionable term for the enveloping cloud of Net-based applications and services.
Chrome is available for free download with a button, the Google search engine ( www.google.com). It is a fairly slim 7 MB download and the opening page is starkly simple like all Google offerings. This can change fast because the page is quickly populated — by you. Different browser
Unlike other browsers, Chrome does not fill the page with default offerings but uses most of the space for 9 window panes — the nine pages you have visited most frequently in the past. To have web pages download fast, Chrome’s development team, headed by Google’s vice-president for Product Management, Sundar Pichai (a B.Tech from IIT-Kharagpur and M.S. from Stanford University, U.S.) decided not to reinvent the wheel, so to speak: it just took the Webkit rendering engine used by Apple’s Safari browser. Ironically, there is no Chrome version for Apple’s Mac PCs — yet, it works, now only with Windows.
In a videoconference briefing for The Hindu, from his lab in Mountain View, California, Mr. Pichai explained that Chrome was released as an Open Source project. This means the source code is available for developers to build their own applications. The fruit of two years work, Chrome does away with annoying pop-ups and dialogue boxes; seamlessly integrates search and navigation functions and allows users to surf “incognito” — erasing all trails of where they surfed.
Will satisfied users of Internet Explorer, Firefox or Opera shift to Chrome? It remains to be seen; but if you are already a heavy user of Google’s tools it might make good sense to put all your web-hatched eggs in one big basket called Chrome!
6 months ago