Google Chrome

Google’s new web browser, Chrome, is apparently launching tomorrow launched today. This is what I could find on the subject.

Google Chrome is an open source web browser developed by Google. It builds on components from other open source software, including WebKit and Mozilla, and is aimed at improving stability, speed and security with a simple and efficient user interface.

It seems to focus on security, stability and speed. This is all well and good. What I don’t see is any discussion of matching web standards. This is not so good.

Fortunately it’s based on Apple’s WebKit which does have standards-compliance as one of its stated goals.

WebKit aims for compliance with relevant web standards, and support for new standards. In addition to improving compliance, we participate in the web standards community to bring new technologies into standards, and to make sure new standards are practical to implement in our engine. We use regression testing to maintain our standards compliance gains.
WebKit Project Goals

I guess we can infer from Google’s silence on the subject that they’ll trust the WebKit project to handle the standards-compliance issues whilst they innovate in other ways. It just makes me nervous—with the decline of Internet Explorer, I would hate to see the return to the browser wars of the 1990s (which some seem to be predicting). Competition is good. Incompatible browser specifications that force developers to pick their platform or code their websites separately for each browser would be horrific.

Fortunately, Google seems categorically opposed to the latter scenario. They are building on an open-source platform (WebKit), and some of what they’re building is from the (also open-source) Google Gears. And Google Chrome itself is open-source.

The core of the Browser Wars was corporate attempts to control access to the web. Web Standards strongly discouraged that attempt, and Google’s releasing Chrome as open-source adds to that tradition started by Mozilla and carried on by WebKit.

So in the end, I’m very excited to see Chrome. Too bad the Mac version won’t be available for awhile yet…

Official Announcement | comic-book explanation