Tag Archives: Chrome development
In the fall of last year, the Chrome team made a commitment to a six week release cycle for Chrome, a markedly different approach for browser development. It means that version numbers for Chrome are cranked out faster than most software applications, a possibly baffling development for some bloggers. Why have to report about a new version of the browser every month and a half?
Chrome Technical Program Manager Anthony LaForge has put together a presentation that fully explains the philosophy of the release cycle. The idea is to make Chrome as a client more like a webapp: most websites don’t denote their software with pesky version numbers, so why should Chrome?
It has been big news recently that Chrome has overtaken Safari as the third most used browser in the U.S. While this statistic is one that’s skewed towards the United States since Chrome and Safari have been neck and neck, the reality is that Chrome took third place worldwide over Safari back in September.
The main reason that America has lagged in this regard is probably the fact that Apple sells so many computers in the United States, coming with the well regarded WebKit-based Safari.
But the point of this post is to understand how Chrome got this far in a period of two years. When I first tried Chrome as an early adopter-type in the beginning of 2009, I liked the design interface and the idea of “sandboxing” where every tab was its own process. The problem with Chrome at that time was one of compatibility: there were sites that did not function correctly with Chrome, a surprise to me because of its WebKit roots.
Over time, which really isn’t long by Google’s measurement, Chrome evolved. Many sites needed to adapt some functionality to Chrome, but for the most part it was the folks at Google working fervently to make the best browser available. Perhaps they knew that they were making the foundations of an operating system at the time, who knows?
In December 2009, Google launched the Chrome Extensions web site, an opportunity for the company to better compete with Firefox’s vaunted library of add-ins. Not only did they take an existing idea, they improved on it by putting security limits around extensions at their site, making sure that proper measures are taken to make sure that personal data and important computer processes cannot be compromised through the browser. Clicking around at the Extensions site the other day it appears that there are over five thousand now available.
In the beginning, Google offered an extension that you could install into Chrome and translate different languages of the web. Then they started adding it into the development Chromium builds, and finally it was released with the launch Chrome 5 to users a few months ago embedded in the browser itself. This feature is so easy to use, and it unlocks the web for everyone to read no matter their language. Google took an existing service they had and put it right into the browser where it’s the most useful.
No Messing With Flash
Maybe Google sees something in Flash that Apple doesn’t, but they decided to take a very different approach to handling Adobe Flash than Cupertino. Instead of eschewing it completely, Google has embraced the technology. Flash is used in YouTube videos, for some streaming music sites and I’ve recently noticed it needs to be installed to use Google Analytics. So, unlike other browsers that require you to install it and then update to newer revisions manually, Google preempts any inconvienence and risk by making it a part of Chrome.
In the End
Relentless innovation has gotten Chrome browser this far. This is due to Chromium as an open source resource as well as the amount of manpower that Google has thrown towards it in anticipation of Chrome OS. I didn’t even get to talk here about interesting features like the omnibox, bookmark sync and geolocation, but they are an aside to these three major developments that are propelling this browser’s growth. How much market share can this browser take from Internet Explorer and Firefox in the months and years to come?