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Why We Need Google Chrome September 2, 2008

Posted by fvter in Technology, UI, Web.
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On Sept. 1 2008, Google announced their plans to release a new intiative in the web browser market ( of course it will be free – sort of) called Chrome. Some of the technical reasoning behind the browser was laid out in a home brewed web-comic. I have no intention of re-commenting this as plenty before me have [Google it!].

My apropos on this subject has to do with the fundemental reasons I think that a new browser paradigm or technology is deeply required!

Browsers today are stagnating in the form of a monolithic giant that are required to perform too much in order to support everything from scripting to multimedia to web2.0 & beyond. The problem is that the main contenders today have been adding and adding features forgetting that to keep performance you also need to optimize! This holds true even for the more recent versions of FF3 & IE8. Unfortunately performance has not gotten significantly better and this is a fundamental quagmire…

Let’s face it the web is getting slower and slower and I am not inclined to accept the blocked tubes excuse. A fair bit of the slowness is coming from the iffy responsiveness of the browsers. I’ve seen this too many times even when trying to load local web pages (i.e. on the same LAN). Now this is a core problem because the web applications are becoming more and more complex as providers start to bring services that encompass more features. I, personally, feel like I spend more time waiting for the pages to load and respond to my request than actually using the features provided by the application.

Believe or not, this situation has already been seen when mobile operators started pushing the mobile web and the WAP standard and simplified web pages had to be developed. Look at the iPhone, despite its «full featured» browser, it still prefers to have special formatted web pages. This is equivalent to a tacit recognition that current solutions are not responding in a user-acceptable manner to expectations and something needs to change – we need the features but with the performance that makes them useable.

Chrome wants to try and resolve this issue by bettering the performance of the browser, a good start! But is this really enough, is there a need to look at changing the way these applications are delivered? I think this will remain a very open question until someone re-invents the web2.0/web3.0 paradigm!

Update 2008-09-08: So I’ve been using Chrome for 6 days now! It’s fast… brings back the punch on web sites! However I am going to stop using it until Google fixes a number of security flaws that have been discovered since launch [IMHO some of them are inexcusable considering they had already been identified in the webkit platform]

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