First, let’s meet Google Chrome in the flesh, now that is has been released.
To keep it as short as possible, let’s see what Chrome has that Firefox users may miss.
I would say the greatest advantage of Chrome over Firefox is its ability to handle tabs in independent processes which means a browser or plugin bug, or an incorrectly coded web page can’t take down the whole browser, but just that tab or plugin alone. This architecture also enables the cool task manager which as noted by John Resig, lets once and for all be able to know whether it is the browser or a badly coded web site the responsible for a slow down.
And from the creative way of announcing it in comic book form to a very nice feature mashup, Google means business with Chrome, announced for release later today in beta form.
Here’s a summary of what we can expect from Google Chrome:
– It is based on WebKit, the open source web engine that powers Safari. Google is also using WebKit for all web browser related operations of Android, its mobile devices platform.
– Tabs get a much more independent implementation: each will feature its own location bar (the omnibox, see below) and navigation buttons (a la Opera), but most importantly, they get their own process which means if one of them crashes it doesn’t take down the whole browser. It is easy to think a larger memory footprint as a consequence but Google notes that a second benefit is that when closing a tab or moving away to a different web site, it is easier to discard all used memory, preventing (or at least reducing) memory fragmentation which helps reduce the memory consumption. Internet Explorer 8 betas already implement the isolated tab crash aspect, but I’m not sure about the memory benefits.
– A task manager will allow users to know how much memory, CPU, and bandwidth is using each tab to easily spot the culprit of a slowdown.