Google launches new open source browser Chrome

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With the goal of creating a better Web experience for users, Google released the beta version of its new open source browser Chrome.

“People are doing a lot more online,” Sundar Pichai, VP Product Management at Google, said during a webcast press event held today. As the Web has evolved from simple text pages to interactive applications, browsers also need to evolve, he said.

By releasing an open source browser, Google said it hopes that advancements to the browsing experience will be made much more quickly than in the past. The company said it has been working on the browser for the past two years.

The beta version is currently available for Windows users in 122 countries and in 43 languages, according to Google. The company said it's working on Mac and Linux versions as well.

Google said it owed a “great debt” to “many open source projects” when building Chrome from the ground up. For example, the newly launched browser uses components from Apple's WebKit and Mozilla's Firefox. So if a publisher's site works in Safari, then it will automatically work in Chrome, Pichai said.

According to Google, Chrome's browser window was designed to be streamlined and simple. In addition to being clean, another goal was to make it fast and secure, the company said.

To achieve these goals, Google has kept each browser tab in a separate, isolated “sandbox.” Therefore, if one tab crashes, it won't bring down the entire browser, the company said. Google also built a JavaScript engine, called V8, to support next generation Web applications — and to speed up existing ones.

The default home page for Chrome links to the sites users go to most often. And for those who share a computer with others, Google has introduced an “incognito” window for added privacy. When browsing in this window, a user's search history will not be storied on his or her computer.

Google has also added features to make the downloading process easier and has created a new kind of window in which to open applications like g-mail, the company said. And in an effort to be more streamlined, rather than having a tool bar and an address bar, Google has combined both functions in one box.

In response to the news of Chrome's launch, Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Internet Explorer said in a statement, “The browser landscape is highly competitive, but people will choose Internet Explorer 8 for the way it puts the services they want right at their fingertips, respects their personal choices about how they want to browse and, more than any other browsing technology, puts them in control of their personal data online.”

When contacted for comment, the non-profit Mozilla Corporation directed DMNews to a blog post by chief executive John Lilly.

Competition results in innovation, wrote Lilly in a post. “I'd expect that to continue now that Google has thrown their hat in the ring,” he wrote.
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