The Future of Browsing

The big news today was about Google Chrome. Chrome is web browser built by Google based on Webkit that is going to be their way of finally killing off Microsoft. They actually created an online comic book to explain why they created Chrome and the technology behind it.

What makes Chrome special compared to Safari or Firefox is their JavaScript VM called V8. The V8 JavaScript engine provides JIT compilation of JavaScript code, so your JavaScript RIA applications run with blazing speed. ExtJS is incredibly fast in Chrome. Another awesome feature is the ability to create a shortcut to a page that actually is an application link. For example, here is Chrome viewing the ExtJS API documentation:

Notice the window decoration with tabs, navigation, etc… Selecting the Create Application Shortcuts option will create a Start Menu, Desktop and/or Quicklaunch shortcut to the page you are viewing. Opening the shortcut opens the page as a pseudo-application, like this:

This creates a kiosk-mode view, without navigation. This web page of documentation is now essentially a standalone application. Google obviously intends Chrome to be the primary client-side hosting environment for its web-based application suite. This is also really good news for folks using JavaScript for RIAs. With the V8 JavaScript VM, you can have JavaScript performance on par with what a plug-in can do, and thus don’t need the plug-ins.

When Chrome goes final, I don’t see why anyone would not want to use it. It is extremely fast, with a clean UI and will completely change peoples perspectives on web-based productivity software. ExtJS becomes stunning in Chrome, and I’d actually bet that Google buys ExtJS to use it as their main JavaScript library. The only question becomes Google motivations. Will they “not be evil” or will Chrome turn into adware/spyware. Time will tell, but I’ll be using it until I think it is evil 😉

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