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Why Google's New Web Browser Chrome Matters to You

by David Felfoldi  |  
September 9, 2008
  |  14,114 views

Last week Google released Chrome, its new standards-compliant Web browser. But what does that mean to you, the business person? Though Google offers a great comic book that explains the big changes, it is a bit jargon-heavy and, frankly, long at 32 (comic) pages.

So I offer you an introduction of Google Chrome for the layman. We will look briefly at the improvements in the user interface, performance, and technology advancements so that you can more easily decipher why Google Chrome matters to you.

The Big (Browser) Picture

The browsers of yore (if you can call 15 years ago "yore") were built on the assumption that a Web browser was your gateway to the Information Superhighway. Meaning—it was required for entry onto the big road, and any improvement to the browser was by definition an improvement to your Web experience.

Over time, more and more features were added to the browsers in an effort to help you. The problem is that these features usually ended up hurting more than helping.

  • Making up their own stuff. Some sites worked in some browsers, while others did not. This is a well known issue in Web development and often the cause of many Web users' frustrations.
  • Increase their "silicon footprint." Browsers have evolved into notorious memory hogs. This means a Web experience with continually worsening rush-hour traffic.
  • Crashing your entire system. Browsers tend toward "memory leaks." So if you leave a browser open for a couple of hours, or worse, overnight, you usually wake up a sluggish beast that can only be slain with a computer system reboot.


You've probably heard the phrases Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 (the latter usually stated with sarcasm by many). These terms are also a neat and tidy way to think about Google Chrome.

Chrome aims to revolutionize the browser marketplace by introducing a browser that takes a back seat to your Web surfing. Chrome does the bare minimum of what a Web browser should do, but in the safest, fastest way possible. Google states that it seeks to have the Web visitor "ignore the browser."

In essence, Google is trying to do for the browser what it did for search—revolutionize. Let's first look at the changes in the browser user interface.


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David Felfoldi is chief experience officer and founder of Sherpa! Web Studios (www.sherpawebstudios.com), a digital experience marketing and development consultancy based in Atlanta, Georgia. His goal is to make the Web a better experience, including for people who write emails in all capital letters.

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  • by John Tue Sep 9, 2008 via web

    Since Chrome is based on the same platform as Apple's Safari, how does it compare to that? Safari is now available for PC's as well.

  • by David Felfoldi Tue Sep 9, 2008 via web

    The browser is simply the renderer -- so if the HTML/CSS/DOM "visually works" on Safari is probably works on Chrome.

    Chrome's difference/enhancements are in memory management and the complete retooling of how javascript is processed, which is the difference in speed. Check out these performance specs
    http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/web/tested-google-chrome-vs-opera-vs-safari-462892?artc_pg=2

    Caveat: it appears that Chrome does use a different graphics engine than Safari, so fonts and images might be a bit different. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kurafire/2822606444/

  • by Nectarine Tue Sep 9, 2008 via web

    It's glaringly obvious that Feldolfi was paid to write this article. How embarrassing to MarketingProfs' credibility! This is filled with exaggerations and inconsistencies.

  • by Beavsco Tue Sep 9, 2008 via web

    Nectarine - the fact that someone praises a new or innovative product does not necessarily mean they are being paid by the developer. Given your angry response, should we assume you work for Microsoft?

  • by Mark Saraceni Tue Sep 9, 2008 via web

    Dear Nectarine,
    Such as...? I really don't care about your first two sentences, but that third one is...incomplete.

  • by Ahmed Sabet Tue Sep 9, 2008 via web

    Great article! I was afraid to try Chrome, or even ask about it because of all the techno-speak. Your layman explanation was very helpful, and now I'm ready to try it!

  • by David Felfoldi Tue Sep 9, 2008 via web

    Nectarine, you are welcome to your opinion on the quality of the article, however incomplete and lacking support that opinion may be.

    Full disclosure: I am a general consumer with a couple stocks in Google. I use Firefox as my office browser as it is a Mac, but have IE 7, Firefox 3, and Chrome installed on my PC at home. I'm a web developer with 12 years in the industry, having coded in all the relevant browser technologies (HTML, CSS, DHTML).

    Nectarine, you can also email me directly if you want to discuss further. If you do, I only ask that you spell my last name correctly -- Felfoldi.

  • by Rishi Tue Sep 9, 2008 via web

    Hi, very interesting article. My question though is, how does chrome compare with opera? Though I don't have a tech background, my understanding is that opera is the leanest amongst browsers... Pl enlighten.

  • by David Felfoldi Tue Sep 9, 2008 via web

    I fiddled with Opera several years ago, so I am not up to date on it. When I did use it, it was great. However, Opera is barely used by the general population, actually less than Safari. See this chart
    http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

    Check out the link I provided before for a comparison to Opera. http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/web/tested-google-chrome-vs-opera-vs...

  • by John Wed Sep 10, 2008 via web

    I checked out Chrome - it is missing some major functionality, IMO. I'll wait until they add these items before I use it regularly.

    I didn't use it long enough to see how it performed for speed and reliability, but it was fine otherwise.

    1. No "Print Preview"

    2. "Open Page In New Tab" doesn't take you to the new tab, so you have to go up and click on the new tab (when right clicking a link in a page).

    3. No way to quickly email a link or embed a page in an email.

  • by Deepali Thu Oct 16, 2008 via web

    It is a BETA version with missing functionalities.
    We should wait for the full version before making any statement for it.

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