Chrome and OS? Yes Google Chrome is an OS

I posted on the day leading up to the Google Chrome announcement that it was an Operating System. Now a guy named Ted Dziuba (programming who worked at Google) says that people don’t know shit about this being an Operating System.

First of all a message to Ted. Nice try ( I have to differ having a degree in Computer Science in what oh Operating System Design) and Chrome is in fact and operating system or operating environment. By the classic definition maybe I can buy your argument but this is not about the classic definition. It’s about the future. The future operating environment where traditional elements are commodities.

I think that you need to look back at other environments to find some similarities. Outside of the common sense that Chrome is a platform for an operating environment of “new apps” I think that the networking stacks of the 80s is similar. I’m old enough to remember the ‘networking protocol’ wars (SNA, Decnet, TCP) and TCP replaced them all in the end. I would argue that this Chrome debated isn’t just about the classic definition of the Windows paradigm.

Chrome is an modern view of an Operating System.

For any environment if it quacks like an OS then it is an OS- Chrome at its core is a OS with a browser front end.

Browser Judo – Google Chrome’s Secret Move

I like Chrome. Chrome is impressive. Chrome is about the future. However, it lacks the innovation on the video side, but that wasn’t expected in this first version. Bottom line: Chrome doesn’t suck. It’s good. I have been using Chrome since it launched and it hasn’t crashed once.

As I reflect on Chrome and what it means, I’m struck by two things: The immediate hit on Firefox and the strategic blow to Microsoft – I’m calling this Browser Judo. The inventor of the browser hints to some of the same things here.

The big tech story isn’t that Google in essence copied Firefox. It’s browser judo. The judo being put on Microsoft. The move is little old Javascript. On the surface Javascript is Javascript, but Google’s Judo move takes this little (major) element of the web and uses it against Microsoft. Why? Because Microsoft Internet Explorer is weak when it comes to Javascript. In talking to tech geeks over the past few days Chrome is 40x faster then Internet Explorer.

Little Javascript is the Judo move on Microsoft. Microsoft COM is actually very good but Internet Explorer treat Javascript as a separate silo even in how they develop the broswer – it’s a separate coding team. So this makes the hidden classes piece of V8 huge – especially against the big turtle now known as Internet Explorer.

Because of the relationship between COM and Javascript, Microsoft incurs a huge “overhead” penalty in managing pages and interactions – In the geek developer world this is called “taking out the trash” or garbage collecting. IE 8 doesn’t really solve this problem of overhead.

Google is taking a small but important element in Javascript and using to throw down IE in performance. As an end user I see immediate benefits on page loads especially if I use the web a lot – hello that’s what the browser is for. Google has it right in this version.

With Chrome Firefox in the short term is impacted, but the real loser will be Internet Explorer. Dean and his team better get busy and fast. I’m a big fan of Internet Explorer since it’s inception, but it’s time for Internet Explorer to compete and put out a faster product.

Better Microsoft better counter the Browser Judo with a move of their own.

Google Chrome – Video of Entire Launch – Download Google Chrome – It’s Fast

I”ve been using Google Chrome since I downloaded it yesterday. Download is screaming fast and the browser works great.

Here is the entire video of the Google Chrome launch yesterday that I attended. It’s a good overview of the new browser and a peek inside the Googleplex.

Entire Video and My Notes from Google Chrome Briefing – Web Sites and Web Services are the New Application

Update: Here is the actual video of the entire Google presentation.

Here are my raw notes from the Google Chrome briefing. Walt Mossberg has a review up. Kara Swisher is going postal – pun intended she is liveblogging. GigaOm, Search Engine Land, Techcrunch, Wired, Cnet, NYTimes, Reuters, LA Times, ..all are here.  I posted yesterday about this – it’s an operating system war.

Google founders came to meet and great the press and guys like me. Here are my notes from the event.

Sundar Pichai, VP Product Management, is giving an overview.

WebKit core technology behind android. Why Webkit? Speed.

Multiprocess architecture – hmm Intel will love this? Each tab has it’s own process.

Google is trying to ease the pain of users regarding crashes. Each tab on the browser has it’s own process so if there is a crash – one app crashes the entire browser doesn’t go down.

Security? Sandbox – each app is silo’d so apps can’t read/write across apps.

Underlying technology is good for apps. Because Google started from scratch

V8 is the innovation – It’s basically a virtual machine – it’s a javascript engine written from scratch. It executes faster and is tied to each multi process or app. Lars Google’s tech guru talks about V8.

Stability Speed, and App support.

Chrome is designed for multiplatform but only windows at the moment. Mac and Linux coming soon. Day 1 Chrome is over 100 countries in 43 languages.

Fully open source – completely open source. Google is mining the best from open source and giving back via open source. Of course their backend is a service so there is no license issue. Google is building proprietary glue around open source code they selected – that is not available. That is Google’s IP. Developers win by leveraging new hooks. As Google advances so do the application and services developers.

Ben who is in charge of the UI – says that it’s not just a content viewer. Building on success of simplicity of the Google homepage. More of a window mgr for apps. Lightweight window. First thing was tab browsing – hmm navigation. Google’s bread and butter has been providing a great experience in providing navigation (to content and to ads).

Navigation is the key to design. The address bar is just the toolbar built into the address bar. Omnibox is the name of the Google address bar. Microsoft called it autosearch that’s been around for a while. Autosearch has been the target for navigation highjacking for years and now Google will own it. They renamed it but now its under Google’s control. No real innovation on address bar – it’s just autocomplete and search UI.

Chrome does have a nice feature what I call learning mode – where it sees what you do on your favorite sites – navigation choices are built into the address bar. Some sort of “metareasoning”. This shows Google’s focus on software innovation. Hope to see more of this kind of AI-lite functionality.

Bookmarks bring the search paradigm to site management and web service. Default homepage is the bookmark tabs. Kind of session restore as a default web page. Google is clear that they are not putting any Googles services embedded in the browser – hmm I don’t see it that way.

For the about time feature (meaning it’s about time someone did this) – It’s called Incognito mode (aka Porn mode): incognito window – all browsing will not be stored in browser history.

One goal of Chrome is to create the invisible browser. Example downloading content (e.g. music). Managing downloads is easy. Can interact with downloads even if they are still in process – ability to drag and drop while downloading (to desktop to a folder). The user experience is awesome independent of what is happening behind the scences (eg the download being completed)

Tab management. Love the drag and drop of tabs. For people who have many tabs open this is a dream.

Darren Fisher, tech lead for Chrome, talks about what’s under the hood. Biggest problem is the browser crashing to take down the entire browser session (all tabs). Point here is that browsing web pages is over. We are really browsing (or interacting) with applications – web services like gmail, media site,. etc

Multiprocess architecture is the heart of the design. Secuirty benefits come from this architecture – Sandbox – strips down all privilege to nothing but browsing. No way for bad guys to get in – separating the rendering engine from the process for the application adds a layer of security.

Task manager shows each tab as a process. If a page hangs the tabs stay available to manage the rest of the pages.

Plugins – 3rd party either Netscape style or native. Code is open source.

Performance – static content and dynamic content

Lars Bach – web tech lead presents v8. brand new engine – take care of the future of web applications. Virtual machine expertise. This guy Lars is excited who wouldn’t be Google is pouring some serious computer science into delivering on this mission.

Javascript is the new standard for next generation of web applications and user experience. Software advances applied to ‘stale’ current standards. A new software model – this is the foundation of an operating system – 3 components: 1) compiler, 2) “javascript loader” (kind of a linker loader), and 3) memory management.

Javascript engine in V8 is optimized in Chrome. This allows for dynamic access and management of 3rd party sites and applications. A turbo javascript of some sorts.

Question that i didn’t get to ask: what is the dependence on windows? I remember the old saying at msft years ago – job not done til lotus doesn’t run. What will msft do now – job not done til Chrome doesn’t run

Chrome code is at is available on open source basis.

Sergey said: Over two years of work – not a me-too browser but something completely different – This is a paradigm shift.

Larry is talking about the comp science effort – many google employees have been using it for a long time.

I get the feeling like this is Google’s Moon Shot. Tons of passion by the founders on this project.

I asked the question on video user experience – no answer on video innovation in this browser beta – they said that this first rev is about getting webkit done right and the basic innovation and superior user experience. Video advances will come later or from a 3rd party via a plug in.

End of the session

Google Chrome What Does it Mean? – It’s Official – The Search Wars Just Turned into Operating System War

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SEARCH WARS now OPERATING SYSTEM WAR – It’s official the search war just turned into the Web 2.0 operating system war. Philip Lenssen just posted what looks like a early version of what Google will be announcing tomorrow – Google Chrome

Folks this is the operating system war in full action. One between Microsoft and Google. Google is coming out with their own browser called Chrome.

This browser is a direct maneuver to block Microsoft IE8 (and other msft moves) from cutting off Google’s ‘hooks’ in search and desktop environments. People (like me) who have been following Google since their inception know that they have infested the desktop with little ‘hooks’ into search which translated into adwords and adsense – e.g. toolbar, tracking, and other services. These little hooks provide the superior user experience in navigation and search as well as power the money printing machine at Google (their ad business).

Google’s dominance in search and user navigation experience is at risk with IE8. Why? Because Microsoft’s window of opportunity to leverage their current (and eroding) monopoly in their operating system and browser market share is closing. This Chrome product is a direct answer to that Microsoft push.

Google’s browser is just that – a competitive strategy to maintain their stronghold and defend their current search offering.

Chrome – Beyond Search

Chrome goes beyond search. Google having a browser (Chrome) is strategic. It’s just one piece of the user environment (aka the edge software) that Google needs to own to have a fully functional operating system. By making Chrome open source Google sends a message to the army of software developers that the Google platform is worthy to develop ontop of. Also Google garners the support from a growing and rabid community of developers while deflect any policy and antitrust discussions.

From a platform perspective Chrome as an open source development project increases the range of edge devices that the software can be ported to. I am talking about Android both phone and set top box environments. Open sourcing the project is good for developers and if played right great for Google. We will see which company is friendlier to developers – meaning how does each platform vendor incorporate new developer technology.

Impact on Startups

I am very bullish on Chrome as a good thing to push competition and innovation. It will be a good thing for startups to leverage this massive platform shift. For startups it’s an opportunity if you can see the vision of these platforms then intersect a business or technology deal into it.

Good Luck Google and I hope to see startups and 3rd party technology in the platform. For me success will be judged by the user experience and the amount of 3rd party participation. Google will fail if they can’t build a developer ecosystem around their platform.

From Phil Lenssen on the details on Google Chrome – Thanks Phil for breaking this story. This is a big deal.

Google gives the technical details into a project of theirs: an open source browser called Google Chrome. The book points to, but I can’t see anything live there yet. In a nut-shell, here’s what the comic announces Google Chrome to be:

  • Google Chrome is Google’s open source browser project. As rumored before under the name of “Google Browser”, this will be based on the existing rendering engine Webkit. Furthermore, it will include Google’s Gears project.
  • The browser will include a JavaScript Virtual Machine called V8, built from scratch by a team in Denmark, and open-sourced as well so other browsers could include it. One aim of V8 was to speed up JavaScript performance in the browser, as it’s such an important component on the web today. Google also say they’re using a “multi-process design” which they say means “a bit more memory up front” but over time also “less memory bloat.” When web pages or plug-ins do use a lot of memory, you can spot them in Chrome’s task manager, “placing blame where blame belongs.”
  • Google Chrome will use special tabs. Instead of traditional tabs like those seen in Firefox, Chrome puts the tab buttons on the upper side of the window, not below the address bar.
  • The browser has an address bar with auto-completion features. Called ’omnibox’, Google says it offers search suggestions, top pages you’ve visited, pages you didn’t visit but which are popular amd more. The omnibox (“omni” is a prefix meaning “all”, as in “omniscient” – “all-knowing”) also lets you enter e.g. “digital camera” if the title of the page you visited was “Canon Digital Camera”. Additionally, the omnibox lets you search a website of which it captured the search box; you need to type the site’s name into the address bar, like “amazon”, and then hit the tab key and enter your search keywords.
  • As a default homepage Chrome presents you with a kind of “speed dial” feature, similar to the one of Opera. On that page you will see your most visited webpages as 9 screenshot thumbnails. To the side, you will also see a couple of your recent searches and your recently bookmarked pages, as well as recently closed tabs.
  • Chrome has a privacy mode; Google says you can create an “incognito” window “and nothing that occurs in that window is ever logged on your computer.” The latest version of Internet Explorer calls this InPrivate. Google’s use-case for when you might want to use the “incognito” feature is e.g. to keep a surprise gift a secret. As far as Microsoft’s InPrivate mode is concerned, people also speculated it was a “porn mode.”
  • Web apps can be launched in their own browser window without address bar and toolbar. Mozilla has a project called Prism that aims to do similar (though doing so may train users into accepting non-URL windows as safe or into ignoring the URL, which could increase the effectiveness of phishing attacks).
  • To fight malware and phishing attempts, Chrome is constantly downloading lists of harmful sites. Google also promises that whatever runs in a tab is sandboxed so that it won’t affect your machine and can be safely closed. Plugins the user installed may escape this security model, Google admits.


Kara Swisher has some insight. I like how she talks about the cold war moving to a frontal attack. Other notable posts – Mathew Ingram as always has laser focus post and Marshall at RWW – hints to what I called on as the Modern Browser.