Okay, so I’m a few days behind the rest of the web posting on this (though I tweeted it early;-), and I have to admit I still haven’t tried the Google Chrome browser out yet (it’s such a chore booting into Windows…), so here are some thoughts based on a reading of the the comic book and a viewing of the launch announcement.
Why Chrome? And how might it play out? (I’m not suggesting things were planned this way…) Here’s where you get to see how dazed and confused I am, and how very wrong I can be about stuff ;-)
First up – Chrome is for mobile devices, right? It may not have been designed for that purpose, but the tab view looks pretty odd to me, going against O/S UI style guides for pretty much everything. Each tab in its own process makes sense for mobile devices, where multiple parallel applications may be running at any time, but only one is in view. Rumbling’s around the web suggest Chrome for Android is on its way in a future Android release…
Secondly, Google Chrome draws heavily on Google Gears. Google Gears provides the browser with it’s own database, so the browser can store lots of state locally. (Does Gears also provide a lite, local webserver?) Google Gears lets you use web apps offline, and store lots of state without making a call on the host computer’s o/s…
So I’m guessing that Chrome would work well as a virtual appliance…? That is, it’s something that can be popped into a Jumpbox appliance, for example, and run…. anywhere…like from a live CD or bootable USB key (a “live USB”)? That is, run it as a “live virtual appliance”. So you don’t need a host operating system, just a boot manager? Or if all your apps are in the cloud, you just need a machine that runs Chrome (maybe with Flash and Silverlight plugins too).
Chrome lets you create standalone “desktop web apps” in the form of “single application browsers” – a preloaded tab that “runs” Gmail or Google docs, for example, (or equally, I guess, Zoho web applications), just as if they were any other desktop application. The browser becomes a container for applications. If you can run the browser, you can run the app. If you can run the browser in a virtual appliance (or on a mobile device – UI issues aside), you can run the app…
On the usability side, the major thing that jumped out at me was that there’s a single search’n’address “omnibox” within each tab. Compare that to current browsers, where the address bar and search box are separate and above the line of selectable tabs.
It’s worth noting here that many people don’t really understand the address bar and the browser search box – they just get to Google any way they can and type stuff into the Google search box: keywords, URLs, brandnames, cut’n’pasted natural language text, anything and everything…
What the omnibox appears to do is to provide a blend of Google Suggest, browser history suggest/URL autocompletion, (and maybe ultimately Google personal browsing history?) and automagically acquired site specific opensearch helpers within a single user entry text box. (I love psychic/ESP searchboxes… I even experimented with using one on searchfeedr, I think?) I guess it also makes migration of the browser easier to a mobile device – each tab satisfies most of the common UI requirements of a single window browser?
A couple of other things that struck me while pondering the above:
– what’s with the URL for the comicbook? http://www.google.com/googlebooks/chrome/ What else can we expect to appear on http://www.google.com/googlebooks/?
– has Google taken an interest in any of the virtual appliance players – Parallels, VMware, Jumpbox etc etc?
3 thoughts on “The Obligatory Google Chrome Post – Sort Of…”
Google Chrome is very fast, but there are no extensions…. so i keep my Firefox.
i’ve been using Chrome for about a day now and it seems to be a lot faster than FireFox or IE… though i do miss the “recently closed tabs” feature in Firefox
It would take a lot of time for the chrome to replace firefox…Not in this decade…
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