It's been about a year since Google first launched Chrome, and while the minimalistic (in terms of interface) browser brought forth some innovative features and architectural advantages over competing browsers, it hasn't been able to touch Microsoft's Internet Explorer market share. Google's hoping a new distribution deal with Sony will help change that.
As part of the deal, Sony will ship Chrome on new Vaio PCs. But it doesn't stop with Sony. Google is also in talks with other computer makers to strike similar agreements in an effort to promote its browser, as well as a potential deal to make Chrome available to users who download the RealPlayer software. TV advertising is also in the works.
Google claims the sudden effort to push Chrome to the masses is to prevent Microsoft's dominance from holding back development and ensuring that browser technology evolves as fast as it can. But there are financial implications at risk as well. In Bing, Microsoft finally has what could turn out to be a viable alternative to Google's search business. If Chrome were to truly challenge Internet Explorer in the browser wars, it would go a long ways towards staving off Bing.
If you plan to run Google's latest toolbar with your browser, you'll need to use something other than Google Chrome. As quirky as that sounds, here's the message Chrome users are receiving when trying to pair the two together:
"We're sorry, but Google Toolbar 5 is only available for Internet Explorer and Firefox."
It should be pointed out that if you're rocking with Chrome, you probably don't need the Google Toolbar anyway, but regardless, we can't imagine pushing users -- even a small fraction of them -- to competing products is the best idea.
For you Chrome users wondering if you're missing out on all the fun, the Google Toolbar offers Google search, bookmarks, search suggestions, Web history, and shortcuts to Google apps, or pretty much everything that comes built into Chrome already.
As open-source proponents will tell you, there are several advantages to running Linux, and the open-source camp is about to have another bragging point, at least if you're a Chrome user. Google Chrome will soon be available in 64-bit form, but only for Linux..
"The V8 team did some amazing work this quarter building a working 64-bit port. After a handful of changes on the Chromium side, I've had Chromium Linux building on 64-bit for the last few weeks," said Chrome engineer Dean McNamee.
While Vista 64-bit users might be miffed at being left out in the cold (at least for now), the move make senses, given that 64-bit adoption is still stronger on the Linux side than it is with Windows. But given the smoother experience of moving to 64-bit on Vista compared to XP, and Windows 7 shaping up the same way, we imagine a Windows version of 64-bit Chrome can't be far behind.
One of the benefits of 64-bit software is the ability to better utilize large amounts of RAM. 64-bit software can also take up more disk space, but with 1TB drives fast becoming the norm and not the exception, even mainstream users aren't likely to scoff at the trade-off for additional performance.
In order to surf the web, you need a web browser, and today there are several different ones to choose from. If you're looking for a lean, no-nonsense browser, Chrome is the one for you. Internet Explorer still stands as the odds on favorite when you want to make sure pages load correctly (not because of superior standards support, but because its majority market share have driven developers to code their webpages to look best on IE). Firefox has found more than a niche market by giving users near endless customization, and Apple's Safari purports to run circles around everyone else (it doesn't). And then there's the cornucopia of alternative browsers and browser shells, like Flock (Firefox-based) and Avant (IE-based).
No matter which browser you choose to surf the web with, the features you take for granted today are the result of nearly two decades of browser design. On the following pages, we'll take you through a visual tour, in chronological order, of every major PC-based (read: not Mac) web browser that ever was, starting with the very first one: WorldWideWeb. We'll tell you what made each one unique and, when applicable, what it contributed to modern browser development.
Sit back, buckle up, and hit the jump to get started!
Nope, Google's Chrome browser still doesn't come with extension support (do'h!), but as of the latest developer build, it does come with built-in bookmark syncing (woohoo!).
"Many users have several machines, one at home and one at work for example. This new feature makes it easy to keep the same set of bookmarks on all your machines, and store them alongside your Google Docs for easy web access," Google wrote in a blog post.
Somewhat late to the bookmark syncing game, Chrome is the only major browser to make the feature both built-in and free. User's of Apple's Safari browser have been able to sync bookmarks for some time now, but it requires a MobileMe subscription ($99/year). Firefox users don't have to fork over any ducats, but they do have to install an appropriate extension, such as Xmarks.
For some time now there has been plenty of talk about killing off IE6. Digg has prevented users on IE6 from certain activities, Facebook has been hinting at its users to upgrade since February 2009 and YouTube is supposedly going to cut off support altogether. But, according to a recent post on the IEBlog, Microsoft is committed to keeping support – at least for the lifespan of XP.
“The engineering point of view on IE6 starts as an operating systems supplier. Dropping support for IE6 is not an option because we committed to supporting the IE included with Windows for the lifespan of the product. We keep our commitments,” said the post. “Many people expect what they originally got with their operating system to keep working whatever release cadence particular subsystems have. As engineers, we want people to upgrade to the latest version. We make it as easy as possible for them to upgrade. Ultimately, the choice to upgrade belongs to the person responsible for the PC.”
Microsoft has stated that they plan on keeping Extended Support for XP until April 8, 2014 – so if you’re an IE6 user, you’ve got roughly four more years to enjoy your ancient web browser.
But, if you are interested in making today the day you upgrade, be sure to check out these great alternatives!
How much faster? According to Google, tweaks made to the engine have resulted in a 30 percent performance boost over the current stable version, at least when running the V8 and SunSpider benchmarks. But speed isn't the only improvement.
"We've also improved two of the most loved and most used features of Google Chrome: the New Tab page and the Omnibox. Plus, we decided to add a little bit of style by allowing you to deck out your browser with colors, patterns, and images," Google wrote in a blog entry.
Google also said it has started building HTML5 capabilities into the latest beta release, including video tag functionality and web workers. This is the first version of Chrome to do so.
Anyone interested in giving the beta a spin can start right here.
I covered some awesome Firefox plugins a little bit ago, and it only seems fitting for Google Chrome to receive the same treatment. But as you're undoubtedly aware, Google Chrome doesn't feature built-in extension support like other popular browsers on the market. Or does it?
Actually, if you run the developer builds of Chrome, you can access the wonderful (beta) world of browser add-ons with but a few extra commands and tweaks. Seeing as very few people who use Chrome know or care about this little modification, it stands that the actual world of add-ons for the browser is pretty small right now. That said, there are still some neat extras that you can build into your browser--including some add-ons that mimic the best of what you'll find in Firefox's expansive database.
So what are you waiting for? Click the jump and I'll show you how to surf with add-ons, then give you a list of neat ones to try out!
Yesterday Google released a brand new beta for their Chrome web browser, this time in the interest of ironing out kinks with some new features that they’ve added. Among the new features are an updated “New Tab,” the Omnibox, and the ability to beautify your browser by using colors, patterns and images.
The New Tab feature is being slightly tweaked by allowing you to move around your most visited sites by simply clicking and dragging, letting you show off just how not into Twitter you really are. You can even pin thumbnails to specific spots. The Omnibox (read: the address bar) is getting a facelift, and giving you Google search results and related history items whenever you type anything in.
Most notably though, the color changing feature will allow you to alter exactly how Chrome looks. Should you want to be reminded of fresh cut grass each time you browse the net, you may do so. Or if you want to have cute kittens gazing at you while you read the day’s news, you can do that as well, we’re not here to judge.
You can check out the beta here, but there’s no word as to when these updates will make their way to the official release.
Last week we reported on the new concessions Microsoft was proposing to the EU in the hopes of quelling its ongoing antitrust battles in Europe. The solution was a simple ballot screen pushed out as a “high priority” Windows Update, but what we didn’t know at the time is that it will also be sent out to computers running Windows XP and Vista as well.
The exact lineup of browsers hasn’t been finalized yet, but it is said to include 10 of “the most widely-used web browsers that run on Windows with a usage share of equal to or more than 0.5% in the European Economic Area”. Oddly enough, it’s still not even clear if Opera meets these requirements and given that they are the ones responsible for the antitrust woes facing Microsoft, would be bitter justice.
Opera officials overjoyed with the concessions, but never resting on their laurels, are said to now be pushing for an “icon-less ballot screen”. I suppose they are concerned that many users associate the “blue E” icon with “internet” and it still gives an unfair advantage to Microsoft. They are also said to be asking that this browser ballot be pushed out worldwide, but I somehow doubt Microsoft will take this approach. The browser ballot screen will include two links, one to the manufacturers website where they can learn more and an extra link directly to a download server.
Given the amazing amount of concessions being made by Microsoft, is Opera being unreasonable by asking for more?