Chrome exits beta

Google Chrome has had its first release which you can download from here. For a company that is known for its plethora of beta products, Google’s move to remove the beta moniker from Chrome is perhaps an indication of how strategic the browser is to the company. In the recent past, Chrome updates have been coming thick and fast which has led to gradual improvement in the browser. I have been fond of Chrome for its fast start up time as well as stability. However it has proved to be well suited for developing web applications. The ability to inspect elements of a page and see the CSS attributes applied them have proven quite useful in troubleshooting and tweaking CSS designs as well as JavaScript.Chrome1.0Release

Browser competition has heated up in the recent past with all major browser currently having a better release. Microsoft is working out the details of IE 8 and Mozilla is polishing Firefox 3.1. These two browsers currently dominate the market share and Google’s Chrome will be looking to become relevant. Usage data for Chrome currently put the number of active users at 10 million which is barely 1% of the web surfing public.

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer leverages the Windows monopoly on desktop operating systems which means that every installation of Windows comes with Internet Explorer and of course Microsoft services like Windows Update can be used to push new versions of Internet Explorer to desktop users.

Firefox is largely credited with igniting competition in the browser space and there are those amongst the ranks of Mozilla who believe that it is Firefox that reminded Microsoft to pay attention to Internet Explorer and make improvements such as tab browsing in IE 7. Its key advantage is the large number of extensions that have been built around Firefox. There are extensions of all kinds and users have come to rely on these extensions.

The main selling point of Google Chrome is its speed and stability. Its interface is clean and simple. How this proceeds going forward will be interesting to watch since an increase in the number of users will most likely lead to requests for features which may very well include an extension mechanism. Extensions can slow down the performance of a browser and so Google has a balancing act to pull off.

The increased use of AJAX in developing web applications has put some focus on JavaScript performance. Chrome uses the V8 JavaScript engine which is quite fast and Mozilla with Firefox 3.1 is using TraceMonkey. For some comparison of performance, please check this out (Note: comparison is between Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 and Chrome beta version).

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