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Google Chrome: Is Google planning to release a web browser?

Google Chrome
Rumors that Google plans to release a web browser have been circulating for years. Personally I've never placed much stock in them, because it's always made more sense to time that Google would continue releasing plugins for existing browsers like Firefox and Internet Explorer to allow users to take advantage of Google's web services. After all, that's what the company has done with the Google Toolbar, Google Gears, and the now-defunct Google Browser Sync.

But Philipp Lenssen at Google Blogoscoped has posted a comic book which he says comes straight from Google which seems to indicate that the search engine giant will indeed release a browser soon. Reportedly called Google Chrome, the browser will be based on the open source Webkit rendering engine. So what would Google Chrome have that you can't find in other web browsers?
  • Includes a brand new JavaScript virtual machine called V8
  • Tabs wil go above the window, not below the address bar
  • Location bar will support auto-complete functions and suggests web pages you've previously visited as well as suggested sites you haven't
  • Upon launch, you'll see an Opera-like speed dial with bookmarks and thumbnails for up to web sites
  • There will be a privacy mode that allows you to surf without saving any personal history (Microsoft is building a similar feature into Internet Explorer 8)
  • The browser will constantly download up to date information about web sites with malicious code
Chrome will also utilize Google Gears to allow you to save many web sites and applications for offline use. And web applications will be isolated from other browser tabs, so if Google Docs or another app crashes, your browser won't automatically close.

While I'm surprised to see Google getting into the browser space, I can't say I'm disappointed. It'll take a lot of work for any company to take market share away from Microsoft and Mozilla. But if anyone can do it, or at least offer some innovative ideas for the competition to copy, it's Google.

Update: It's official. Google is releasing a beta of Google Chrome for Windows tomorrow.

Tags: google-browser, google-chrome, web-browsers

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